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USA: Tesla announces Model X SUV for 2014, starts taking deposits

The electric SUV will share a platform, components and technology with Tesla’s electric Model S sedan, which is slated to go into production this year.

Tesla Motors Inc. has yet to deliver the much-touted Model S — the electric sedan it is making at its auto factory in Fremont, Calif. — but that didn’t stop the automaker from taking reservations for a sport utility vehicle it doesn’t expect to begin selling until 2014.

The Palo Alto, Calif., maker of electric vehicles unveiled the Model X, an electric-powered SUV, and said interested buyers could put down a $5,000 deposit to reserve one, though the vehicle’s price hasn’t been set yet.

The Model X looks more like a crossover than a traditional utility and features unusual gull-wing doors that lift up and out. Tesla plans to start manufacturing the vehicle at the end of 2013, with sales to begin the following year.

“Tesla is certainly taking a different approach from the established car manufacturers,” said Thilo Koslowski, an auto analyst at research firm Gartner Inc.

In announcing plans to produce the SUV, Tesla is leveraging the work it has done developing the sedan to produce other vehicles, analysts said. Both models will share a platform, components and technology, greatly reducing the cost of producing a new vehicle.


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