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At a sneak preview in Hawthorne, Calif. on Thursday, electric car maker Tesla (s TSLA) unveiled its third car, an all-electric SUV, minivan hybrid called the Model X, for the first time. And yep, true to the rampant speculation on the Interwebs, it’s got so-called “falcon wing” doors, which are a Tesla-designed double-hinged play on gull
f wing doors, named after Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Falcon rocket line for his other company Space-X (yeah, Tesla is just one of his three companies).
In contrast to gull wing doors that sweep out and up and take up considerable horizontal space, the Model X falcon wings lift up and have a double hinge so they take up a lot less horizontal space. Tesla designed the doors not only to add that extra cool-factor, but also to appeal to, say, a Mom or family driving to the mall and parking in a tight spot.
Because the doors open up vertically there’s also room to stand in the car while getting in and packing cargo (see photo) like kids and groceries. I fully stood up in the car with the doors open and I’m 5’11 and I had ample head room. The Model X is as roomy as any minivan out there and then some — it seats seven, and has cargo space in both the back trunk, and the front trunk (please don’t make me say frunk).
The Model X is built on the backbone of the Model S, Tesla’s sedan that will be delivered to customers this Summer, and the Model X prototype that we checked out on Thursday was Tesla’s most advanced prototype at a launch to date and little will be changed for the production version, said Musk.
Tesla execs drove us around a short driving track and the car handled like the Model S — it has the same low, long, bottom battery pack design. It’s pretty amazing to ride in a minivan/SUV that can handle like a sports car. Musk says the Model X can go zero to 60 in 4.4 seconds. Think of it as the first cool, green, sporty minivan.
The Model X will be priced similarly to the Model S, said Musk, (Model S costs $50,000 to $70,000) and will have about the same electric driving range, with potentially 10 percent less range, because it’s a heavier car (the Model S has three range option, 160 miles, 230 miles and 300 miles).
OK, enough talk, I know you want to see the first photos of Tesla’s Model X! So here you go: