Model X Launch Details Revealed

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The Tesla Model X is here and out in the wild after many delays, here's all the details you really want to know.

• Automotive: Electric Cars • Automotive: New Cars • Automotive: Technology

The Tesla Model X has been setup to be an amazing vehicle but, up until now, we haven't had many details. Sure, there were plenty of Internet conspiracy theories floating around but few hard facts. Now that the Model X Launch event is over, let's go over the real details that every Model X buyer should know.


The Model X is the safest SUV ever according to Elon Musk. It achieves better than 5 star crash ratings in all categories. The are several reasons why.

First, there is no front engine so it's like one giant crumple zone in the front. That helps absorb a frontal crash impact better than a car with an engine up front. Second, it has active braking that can apply the brakes to avoid or lesson an impact. Third, sensors in the side of the car can actually automatically steer the car away from a side impact. Fourth, that big battery pack helps with side impacts, especially side pole impacts. That same battery keeps the center of mass low and improves handling as well as seriously reduces any chance of a rollover.

Air Quality

When Musk talks about the Bio Defense Mode of the Model X, everyone thinks he was joking. He wasn't. The car has a true HEPA filter that makes the air cleaner than a hospital operating room.

The way we heard the story goes like this. Musk hated the smell of a landfill near the Tesla Motors Factory. He came up with this idea to purify the air in the car so he didn't have to smell the dump. The end result is an air filter that's many times larger than any other car and incredibly clean air inside.

As for the Bio Defense mode? Hit the bio hazard button and, apparently, it cleans the air extra good. It creates a positive pressure inside the cabin so that anything bad outside won't enter through the cracks and such. In theory, they could tie this in with the GPS system so that your Model X can automatically enable Bio Defense mode by remembering where you've enabled it in previously.

Of course, I think we all know the real value of this Bio Defense button. Yup, when somebody farts in the cart. Brilliant I say!

Auto Closing Front Doors

I don't think anyone saw this one coming. The front doors automatically open as you approach the car. Get in, press the brake, and they automatically close. I don't know how useful that is but it's certainly neat and over the top, as it should be.

During the launch event, you can see how the doors accidently opened when they shouldn't have. Musk quickly closes the door when that happens. So the software clearly needs to better know when you want it to open a door but software updates will figure that out.

Falcon Wing Doors

The star of the car! These certainly are useful and they can open and close in incredibly tight spaces. They even developed a new sonar sensor that can "see" through aluminum. That means you don't need those ugly plastic pucks on the car anymore.

These senors detect what's on the sides of the car and above it. Based on surroundings, the Falcon Wing doors choose the best arc pattern when opening. So those in a low garage will be okay.

During the demo we got to see how well they opened when a car parks right next to you, only inches away. It worked! Of course, they didn't explain how the driver, using a traditional door, gets out in that scenario.

Only real downside here is that they seem to open and close slowly, like a sliding door on a mini-van. Will that be annoying over time? Maybe, but then you'll remember just how awesome Falcon Wing doors are and not care one bit. Or so I hope.

One thing they didn't touch on, but showed at the launch event, was moving while the Falcon Wing doors were closing. The doors were only 75% closed when the Model X started rolling off stage. Interesting to note that you might be able to start backing out of a parking spot even if the doors aren't done closing. That would certainly make the slow moving doors better to live with.


The start of the show inside has to be that amazing windshield. Musk says it's the largest piece of glass ever fitted to a production car. He says it's like being inside a helicopter cockpit because you get amazing views as the glass wraps above and over your head. What about sun glare? It appears to be tinted and visors are still there as needed too. Some even think it will help with motion sickness since you have a much larger view out the front.

The dash is very much like a Model S with the big touch screen front and center. It looks high tech for sure.

The second row seats come configured as your choice of two or three seats. These seats are motorized to move forward for anyone to access the third row but they do not fold flat. The third row will hold two people and these seats can fold flat.

Total capacity will be six or seven people, depending on your configuration choices. It will also hold up to four car seats.

There is a good amount of cargo space behind the third row as well as a front trunk (frunk) for more storage space.

As for your tunes, expect a 17 speaker stereo system with all the bells and whistles. No word on if this will be standard or an upgrade to a "lesser" radio. Either way, expect the volume to literally go all the way to 11. Classic Tesla.


The Tesla Model X can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Of course, nobody is talking about what sort of range you'll get while towing a big trailer. Certainly it won't be great. But nice to know you can tow at least around town if needed.

An external bike rack will also be available as an accessory. It plugs into the hitch receiver on the back in seconds. It's so easy a child could do it, and a child did do it at the launch event. The rack will hold up to four bikes or six pairs of skis (or snowboards).

Auto Driving & Self Parking

This wasn't really covered at the Launch event. But the version 7 software update that adds some auto driving and self parking features is expect to roll out very soon.

Auto pilot features include the ability for the car to maintain speed, stay in a lane by itself, and even pass other cars all (almost) on its own. It's impressive but intend more for highway driving. The driver still needs to pay attention and be ready to grab the wheel. It's neat but not great and won't be until it can truly self drive from Point A to Point B.

More impressive is Self Parking where the car can find a parking spot and park itself. It looks like this might only work for parallel parking but would certainly be a great feature. Other cars have had this for years so let's hope this "just works" when it's released. Personally, I'd love to see auto pull in and auto reverse parking features to. Supposedly, the car can even self park itself in your garage without you in it. We'll see.

Range, Specs, & Price

This is what everyone wants to know! First, let's break the Model X into two configuration that it will be offered as. Both will have the 90Kw battery and dual motors. The base / standard model is called the Tesla Model X 90D while the performance model is the Tesla Model X P90D.

In terms of price, I keep seeing that the Model X will cost $130,000 and up on various media websites. That's true of the P90D model but doesn't tell the whole story. The 90D model should be far less, probably closer to $90k to $100k when optioned up a little bit. How do we know this? Simple, Elon Musk actually said the Model X will cost $5k more than a similarly spec'd Model S.

Assuming you get many, but not all, Model S options then you're looking at around $100k (plus or minus $10k) before any tax credits.

The Model X can travel 250 miles on a charge for the P90D model, or 257 miles for the 90D. As for performance, 0-60 times for the P90D will be 3.2 seconds if you opt for the $10k Ludicrous Mode option (that's a very real Spaceballs movie reference if you didn't get it) and 3.8 seconds if you don't. The standard 90D model will hit 60 MPH in 4.8 seconds. This is truly a fast vehicle, and not just SUV fast. You'll embarrass most sports cars even at 4.8 seconds to 60. You'll embarrass all but super cars by hitting 60 in 3.2 seconds.

Want to talk horsepower? The P90D has a total of 762 HP while the 90D has 518 HP. Both are incredibly impressive numbers that make this impressive machine move like no other.

Ready To Order?

The good news is that you can pre-order a Model X right now with a $5,000 USD down payment. Don't worry, it's refundable if you later choose to cancel or stop waiting. The only thing to note here is that those who order now won't see their car for 8-12 months (or the latter half of 2016). Ouch.