The pricing for the Tesla Model X sport utility vehicle has finally been made available, although Tesla isn’t advertising it perhaps as much as would be anticipated. It is actually rather difficult to find this information on the website of the California-based electric car manufacturer, but at least it is now publicly known what this hugely awaited vehicle will retail at.

Tesla Model X: What's the price?

Tesla Model X SUV $81,200 base price

So the base model of the SUV will retail at $81,200, while the most expensive, spec-packed version will set you back $132,000. Yet Tesla is remaining somewhat coy about the pricing of the Model X simply because ordering a vehicle will not be much of an issue for consumers in the immediate future. Tesla vehicles have experienced delays on numerous occasions, and it is fair to say that the Model X will not be available this side of the next presidential election.

The time that Tesla has to prepare for the release of the Model X could be a good thing for the electric car manufacturer. After all, producing a roadworthy vehicle is always a challenge for any company, even an experienced automaker such as Tesla. Ensuring that the Model X SUV is suitable for road usage will be absolutely essential considering that Tesla has staked a lot of reputation and investment on this vehicle.

Nonetheless, the delay in release ensures that there is a significant raft of customers anticipating the Model X all overs the world. Considering that 25,000 orders have been placed with a fully refundable deposit of $5,000, this could be a complication for Tesla in the foreseeable future. There has already been a significant delay in the original Model X timeline, and this will be of concern to Tesla considering that customers can request their deposit back at any time. Tesla is a company that has experienced cash flow problems in the past, and it must be wary of not only refunding deposits, but also of the concern that the Model X may not perform as well as expected.

Massive delays

When Tesla first floated the Model X, it was actually expected that the early shipment of the vehicle would commence in 2013. One doesn’t need to be Nostradamus to see that this didn’t come to fruition! With volume production not likely until 2017, this vehicle has already been delayed by at least three years, assuming that it gets to market in the timeframe that Tesla has set aside. Numerous delays have delayed the development of this electric SUV, as the innovative company founded by Elon Musk continues to grapple with its production.

This is concerning enough for Tesla in itself, but a further issue is whether such delays will also plague the forthcoming Model 3. This is particularly important for the operation, as the Model 3 is anticipated to be a high-volume vehicle. Indeed, the general characterization of this electric car is that it will be the first truly mass market product that Tesla has produced. Mooted for a much lower price point than previous Tesla releases, this is truly a vehicle intended to generate cash flow and customers for the company. Should this be delayed significantly, analysts are already suggesting that this could be something of a disaster for the future of Tesla.

Tesla originally blamed delays of the Model X on satisfying delivery targets for the vehicle, while the aforementioned Musk has also spoken about the importance of meeting expectations. This second argument certainly has validity as the auto market is notoriously unforgiving, as is the media that covers it. Any significant errors in a road vehicle can prove to be a massive Achilles heel to its ultimate commercial success.

Falcon-wing doors that inevitably draw comparisons with the DeLorean vehicle have also been a subject of delays for Tesla, with the doors that rest on two hinges causing development issues. This signature feature of the vehicle supposedly makes it easier to get in and out of the Model X, and could prove to be a superb innovation for the company. Nonetheless, this feature has also contributed to delays in the ultimate release of the Model X, and this doesn’t seem to be a good thing for Tesla overall.

Configurator goes live…well, more live…

Although it is still some months before Tesla will be able to fill the orders for the Model X, it is at least now possible for many of those who have pre-ordered the vehicle to finalize certain options. Model X customers can go through the so-called configurator, which enables them to choose between various colour options, along with battery capacities and performance levels. Buyers also have the option to choose between 70D, 90D, and P90D versions, ensuring that Tesla customers can finalize some of their key vehicle specifications.

This is certainly a step in the right direction for Tesla and the Model X range, as it was previously only possible for very early buyers of the vehicle, who had placed deposits down several years ago, to configure their particular Model X from a very limited array of options. With these new choices now put in place for a wide variety of Model X customers, it is at least possible for consumers of the forthcoming electric vehicle to have a good idea of what their ultimate vehicles will look like.

However, Tesla has not made the Model X configurator available to all consumers. This is still available on an invitation only basis, it is just the case that the electric car manufacturer has cast the net wider now. In time it will, of course, open the software up to everyone, and it is indeed not clear why this hasn’t happened yet. But with a long waiting list and a wide variety of options and pricing available, it could be that there are logistical problems for the electric car manufacturer.

What is certain is that the Model X release is inching closer, even if Tesla remains quiet about the ultimate release date of the vehicle.