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Tesla delays Model X one year

In its annual report filed last Thursday, Tesla says its Model X crossover electric vehicle will begin production in late 2014, one year later than it had originally announced.

Tesla Model X
Tesla showed off the development version of its Model X all-wheel-drive crossover at the 2013 Geneva auto show.
Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Last year, Tesla introduced the Model X crossover electric vehicle at its Los Angeles design center, and said it would begin production of the vehicle in late 2013. That production date has been revised, according to Tesla's shareholder annual report, to late 2014.

The report says that Tesla reached its steady state rate of production for 20,000 Model S sedans per year last December. The Model S is built at Tesla's Fremont manufacturing plant.

A Tesla spokesperson told CNET last December that there is a nine-month waiting period for current Model S orders. Tesla's goal is to get that order fulfillment period down to three months as an optimum time.

Tesla offered no reason for the Model X delay in its report, but at the time of the original announcement, production of the Model S had not even begun. It is likely that the company learned lessons from its new Model S production lines.

The Model X is designed as a crossover-type vehicle using a platform similar to that of the Model S. Unlike the sedan, the Model X will have four-wheel-drive thanks to an extra drive motor at the front wheels. Its range will be less than that of the Model S because of inferior aerodynamics and more weight.

Tesla's report also announced an accelerated schedule for paying back its Department of Energy loans under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program. The company had taken out a $465 million loan under the program in 2010, and was due to complete repayment by 2022. The company has arranged a new schedule with the Department of Energy which will have the loan repaid by 2017.