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Transportation Technology

Tesla Unveils the Model X 323

An anonymous reader writes with news that Tesla has officially unveiled its Model X SUV. It's their third vehicle, after the Roadster and Model S. Its 90kWh battery provides 250 miles of range, and the vehicle can go from zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. According to Reuters, the high-end versions of the Model X will cost between $132,000 and $144,000, while the base model's pricing is not yet known. The vehicle's doors open upward, and it can have seating for either six or seven passengers, depending on layout. The back row of seats can fold down when not in use. The Model X has automatic emergency braking, a 5,000 pound towing capacity, and a so-called "bioweapon defense mode" for its air circulation system that keeps positive pressure within the cabin.
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Tesla Unveils the Model X

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  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @11:17AM (#50627677) Homepage

    on their Civics.

  • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @11:26AM (#50627751)

    Selling cars that cost as much as a small house is all well and good if your target market is 1%ers and boomers, but if you want to sell to the mass market you need something that's priced for a generation that will probably never be able to afford to own a home.

    • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @11:34AM (#50627843) Homepage

      Well I see at least 10+ new Range Rovers on the street every day not including tons of Cayennes and Escalade's. The way I see it is you sell to the rich first and those who need their peer status upgraded. Then it trickles down to produce cheaper models.

      • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @11:50AM (#50628001)
        The term generally is halo car. In the past this has meant a car that was expensive when the company had inexpensive vehicles too, as the expensive one attracted attention and people would buy the cars they could actually afford.

        I think they're trying to drive demand and pay for the development costs first, then once they've gotten manufacturing capacity and the technology developed, then they can afford to produce less expensive cars. Perhaps they're right, all other upstart electric car companies have failed when trying the bottom-up approach, maybe the top-down method will work better.

        The other aspect to consider is the projected lifespan of these vehicles. I admit I don't know what it actually is, but if they're following a model like the Toyota Landcruiser, which for the bulk of its models was intended to have a 25 year lifespan even when used for its intended rough purpose. If the Teslas are intended to have similar lifespans but as road-going vehicles will see many more miles driven than an off-road Landcruiser, then the price for the vehicles might be as ridiculous as it seems at first.
        • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @12:45PM (#50628583)

          Telsa has been occupying the high end market segment, not the mainstream, think of them as a competitor to Porsche and Mercedes, not Ford. This can be seen in the reactionary vehicles being developed at these companies as they've lost market share to Tesla. What Tesla is going to do with the Model 3 is attempt to move from the high end to main stream. This would be like Porsche attempting to make a mainstream $30k vehicle that anyone could buy.

          Time will tell if they succeed, personally I wouldn't bet against them.

      • Sure, that all makes sense. Why do those people need tax credits?
    • by EnsilZah ( 575600 ) <EnsilZahNO@SPAMGmail.com> on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @11:39AM (#50627879)

      They're planning on selling a $35K model in around 2-3 years, after their battery factory opens.

      Meanwhile, there's no shortage of demand for the existing models.

    • Selling cars that cost as much as a small house is all well and good if your target market is 1%ers and boomers, but if you want to sell to the mass market you need something that's priced for a generation that will probably never be able to afford to own a home.

      Tesla will eventually design and price vehicles for everyday people but this follows their strategy of appealing to the 1%ers first to get the products off the ground and to pay for R&D. It's why the first car they produced was a sports car.

      Plus, range, especially for an SUV, is really important for most families. Yes, some are used as daily drivers but most families also use them for long trips (Range is 250 miles, ~4 hours highway travel). I would also argue that range would be decrease if you are

      • They also have agreements to supply electric powertrain components to other manufacturers. Don't know if that's actually been realized anywhere yet, but Tesla technology could very well wind up in cheaper vehicles not manufactured by Tesla.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @11:44AM (#50627927) Homepage

      I remember seeing my first flat screen TV in a high end electronics showroom back in 1997. I don't remember the exact size or price, but it was at least 50" and over $20k. I thought it was ridiculous that someone would pay that much for a TV and that I'd never be able to afford one. Walmart has a 50" LED TV that's probably has better technical specs in every way for $300 on their website.

      New technology is always expensive for the early adopters. But after that new technology is a generation or two old, newer revised generations is often drastically cheaper.

      • Except this isn't new technology, we've had hybrids and electrics for a while now.

        • by enjar ( 249223 )

          There are comparably priced SUVs and sedans that use internal combustion engines that Telsa competes with from Mercedes, Lexus, BMW and Audi. Are you railing against the manufacturers selling those vehicles, too? Someone likes what they are selling because they buy them at those prices.

        • A 90 kWh battery that's small and light enough to put in a car is the new technology. Sorry if they're not reinventing the wheel enough to impress you.

        • The definition of "new technology" is "combination of existing technologies to create a new product". Why is this so hard for slashdotters to understand?

          Electric cars existed before Tesla. A mass-market electric car that is faster than most gas cars and which travels 200+ miles/charge did NOT exist before Tesla--therefore it is new technology.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Whenever you see absurd prices, you must remember some have absurd amounts of money. There are people today who could light a $100 bill on fire and every ten seconds use it to light the next one, all day, all year (about $300 million) and still have more money in the bank next year. And there's people living on less money in a year than I spent on the graphic cards in my gaming rig. The world's wealth is extremely unevenly distributed.

    • by enjar ( 249223 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @11:46AM (#50627945) Homepage

      Tesla has never made a secret that their approach was to sell the high margin luxury vehicles first, where the margins are. The next model they introduce is going to be priced at $35K, which is solidly in the 4-door family sedan price range (Accord, Camry) and the low end of small upscale sedan territory (3-series).

    • Selling cars that cost as much as a small house is all well and good if your target market is 1%ers and boomers, but if you want to sell to the mass market you need something that's priced for a generation that will probably never be able to afford to own a home.

      Where I live, in the midwest, that is the price of a brand new good sized home.
      However, I live in a part of town that is kind of run down and it is not uncommon to see people with vehicles that cost twice as much as their home and twice their annual household income as well.

      • Where I live that will build you a 20x20 workshop.

        • Where do you live where construction materials and labor add up to $350 per square foot for a shop? Nice homes in California can be built for $150 per square foot or less. I may be willing to drive a truck of materials there and build it for less.
    • Selling cars that cost as much as a small house

      They're a California company. Try finding a house for $132K just about *anywhere* in California, let alone greater LA or SF. Heck, finding a house in many parts of Silicon Valley for $1.32 million is tough.

      Why is this a story on slashdot anyway? Jalopnik, sure.... but this isn't news for nerds, and not really even news that matters. It's just a new model press release.

      • Selling cars that cost as much as a small house

        They're a California company. Try finding a house for $132K just about *anywhere* in California, let alone greater LA or SF. Heck, finding a house in many parts of Silicon Valley for $1.32 million is tough.

        Done: http://www.folkartplayhouses.c... [folkartplayhouses.com]

        OK, so they're in Sherman Oaks, but that is in California.

      • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @12:40PM (#50628507)

        Why is this a story on slashdot anyway? Jalopnik, sure.... but this isn't news for nerds, and not really even news that matters. It's just a new model press release.

        Speaking as a nerd I find it fascinating. Please remember that nerds aren't just computer programmers. Some of us are interested in technology that doesn't have a keyboard and mouse. Furthermore it DOES matter. Tesla is having some fascinating effects on the car industry and they are proving that all electric vehicles are a viable commercial technology. In case you hadn't noticed a lot of people here on slashdot are very interested in what Tesla is doing.

        • a lot of people here on slashdot are very interested in what Tesla is doing.

          A lot of people here on slashdot are interested in sex, too. That doesn't mean this is the place to discuss it.

          • A lot of people here on slashdot are interested in sex, too. That doesn't mean this is the place to discuss it.

            It's been discussed plenty here on slashdot. Your userid is low enough you ought to know that. And just because you don't care about a particular topic doesn't mean others aren't interested. I could not care less about vintage video games or bitcoin but it clearly fascinates some folks here. Tesla automobiles are clearly a technology that is of interest to nerds and its pretty easy to argue that it matters.

      • Lots of homes at that price point [homes.com] in San Bernardino, Barstow, Palmdale, and other places East of LA... Same in Eastern Ventura County [homes.com] in Santa Paula. Or central Ventura County in places like Ojai and Oxnard and even Ventura (the city). All within about an hour drive of Los Angeles.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The Model 3 is due in 2017 most likely. Next year Nissan is expected to release a new version of the Leaf with 200 mile range (with some leaked photos recently), and a few other manufacturers are saying they will have affordable long range EVs.

      My two year deal on a Leaf is up at the end of 2016 and I was promised a nice new 200 mile range one to trade in for by the dealer. Dealers never lie, right?

      Seriously though, most manufacturers seem to think 2017 will be the year of cheap, 250 mile range EVs.

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      Why ask questions you already know the answer to? The Model 3 is scheduled to begin sales in 2018, which (if I my Tesla-to-Earth-time calculations are correct) means it ought to be available to the public by 2020 or so.

    • by alva_edison ( 630431 ) <ThAlEdison@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @12:21PM (#50628355)

      $35,000 Tesla Model III coming in 2017 [popularmechanics.com]
      Since they've seemed to slip all of their shcedules by 1-2 years, I'm guessing 2019.
      This blog post [waitbutwhy.com] discusses Tesla's top-down strategy where they use luxury cars to fund development of mass-market cars.

    • Let their current target market pay for the R&D and then we can all enjoy the technology at an affordable price.

      Tesla has not seen a profit yet so it's more than acceptable for them to let the rich pay for the R&D.

      Best cost model for this. This same cost model was applied to the original Model T.

    • Selling cars that cost as much as a small house is all well and good if your target market is 1%ers and boomers, but if you want to sell to the mass market you need something that's priced for a generation that will probably never be able to afford to own a home.

      The base model will be less. And they are working on a $35000 model that will compete with BMW 3 series cars. This car is meant to compete in the market that buys Porsche Cayenne's and the like. The top turbo model of the Cayenne goes for over $130000. The base model of the Model X will likely go for $60000 or so.

    • by bledri ( 1283728 )

      Selling cars that cost as much as a small house is all well and good if your target market is 1%ers and boomers, but if you want to sell to the mass market you need something that's priced for a generation that will probably never be able to afford to own a home.

      Tesla's business model is explicitly to use the experience and funds generated by high end models to create less expensive models. Elon musk has repeated this over and over. Here is a blog post from 2006 [teslamotors.com]. Why is this so hard for people to understand? Where else is Tesla suppose to get the money and experience to create the car? Tesla is using the money of 1%ers (as you say) to fund development of cars for the 50%ers and people bitch about it like it's a bad thing.

      So what's the gripe? They aren't proce

  • Door Sensors (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lazarus ( 2879 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @11:28AM (#50627775) Journal

    One of the things I found very interesting about the video release is the idea that they put sensors in the falcon wing doors that would alter the rate and angle the two pivot points used to open the doors. I had wondered how they were going to prevent what would have probably ended up being expensive damage if the available opening space around the car was either too low or too close. You have to hand it to Tesla, they really do think about how things should work before they rush in and execute. If they put the same kind of design effort into the Model C, they are going to knock it out of the park.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Maybe someone can explain why the doors don't just open in a way that takes up minimal horizontal space all the time? Parking garages with low ceilings?

    • Re:Door Sensors (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sinij ( 911942 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @12:15PM (#50628283)
      Such over-design tends to spectacularly and expensively fail as cars get older or get into accidents. With multiple hinges, sensors, control units that all could potentially fail, you will end up with a used car without functioning doors. Who wants that? On other hand, simple hinge just keep working.

      So you think, "I will lease for 4 years, and will never see these problems". Well, resale value is affected by reliability, and as a result costs of these failures will be baked into your lease costs. So you will have higher monthly payments because some marketing type at Tesla decided to stick pointless lambo doors on this car, making it less reliable in the process.
      • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @12:45PM (#50628581)

        Such over-design tends to spectacularly and expensively fail as cars get older or get into accidents.

        Not really a relevant concern when you are talking about a $100K+ vehicle. A bit of exuberant design is expected to justify the price tag. I'm guessing you aren't really into the luxury car market much.

        With multiple hinges, sensors, control units that all could potentially fail, you will end up with a used car without functioning doors. Who wants that? On other hand, simple hinge just keep working.

        Yes but simple isn't necessarily interesting. Nobody buys a supercar because they want simple basic transportation. They want a bit of panache, otherwise there is no point.

        So you think, "I will lease for 4 years, and will never see these problems". Well, resale value is affected by reliability, and as a result costs of these failures will be baked into your lease costs.

        Buying a car like this is not a decision driven by expected resale value. You buy a car like this because you have the disposable income and you want to own one.

      • Pretty sure if you're going to drop $140k or whatever on a car, "practicality" is not prominently featured in your decision matrix.

  • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @11:29AM (#50627793)
    "Tesla says that the car features 'a medical grade HEPA filter strips outside air of pollen, bacteria, viruses and pollution before circulating it into the cabin.'"

    I'm guessing they don't just use that filter all the time because they don't want to wear out a (presumably) much more expensive filter?

    And silly name aside, i could actually see using this feature to defend against the relatively benign bio attacks of skunks and that portion of I-5 in central California right next to all the cattle lots.
    • Never mind a 'bioweapon defense' mode from outside sources, we're talking an SUV here, with fairly large seating capacity, which implies carpooling: Where's the 'bioweapon defense mode' for the interior of the vehicle, to defend against Phil from the accounting department who ate three bowls of his (in)famous 3-alarm chili last night for dinner? Or in a family situation, little Tommy who keeps saying " 'scuse me!" every 10 seconds for the whole two-hour trip to grandma's?

      All kidding aside, is this just Mus
    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @12:11PM (#50628235) Homepage Journal
      To defend against the SUV or Volkswagen diesel car driving in front of you.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Most modern cars have a HEPA filter for the cabin. When you are sitting in traffic belching out particulates you don't want to be pumping them into the cabin. I'm not sure if the Tesla one is actually significantly better than other manufacturer's filters, or if it's just one of those bits of trivia that sounds cool when you hear it but actually is the normal way things work.

    • Sorry to say but hepa filters only work on particles. Skunk and cow stench will go right through :-(

  • by wardrich86 ( 4092007 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @11:30AM (#50627799)

    [...]a so-called "bioweapon defense mode" for its air circulation system that keeps positive pressure within the cabin.

    What if the bioweapon is released from within the vehicle... from say, a butt? Is there a defense mode for that that any other vehicle wouldn't already have?

    • [...]a so-called "bioweapon defense mode" for its air circulation system that keeps positive pressure within the cabin.

      What if the bioweapon is released from within the vehicle... from say, a butt?

      Quick -- Somebody tweet Elon about the potential Weapons Grade Chipotle threat vector.

  • But given their car pricing, the base model X would be price competitive with the Mercedes G class, and the Tesla would out class the Mercedes in just about every way (including looks).
    • But given their car pricing, the base model X would be price competitive with the Mercedes G class, and the Tesla would out class the Mercedes in just about every way (including looks).

      We'll have to disagree about the looks. I think the G class is sharp and crossover style SUVs look kind of silly. They're simply too much of a compromise and I don't really understand the point of them. If you want a truck, get a truck. The crossovers don't have the space of a real truck but don't have the handling of a comparable sedan. Plus I have yet to see a crossover SUV that is worth a crap if you leave the pavement. The Model X is about as good looking a crossover as I've seen but that's kind o

      • I've always held that the more expensive the manufacturer is, the uglier their SUV is. Especially with the "luxury line" manufcatures which rebadge their consumer grade vehicles, like Lexus, Infinity and Acura. Lexus takes a standard Toyota Land Cruiser and glues on extra plastic to make it wider (on the outside, not the inside), and gaudier.
  • bioweapon defense mode

    Monocle and white cat time.

  • That's nice. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NMBob ( 772954 )
    I'd rather have a car that goes from 0 to 60 in 6.4 seconds and goes 500 miles. 250 miles just doesn't cut in some parts of the US (out West).
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's why Tesla has built and is building more supercharger stations.
      http://www.teslamotors.com/supercharger

      • by ksheff ( 2406 )
        Which is fine and dandy if you just want to follow the interstates from one tourist trap to another. It must suck for the couple of Tesla owners in Memphis. The closest free supercharger station for them is in Nashville. It looks as if Tesla is avoiding Arkansas like the plague.
      • That's why Tesla has built and is building more supercharger stations.
        http://www.teslamotors.com/sup... [teslamotors.com]

        He said Out West. They don't even have gas stations in some places. I'd love to see a supercharger station in the middle of butt fuck Wyoming but that's a bit in the future.

        OTOH, you could conceivably make one with solar panels and huge capacitor and battery banks that didn't need to be hooked to the grid. It would be the size of a large truck stop and costs tens of millions of dollars but it wouldn't require fuel deliveries. Interesting concept.

    • It does go from 0 to 60 in 6.4 seconds. Or 12.8 seconds, or whatever you ask it to do. The great thing about electric motors is they don't consume anything at idle, or take any more than you give them.
    • I'd rather have a car that goes from 0 to 60 in 6.4 seconds and goes 500 miles. 250 miles just doesn't cut in some parts of the US (out West).

      It won't be long before it's not an either/or decision. Right now the state of the art is at 250 miles. I expect to see electric vehicles with a 500+ mile range in the next few years. The folks at Tesla have already been talking about vehicles with 700+ mile range. In the mean time there are hybrid cars with good 0-60 times on the market today which can go much further than 250 miles without refueling.

    • I'd rather have a car that goes from 0 to 60 in 6.4 seconds and goes 500 miles. 250 miles just doesn't cut in some parts of the US (out West).

      You should probably tell that to someone at Tesla. I'm sure they have no idea that people are interested in electric cars with increased range. Maybe if enough people complain, they'll start figuring out how to improve battery technology.

    • Only 8 years ago EVs had a max range of about 80 miles. Charging is going to be a problem for a long time. The alternative to charging is swapping. There have been other suggestions such as discount car rentals for those who want to take a long trip. More than 95% of people have a daily commute of less than 100 miles per day. Considering that's less than a 2 hour charging time at home it's not bad at all.

  • officially unveiled its Model X SUV

    A much more fortunate choice than "Model V SUX" would have been.

    But seriously: I hope it's viable to open those rear doors when parked a typical distance from an adjacent car in a parking lot.

    • The doors use less lateral room than a traditional door. In other words, there can be situations where you can exit via the rear door but not the front door due to being parked so close to the adjacent car.

  • At the end of the video Elon hands out a bunch of keys for the first few VINs. I'm really hoping to see a repeat of that when the Dragon V2 [spacex.com] is introduced!
  • Doors (Score:2, Troll)

    by Toshito ( 452851 )

    Those falcon wing doors looks cool, but what about winter? Will the motors be powerful enough to overcome ice? Where will the snow on roof go when you open them?

    What a about a ski rack? Where do you put your canoe or your kayak? Your bikes?

    Or a luggage rack? Because it's cool to have a 7 passenger SUV, but where do you put the luggage?

    When we go camping as a family, we're 6. The only space left for luggage is the tiny space left in the trunk and the big luggage box on the roof.

    • Those falcon wing doors looks cool, but what about winter? Will the motors be powerful enough to overcome ice? Where will the snow on roof go when you open them?

      What a about a ski rack? Where do you put your canoe or your kayak? Your bikes?

      Or a luggage rack? Because it's cool to have a 7 passenger SUV, but where do you put the luggage?

      When we go camping as a family, we're 6. The only space left for luggage is the tiny space left in the trunk and the big luggage box on the roof.

      Generally you would remove said snow from the top before trying to open them. I can't say how the X would deal with ice. I know if I were to own one (fat chance of that) I would have it parked in a heated garage (if I could afford the Model X I could afford the garage).

      If you go to the first link they have a video of the launch event, where they show off the cargo capability. No top rack obviously, but you have a good amount of storage in the front, back, and underseats. They also show the X towing an Ai

    • " where do you put the luggage?"

      Under the hood in the front, because there is no engine there,

    • Re:Doors (Score:4, Informative)

      by CanadianMacFan ( 1900244 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @06:41PM (#50632015)

      Don't be a douche and leave the snow on the roof. When you drive it just blows onto the car behind you. It's polite to sweep it off before you leave.

  • But what I really want to know is...how many hogs can I carry in the back of this vehicle?

  • by ArcadeNut ( 85398 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @01:44PM (#50629185) Homepage

    Is that with one person in the car driving normally?

    What about when you have 6 people in it towing a boat/quads/whatever and fully loaded with luggage? I'm betting it's a little less then 250 miles...

    • What about when you have 6 people in it towing a boat/quads/whatever and fully loaded with luggage?

      Now there's a funny thing with electrical vehicle and towing:

      - electric motors are relatively simple and not the most expensive part in a vehicle (I mean when compared to a fossil fuel engine). There's nothing preventing you in putting more into anything. That's why recent Model S, and the Model X (and countless of small half-DIY things-on-wheel on youtube) are dual-drive.
      Gives you twice the power, with not much extra cost.

      - batteries are expensive, and a bit heavy, but once you already have the technology

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