Today Elon Musk officially launched the long-awaited Tesla Model X, the electric automaker’s first SUV.
The car was unveiled at a glitzy event at Tesla headquarters in Silicon Valley, and founder Elon Musk was in fine form. The Model X will have a number of innovative features.
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Autopilot and impressive crash test performance
Musk noted the importance of showing “that any type of car can go electric, we’ve done it with a sports car, the sedan, and now we’re doing it with the SUV.”
Every Model X will come equipped with necessary gadgets to enable advanced autopilot features, including a forward-looking camera and 360 degree sonar sensors. Passengers will be amply protected as the Model X is the safest SUV in the world, having achieved a 5 star rating in every test category.
Its stellar crash test performance is partly due to the fact that there is no engine in the front of the car, allowing a great crumple zone. So far so good, you may be thinking, but things are about to get better, or stranger depending on your point of view.
The Model X will also come equipped with a “HEPA air filter,” the first ever in a car. Stranger still, it also features a bioweapon defense mode button which will allow occupants to breathe “hospital grade air-quality.”
It may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but it will be fitted as standard in the Model X. In layman’s terms, pressing the bioweapon defense mode button on the dash maximizes the HEPA filter, and Musk claims it would be enough to clean the air of toxins from existing biological weapons. Could the Model X become the vehicle of choice for survivalists in search of a safe-room?
As Twitter user Christa Mrgn said, the Model X is “totally what I’m driving post-apocalypse.” Does Musk know something we don’t?
Falcon-wing doors add visual sparkle
Range is of paramount importance for electric vehicles, and the Model X will be able to run for an impressive 400 kilometers thanks to its 90kWh battery. Even more impressive is the fact that the P90D version, with Tesla’s ludicrous mode, will get from 0-100km/h in 3.2 seconds. That’s rapid for such a large car.
Cosmetically the Model X is something special as well, with falcon wing doors that can open with just 30 centimeters of space at the side of the car. Tesla has installed sensors which tell the door how much room it has to open, and the mechanism adjusts accordingly.
As Musk mentioned, the Model X takes electric cars into a new sector, and the electric SUV is another step in the mission to normalize electric cars. Prices for the Model X will be vaguely similar to those of the Model S, with standard editions selling for under $100,000 in the United States.
The recent drop in world oil prices have made electric vehicles less attractive to buyers, but Musk still envisions a world where electric cars are the norm. With the Model S and the Model X, Tesla has two major markets covered. Next up is the rumored Model 3, a more affordable sedan.
Many analysts believe that the long-awaited Model X is an important step for the company, but it is the Model 3 which will define its long-term fortunes.