Tesla Model X vs. Tesla Model S: What’s The Difference?

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The wait is finally over, Tesla has released the Model X SUV to an expectant electric car purchasing public. Of course, it is not possible to simply march into a car showroom and pick up one of these vehicles, there is a massive waiting list for the Model X after pre-orders of the vehicle where enthusiastically snapped up. There will be no prospect of anyone without a pre-order purchasing one of these vehicles for some time, which in itself already suggests that the Model X has been a massive success for Tesla.

However, as the electric car manufacturer works on fulfilling all of the pre-orders that it has managed to attract, an excellent reception for the vehicle is also a necessity. As has been noted in the media, it is still possible for any of these pre-orders to be cancelled, and Tesla will thus be hoping for an excellent reaction once the dust settles on the Model X release.

Tesla’s previous vehicle of note was the Model S, still an important sedan release for the company. The Model S is a significantly different vehicle to the Model X, but comparisons between the two are entirely natural. Tesla is effectively hoping that the Model X creates the same sort of buzz as the Model S, and it is therefore informative to compare the specifications and capabilities of the two vehicles.

Tesla Model X vs Model S: Size and weight

Firstly, it is possible to make some direct comparisons between the two vehicles. The Model X is, of course, a significantly larger electric car than the Model S, yet the weight differentiation between the two vehicles is perhaps surprisingly small. The Model X weighs only around 8 percent more than the Model S, which is a pretty good achievement considering the SUV status of the vehicle.

This can perhaps be attributed to the extent to which the two vehicles share parts. The Model X will include 30 percent of the parts utilized in the Model S, which contributes to the similarities between the two vehicles. However, it is notable that this figure is significantly smaller than hoped for by Tesla in the early stages of production. When development of the Model X began, it was predicted that it would share around 60 percent of parts with the Model S predecessor.

Consumers hoping to purchase a Model X will be presented with a choice of two lithium-ion battery packs when picking up the vehicle. This is naturally a key aspect of the electric car considering that this powers the vehicle, and it is notable that the 70 or 90 kWh are essentially the same choices already available with the Model S. Tesla claims that it has made efficiency savings with the Model X that ensure that it will relatively outperform even the outstanding Model S, and this will be discussed later in the article.


The Model X is notable for having some of the highest performance attributes ever included in an electric vehicle. In fact, that previous sentence probably doesn’t even need to include the phrase ‘electric vehicle’, as the Model X is simply an outstanding car in its own right in performance terms.

This new Tesla release is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60kmh in 3.2 seconds. This doesn’t just mean that it is an outstanding performer for an electric vehicle, it is also capable of outperforming the overwhelming majority of existing SUVs, along with a good percentage of sports cars. Tesla CEO Elon Musk boasted from day one that the Model X would blow people away with its performance, and he certainly doesn’t seem to have exaggerated this aspect of the vehicle too much.

Tesla Model X vs. Tesla Model S: What's The Difference?

Of course, being a less bulky sedan, the Model S does still outperform the Model X in this department. It has been widely reported that it is possible to get the Model S to accelerate from 0 to 60kmh in a matter of 2.8 seconds. Nonetheless, the negligible difference between the two vehicles emphasizes the extent to which Tesla has produced an outstanding SUV with the Model X.


Critical to all electric vehicles is the range of which they are capable on a single battery charge, and this was always going to be vital for the Model X in particular. Producing an SUV with the power capabilities of the Model X inevitably sucks the electric cell included in the vehicle pretty seriously, so one of the largest design obstacles that Tesla had to hurdle was delivering a vehicle with an outstanding range.

Electric vehicles are now subjected to a stringent five-step testing procedure by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States, and the Model X has performed superbly in these conditions. According to the EPA range, the Tesla Model X is capable of 250-257 miles, which translates to approximately 310 miles based on the European NEDC testing cycle.

By way of comparison, when the Model S was tested by the EPA, it achieved a result of 265 miles. This is certainly not a poor result, and indeed at the time that this was achieved it was a new first for electric vehicles. But although the Model X hasn’t exceeded this in pure mileage terms, it is fair to say that the results achieved by Tesla are simply outstanding. Considering the level of performance in these larger and heavier vehicles, a significantly smaller EPA range was expected. Instead, there are negligible differences between the two vehicles, and Tesla will certainly promote this as a major success of its design and engineering team.


Another area where the Model X can be considered a step forward over the Model S is in terms of safety. The aforementioned Musk has stated that the car is the safest ever manufactured by any company. This is a pretty strong statement, but Tesla also has the results to backup this particular assertion.

The Model X achieved an outstanding five-star rating in every safety category measured in tests. The Model X achieved a probability rating of injury of 6.5 percent, meaning that there is only a one-in-16 chance of being seriously hurt in any crash involving the Model X. The lack of a gasoline engine is certainly a contributor to this statistic, with the front compartment crumple zone not featuring a steel engine, ensuring that it obviously cannot enter the passenger compartment in a high-speed accident.

Door layout

Another unique feature of the Model X is the auto-sensing front door, which will even open automatically as you approach the vehicle. This was not included with the Model S, and represents a serious innovation in this vehicle range. The panoramic front window included in the Model X also increases visibility, and there is no doubt that this new electric vehicle from Tesla is not only an outstanding performer, but also an extremely safe, convenient and flexible car.

Finally, the most notable physical feature of the Model X is the Falcon Wing Doors that inevitably have led to the vehicle being compared to the DeLorean from the ‘Back to the Future’ series. Whether this will find favor with all consumers remains to be seen, but certainly preorders for the Model X have been outstanding.

The early indications for Tesla’s Model X are that this vehicle will achieve massive success for the cooperation. As Tesla continues to attempt to establish electric car technology in the mainstream, we may one day look back at the Model X as having been central in this process.

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