Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Tesla Unveils First SUV: Model X


Electric car company Tesla has taken the wraps off of its first SUV, The Model X. Unveiling it Thursday night at the company's design studio in southern California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the Model X will "redefine the upscale SUV market."

The Model X will be powered by dual electric motors and either a 60 or 85 Kilowatt battery pack. It is projected to have a range of 220-270 miles, depending on battery pack, when fully charged.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says Model X will change the way people look at SUV's.

Mainly because of two unique features.

Tesla's Model X
CNBC/Meghan Knaggs

First, the electric SUV has falcon wing doors for unusually spacious access to the 2nd and 3rd rows. Unlike gull wing doors that are not practical because they swing out and up so far, the Model X doors have two hinges so they can open in smaller spaces.

When Musk showed us how the doors give greater access, he stood on the door frame, laughed and said, "Look! You can not do this in any minivan."

Tesla's New Model X: Electric Minivan/SUV

The other unique feature of the Model X is the dual electric motors. One for the front wheels, one for the rear wheels. This will give the Model X greater responsiveness and all wheel drive capability that Tesla believes is one of a kind.

Scheduled to hit showrooms in 2014, the Model X could do well if gas prices soar. Rising prices at the pump have traditionally hurt SUV sales because they are heavier and not as fuel efficient.

The price won't be set until well into 2013, but the two models will likely be in the range of $60,000 to $85,000. Even without a price being set, Tesla is now taking reservations for the Model X.


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