Texas Supersized: Update on Tesla's SUV-Minivan
Could it be that Tesla will soon replace the 80-year-old General Motors
In a short period Tesla has shown that it moves quicker, more intelligently and with less manpower than all the other car makers, for which the stock market has awarded it the industry's highest multiple.
I am about to tell you one more reason for this trend in Tesla's favor: The Model X minivan concept car, unveiled in February 2012.
It's based on the current Model S chassis but adds an optional extra electric motor in the front for four-wheel drive, a third adult-sized row of seats and innovative "falcon wing" rear side doors for superior access.
The Model X was supposed to enter production in December 2013 but was delayed to December 2014. It's probably realistic that it will enter production some time in 2015.
Why these delays? There are two basic reasons:
1. It has taken more effort to iron out the 1.0 glitches in the current Model S.
For example, it draws an insane amount of power when it sits idle -- like overnight. This power draw is multiple decimal points more than any other electric car in the market, such as the Chevy Volt. This deficiency was known when the Model S entered small-scale production a year ago, but Tesla thought it could be fixed it in a couple of months, before volume production kicked in around late November 2012.
Well, it turns out that this problem was a lot more difficult to fix. Tesla now believes it will be fixed in the second half of this year.
Tesla remains a small company and can't afford to do everything at once. It has done what appears to be the prudent thing and focused on perfecting the Model S before it commences final development of the next model, the X.
2. The Model X will see significant changes beyond the February 2012 prototype.
Tesla showed a Model X at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2013. It was the same car from February 2012, with some minor cosmetic changes. Since then, however, Tesla has realized that it can improve the car even further, in more material ways.