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Car Tech Video: Tesla Model X
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Car Tech Video: Tesla Model X

3:36 /

Tesla's new SUV will take flight on falcon wings.

And then there were three. Tesla has ruled out a beta version of it's third car, the model X. Let's see if it will fly and check the tech. Of course the first two thing you notice about the model X are it's an SUV and oh my god, it's gonna fly away. Well here it is. The third Tesla, the Tesla Model X and you would think being a Tesla, it's all gonna be about electrification and how the car moves under battery power only and how fast it is but surprisingly the Tesla message here is as much about practicality and useability as it is about what drives this vehicle. In fact founder Elon Musk goes so far as to say this car will be mini van's, SUV's and even the current 911 all at their own games. I think it will provide the whole new level of functionality that no minivan and no SUV have. The most distinctive thing you'll see on the model X are doors that do something you've never seen before. They lift like a Goldwing door but those have never been practical. These also articulate right about the belt line and become what they call a Falcon-wing door. That give you according to Tesla a much more useful access to the second row with a child seat while also being able to use the third row at the same time. I mean parents know what I'm talking about there and of course you can tell by the altitude of getting in here, this is the car that allows you to stand up on in-grass. Now, Tesla says these doors will open up in any parking spot that has enough room for you to fit between the cars. Well, maybe if you are a big fat guy. To my eye, they seem to need somewhat generous space but let's see what the production geometry turns out to be. However you get inside, it's LCD city. The instrument panel is all LCD. The center stack is one huge 17-inch touchscreen LCD and there are even little iPod Nano-looking LCD's on the steering wheel to create dynamic control functions as needed. Now, this is interesting. It may or may not make it to production because of various technical as well as legal reasons but it's a mirror-less car that has a rear facing camera. This does the job of looking back but instead of a mirror you look out at, it puts that image on a screen in the vehicle. We this on a lot of concept cars. Tesla says it could be legally tough with certain vehicle regulations but the reason they wanna do it is not just tech G wiz but to save some 5% of energy consumption during highway cruising. The Model X is built on a platform of the Model S but with a bigger frontal area to move through the air, the range will be down about 10 or 12% on a charge. That means anywhere from a 140 to 260 somewhat miles depending on the model you buy. 0 to 60 is expected to be 4.4 seconds and that is indeed quicker than the current 911. Now, plenty at Tesla talks about this car having the handling of a Porsche and also the performance of one but also the front luggage capacity is rather similar. Up here, there's no motor because the motors on this car are very compact and the batteries are down at the belly of the vehicle. So you end up with not just very spacious rear trunk but also a very spacious front truck but it goes beyond practicality. Tesla points out this is sort of the ultimate crumple zone. When you hit something hard in this car, there's a lot of space for things to collapse without shoving it an engine through the console where you are. The Model X is coming to market in limited production end of 2013, full volume top of 2014. Two big question marks. What will the appetite for EV's B vibe in and will those doors really make it to production?

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