Tesla Model X Electric SUV Sports Falcon Wing Doors

After a long period of development, Tesla is finally ready to show the world its latest electric vehicle, the Model X SUV.



New York Auto Show: Cool Cars With Hot Tech
New York Auto Show: Cool Cars With Hot Tech
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors took the wraps off its latest product, the Model X, a sport utility vehicle that features advanced safety features and Falcon Wing doors, and boasts seating for up to seven passengers.

Model X owners can expect to travel up to 257 miles on a charge in a base Model X 90D, although that drops down to 250 with the Model X P90D, which sprints from 0 to 60 in just 3.3-seconds, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

During a grand unveiling outside of the company's factory in Fremont, Calif., CEO Elon Musk, drew attention to the car's safety features, which he said are the most important aspects of any vehicle.

The floor-mounted battery lowers the center of gravity so that the risk of rollover is almost nonexistent, and the battery structure strengthens the vehicle against side impact intrusions.

The front trunk acts as a large, impact absorbing crumple zone, while active sensors with emergency braking and collision avoidance systems provide added protection.

(Image: Tesla)

(Image: Tesla)

Model X continually scans the surrounding roadway with camera, radar, and sonar systems, providing real-time feedback to help avoid collisions.

The Model X also includes a medical grade HEPA filter, which removes pollen, bacteria, viruses, and pollution from cabin air.

The filter can operate in three modes: Circulate with outside air, re-circulate inside air, and a James Bond-like bioweapon defense mode, which creates positive pressure inside the cabin to protect occupants.

The outside of the vehicle resembles many of the other slightly bulbous, aerodynamic SUVs on the mark, eschewing the traditional boxy design of older models for a more high tech and futuristic aesthetic.

In fact, Tesla claims the Model X's drag coefficient is 20% lower than the next-best SUV, which contributes to the vehicle's extended range, and is aided by a an active spoiler that deploys to one of three preset positions when Model X is in motion.

The most eye-catching feature is what Tesla calls Falcon Wing doors: Requiring only a foot of clearance, the doors articulate up and out of the way, allowing passengers to enter from both front and rear directions.

Aside from the articulated, DeLorean-style doors, the other dominant design feature is a massive glass panoramic windshield that features optimized solar tinting and an obstruction-free view for both driver and passengers.

[Read the latest report on Apple's Project Titan project.]

On the inside, the Model X is available in six-seat and seven-seat interior layouts, and features tons of storage, including a large front trunk (large enough to hold two golf bags), a rear cargo area with enough room for large items like bicycles, skis and snowboards, and space under the passenger seats.

On top of that, the Model X is packed with creature comforts and high-tech features, including maps and navigation with real-time traffic updates, automatic keyless entry, power-folding heated side mirrors, and GPS enabled Homelink.

The company's mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable transport, Musk reminded in the audience in his opening remarks.

"It's incredibly important that we move to a sustainable world sooner rather than later," Musk said. "And it's important to show that any type of car can go electric."

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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