It looks like Elon Musk is going to keep his promise, as Tesla Motor’s long-awaited and much-hyped Model X all-electric SUV is going to make an appearance in showrooms by the end of the month.
One sure sign of the imminent launch of the Model X is that screenshots of Tesla’s online configuration tool have been spotted in the Tesla Motors Club forum.
The high-end “Signature Series” of the Model X is highly customizable, and will also be the first vehicles to will roll off the assembly line later this month. The Signature Series starts at $132,000 before extras, but these are the lux models with a 90 kWh battery pack and include many special features as standard, such as cutting-edge Autopilot self-driving technology and comfortable third-row seats actually built for two full-sized adults.
Regular production-run Model X SUVs are expected to be priced substantially lower. The steep price of the Signature Series Model X — which puts the car in the same territory as the most luxurious SUVs from Mercedes and Range Rover — could lead to speculation that less snazzy trim levels will be priced higher than SUVs from Audi, Porsche, and BMW.
More on customizing your Signature Series Tesla Model X SUV
Tesla’s online configuration tool is designed to let customers add various extras, choose paint colors, and select wheel and interior trim options so their vehicles can be built to spec.
Of note, for a mere $10,000, buyers can move up to “Ludicrous Mode” with their Signature Model S, enabling the vehicle to hit a positively dangerous 0-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds. Model X owners can also choose to add a “Subzero Weather Package” that includes a heated steering wheel, seat heaters, heated washer fluid and wiper defrosters for $1,000, and a tow package for a mere $750 will set you up to haul 5,000 lbs.
A number of auto analysts have pointed out that the online configuration tool becoming available is an excellent sign that Tesla will make good on its commitment to start making Model X deliveries by the end of September.
However, the only signs of the Tesla Model X to date are a few test vehicles spotted on California roads. CEO Elon Musk ended up creating a lot of concern about whether the Model X launch would be delayed when he noted in the EV maker’s second-quarter earnings call that there were still a few issues with the “sculptural” back seats of the SUV.
That said, even if the firm does successfully launch the Model X here in the next few weeks, the capability to build and deliver vehicles many thousands of electric vehicles remains a question mark for Tesla. Last year, the company wasn’t able to meet its sales goal, but it did manage to meet production objectives. In 2015, Tesla has had to backtrack and admit it will deliver fewer than the 55,000 vehicles it had earlier projected. This means the Model X and its promised end-of-third-quarter delivery schedule are now a very big deal for investors.
Of interest to Tesla fans, the Model X’s vertical “falcon wing doors,” which were a source of concern for investors and those that follow the company closely, have been equipped with a sensor array to prevent them from banging into tree branches or garage ceilings above the vehicle.