Silicon Valley electric carmaker Tesla has launched its third model to date – a sports-utility vehicle distinguished by its double-hinged “falcon wing” rear doors, which unfurl themselves upwards to help parents put their children inside.
The Model X was unveiled nearly two years later than originally scheduled.
The firm’s chief executive Elon Musk acknowledged that the “difficulty in engineering” some of the parts involved had been greater than he had originally expected.
“Any type of car can go electric. We showed you you can do it with a sedan and now we’re going to do it with a SUV,” the 44-year-old South African said at a launch party on Tuesday evening at Tesla’s Fremont, California factory.
The Model X shares a platform and motor with the Model S, which is made at the same factory. But unlike the S, which has several battery options, the X only has a 90 kilowatt-hour battery and only comes with all-wheel drive.
The 90D version will go 257 miles on a full charge, while the P90D performance version will go 250 miles. Tesla’s high-speed “ludicrous mode” is offered on the P90D; it goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds.
The car can fit seven people and can travel about 250 miles (400km) on a single charge. The Model X is the third vehicle from 12-year-old Tesla, after the Roadster – which was discontinued in 2012 – and the Model S sedan.
Analysts said its price – which runs as high as $144,000 (£95,100) – is expected to temper demand. Tesla has said it plans to unveil a lower-cost vehicle in 2017.