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Tesla Model X

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Ever the contrarian, billionaire Elon Musk decided to debut the new Tesla model at the company's design center in California last night, instead of the ongoing car show in Chicago. A rather obtuse gesture to the rest of car industry, yet its the same "outside the box" thinking that Tesla thrives on. Case in point, the new Tesla Model X. To be the company's third production model, the Model X is Tesla's take on the growing "crossover" genre of the market. Sharing many similarities with its sedan counterpart, the Tesla Model S, the Model X will have the exact powertrain in the output range of 60 kWh and 85 kWh. There is a 10% reduction in distance per charge, however, since the Model X is slightly heavier. Never the less, the ranges are still quite respectable. For that extra push on steep climbs, Tesla will be offering an additional electric motor as option. When added, the Model X becomes an all-wheel drive speed demon, capable of 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds.

Like those on a modern-day airliner, Model X will have an "all-glass" control inside with LCD displays and an imposing 17-inch touchscreen at the center. But the most dramatic aspect of this new concept will be its rear doors. For ease of access to the second and third row seats, Tesla incorporated the "Falcon Doors" design, essentially gull-wing door with another hinge at center for them to tuck away further when spaces are tight. Because the lack of an engine, Model X has another bonus - two luggage compartments instead of one.

On schedule for production in late 2013, the Tesla Model X will be available in early 2014.