As a startup, sharing parts between models means more efficient manufacturing, & since that is the main hurdle between Tesla & commercial success at this point--their designs are brilliant, & electric cars are widely known to be of the best near-future technologies--leveraging work on the Model S sedan for the Model X crossover will, possibly, make clearing that hurdle a bit simpler.
Sharing parts between models is a common practice in the auto industry, though it can be taken far--just ask the "old" General Motors. But in Tesla's case, sharing 60 percent of the parts between the Model S & Model X makes great sense.
Called "falcon wings" by Tesla & Elon Musk, the doors don't open upward like traditional gullwings; they fold in on themselves, retracting like the wings of their namesake. This makes operation of the doors feasible in tight parking spaces. But why go falcon at all?
But , it is the other 40 percent that makes the Model X outstanding. Seating for seven and their luggage, despite a fastback roof profile? Yep, it is got it. While it offers equal or better performance than the sedan, the crossover weighs about ten percent more--in part thanks to its distinctive rear doors.
Tesla Model X
Musk says it is to offer the utility & access of a minivan while maintaining a crossover or SUV-like form factor. What Musk didn't say, but which must be a reason, is that they are chilled.
Tesla Model X
Inside, there's bucket seats, & the same 17-inch capacitive touch-screen interface as present in the Model S. The inside design elements also look much the same, with contoured surfaces, premium materials, & modern themes at every turn.
Expected to cost around $60,000-$90,000 before tax credits, much like the Model S, the Model X offers similar performance, . Musk says the standard version of the Model X crossover gets to 60 mph in four.4 seconds. An upcoming Performance model will be even faster, though the Model X will only be obtainable with the 60 kWh or 85 kWh battery packs, skipping the least-expensive 40 kWh battery pack sold in the Model S. The Model X will even be obtainable in all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive.
Thus far, however, the Model X is a prototype. Continued development & validation will likely must be done, though with much of the underpinnings already tested for Model S use, it won't take as long to get the Model X to market. Tesla has not specified a production start date, but says it will be on sale in 2013.