Tesla says it plans to have Model X Alpha prototypes by next week

36 Comments

Despite some delays for with Tesla’s crossover SUV/minivan electric car, the Model X, Tesla said in its letter to shareholders on Thursday that it plans to have operational Alpha prototypes ready next week. Tesla will use those Alphas to confirm final design decisions, and for testing purposes like tweaking the electronics, testing the durability and maybe even crashing some of ’em.

The Model X prototype unveiled in early 2012. Image courtesy of Gigaom.

The Model X prototype unveiled in early 2012. Image courtesy of Gigaom.

Tesla said the Model X Beta prototypes (as close to production ready as possible) will be ready later this year. The production-ready Model X will be shipped starting in the spring of 2015. Here’s what some of the Model S Alpha’s looked like back in 2011. Some of them are just shells and some are more full-bodied.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in the earnings call that the Model X Alphas will  be pretty advanced compared to the Model S Alphas, and will quickly move into Betas after about 3 months. They’ll be ramping up Model X production much more quickly than the slower ramp up of the Model S.

Because the Model X is based on the basic powertrain design of the Model S, Tesla faces less risk when it comes to launching the Model X compared to when it first launched the Model S. But some of the more daring design choices of the Model X — like the “falcon wing” doors, or if it implements the side cameras (to replace the side mirrors) — could be difficult to deliver.

Model X

Model X

Here’s a bigger collection of some of the first photos of the Model X. And a video I did with the Model X prototype back in 2012.

36 Comments

jstack6

Our 2013 Nissan LEAF has cameras all around ,Surround view and it’s an amazing system that should be on all cars. . I would think Tesla could add a feature like that pretty quick but the side view could be gone if they get the no side mirror regulation changed.

Rickie

So much for room for a bike, kayak, or other amenity’s people put on top of their suv

Hu Mi

With that long windshield there doesn’t appear to be enough roof for a rack even if the falcon wing doors were replaced with typical doors.

faraway11

I think the model X will attract some customers in moderate areas like California. But to label them as SUV’s does not make much sense. Sports utility vehicles in many areas mean ski trips for a family of four with the roof rack in place. Or, in summer, bikes on the roof or trailer hitch bike rack. The utility aspect suggests it can do many things. Will the model X haul a 3,000lb boat and trailer? Does it even have the capability to accept a trailer hitch? I would not buy a car without one. If the Model X has no provision for these accessories, can it really be an SUV … sport UTILITY vehicle? Perhaps it will be better suited for soccer moms or as a unique novelty. Can any EV tow a reasonable travel trailer or small boat?

Michael

How many people are going to knocked unconscious on those falcon doors? Cool design study though.

Ed

I don’t see how anyone is going to be knocked out because of those Falcon wings. If it happens, they are too dumb to own such a nice vehicle.

hunter3203

The falcon doors may be a neat feature but they prevent the Model X using a common roof rack. They’re really better thought of as a replacement of sliding doors on a minivan.

Jeff

Good luck Tesla

I simply cannot think about that level of investment.
I could buy a 2000 suburban and drive it for my lifetime and still have tens of thousands in the bank.

Ed

Tesla doesn’t need “luck”. They already have more than 15,000 reservations for the Model X. Good luck with the Suburban.

futureisbright

let’s Compare Apples to Apples
2014 Suburban.
5 year Cost to Own is $75K Lifetime-30 years, add $450K in gas.

Alexander I Shaskevich

And the stock price keeps going up.

King Elon!

Carter W

I’m also a reservation holder, but am nervous to be one of the first. The “S” early adopters were hosed by not being offered the Parking Sonar or the “Performance Plus” option. I’m concerned that Tesla will offer more upgrades and features, such as the collision avoidance, lane departure and other features later in the production runs.

greggmck

Ditch the gull-wing doors. It’s an SUV. People will want to put bikes, skis, kayaks etc. on the roof. Oh, yea, no you cant do that. I’m bummed. I would buy one if I could use it as an SUV. Trading vanity for utility in an sUv does not make sense to me.

Al Taylor

I totally agree with your comment on gull-wing doors. I had the opportunity of seeing them first hand on a Mercedes model back in the 60’s. Lots of buzz light-year wow factor but very little practicality. This is a huge misstep on the part of Tesla in my opinion. Actual sales figures during the first few years of production will settle the score in that regard. I can’t fathom why Tesla is doing this and remain disappointed that I will not be able to get a Tesla I want at a price I can afford.

Capt601

Last I looked I didn’t see a single SUV with a roof rack being used.very few people utilize a roof rack. Good job to tesla for designing a vehicle for how people actually use them. And don’t forget twice the space in side than any other SUV due to the trunk and frunk.

MikeM

Well, our Subaru Forester is almost never seen with its roof rack even in place.
That said however, it has several times in its 9 yr. life carried ladders, mattress, plywood and odd lengths of lumber and pipe.

I could perhaps argue that many people use the roof rack, just for a tiny percentage of the time while saving much in aggravation.
It’s just part of the SUV ethos and will have some level of “downer” effect on Model X perception if not implemented somehow.

Hoser

People in the Northeast use roof racks for building supplies, bedding (mattresses), canoes and kayaks, skis, Thule carrying accessories, etc., etc. Can’t speak for other regions. I sense this is designed for folks in your area. Not mine, though. And I’m still having trouble accepting the use of “SUV” just because it has a tall roof and 4wd. Subaru has been the Forester for over ten years and they never tried to pass it off as an SUV. Guess it will be up to the Feds to classify ’em.

faraway11

@Capt601-It is evident you don’t live in Colorado or Wisconsin. In winter you will find thousands of SUV’s heading for the ski areas … with roof racks. In summer many are hauling their bikes. If you have a family of four, where would you put these things? There are many more thousands with trailer hitches … typical equipment for an SUV in many areas. Will the Model X haul the boat or the trailer? Many plug bike hauling and other accessories into the trailer hitch. Is this an SUV in the true sense of the word?

Mark

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111 requires it at the national level and has yet to be modified to allow cameras in lieu of mirrors.

SRY

Im an early Model X reservation holder. I hope my long wait will be rewarded not only by the unique Model X form factor but by some safety and convenience techno goodies not currently available on Model S (but increasingly common on many vehicles in this price range). Mainly Im hoping for something similar to the advance braking systems found on some vehicles (like those from Mercedes) that can detect imminent impact and slam the brakes on faster than a human. That could really change your life in a good way in the event of a collision. I also hope the 360 surround view camera option found on other SUV’s and an increasing number of sedans makes its way ingot he Model X. After using the surround view feature on one of my existing vehicles I am hooked. It makes parking in parking structures I’m not familiar with so easy. No more curb rash. These are really the only two things missing that I think will significantly up convenience and safety for me that aren’t in the Model S or mentioned as coming soon by Tesla reps.

Jiminy StAck

Even my LEAF has surround view. The Tesla will also have the self drive, collision avoidance and traffic congestion routing. Amazing.

brandontsla

side cameras aren’t happening but falcon wing doors will be on it. best suv ever made and best sedan ever made, tesla the best

TheVill@ge

Love Tesla but I need a roofbox for the skis. Without that it’s more minivan than SUV.

pcgrav

Rumor is that there will be a roof rack option available. Reality is that very, very few people actually use roof racks. It’s more of a “just in case” feature

Joe conerco

LOL SUV? I hardly doubt you would get far down a trail with that thing. Granted hardly anyone uses SUVs as intended but you should still be able to go offroad if need be.

I really don’t get the hype of Teslas. If you have an eye for quality work on cars you will notice tons of flaws right off the bat. I have a hard time parting with 90,000+ dollars for a car with the interior of a Chrysler 200.

Josh J

Joe, you are supposed to praise and bow down to Elon. This is no place for witty, accurate, and subjective assessment of vehicles.

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