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USA: Why The Tesla Model X Is A Home Run

Tesla’s Model X crossover, unveiled Thursday night, will be a slam-dunk for the company when it debuts in late 2013. I want one, and you probably want one, too. This is the car to get Tesla off government life support and into marketplace profitability, for a couple of very simple reasons:

1.It will be built on the Model S sedan platform, with 60 percent shared content, which saves Tesla a bundle in development money.
2.It’s a seven-passenger SUV that doesn’t look like one and has genuine eco-cred. Despite all their fealty to green cars in polls, Americans still love trucks and off-road styling. They don’t love gas guzzling per se, so if you can get rid of that nasty impediment and still offer crossover utility, you’re home free.
The Model X feature everyone’s talking about is the “falcon-wing doors,” which make access to the third row of seats (often a contortion in SUVs) a cinch. But I’m more interested in the range and charging possibilities. The Model X, which offers a second front-mounted motor to complement the rear-mounted 300-horsepower unit that comes standard, is also offered with two battery packs, 60 and 85 kilowatt-hours (also options in the S, where there’s a third 40-kWh choice). But the new car is heavier and less aerodynamic than the Model S, so it loses perhaps 10 percent on range—214 to 267 miles is the promise.

Tesla, which has its own unique charging system, also promises that you can plug in an X and come back to it topped up in just four hours—even with the big battery pack. That’s only possible with Tesla’s twin on-board chargers, which together offer a massive 20 kilowatts. They are a $1,500 option on the intro iterations of the Model S, where they offer up to 62 miles of range per hour of charge. As they say, check with your local electrician if you can handle that amount of power—the Nissan Leaf charger is only 3.3 kilowatts.



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