It’s a six-month wait to get into the car that takes twice as long to open its door as it does to blast to 100km/h.
When it arrives here in December, Tesla’s Model X – the Californian electric car company’s first SUV – will be able to blast to 100km/h in as little as 3.1 seconds, but it takes up to six seconds to close the radical falcon wing doors that define the all-electric vehicle.
It’s one of the anomalies of a car set to challenge traditions in the bulging luxury SUV space – and a car set to become Tesla’s top seller in Australia, for now at least.
Luxury SUVs in Australia have typically relied on big engines and big badges – think BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, with Maserati, Bentley and Jaguar more recently joining the fray – but the Tesla uses only electric motors and a bank of batteries.
It can travel up to 489km between charges and even the slowest model – the 60D and 75D – dash from 0-100km/h in a brisk 6.2 seconds.
Those two electric motors free up boot space – both in the rear and front, or ‘frunk’ – and also deliver brutal acceleration, with the P90D claimed to take 3.4 seconds to 100km/h and the yet to go on sale P100D lowering that to 3.1 seconds.
The Model X is also a maze of sensors and motors, many to do with the doors. Each door can open and close electronically, with those falcon wings embedded with six sensors to ensure they can open with objects within 30cm of the side of the car and not much higher than its roof.
A five-seat layout is standard, or buyers can opt for a six-seat configuration that includes mono-post middle seats that tilt forward but don’t allow passengers to adjust the rake of the backrest.
Tyres include standard 20-inch rims, or you can option hulking 22-inch units.
The Model X has an aluminium body to save weight, but the batteries make it a 2.5-tonne behemoth.
Like the Tesla Model S, though, so much of that weight is down low in the car – the batteries are integrated into the floor – so the centre of gravity is low, aiding handling by reducing leaning, or body roll.
Despite proudly stating it is holding 373,000 orders for the yet-to-be-built Model 3, Tesla won’t talk sales figures for its Model X, nor will it reveal how many orders have been placed.
But Tesla Australia senior marketing and communications manager Heath Walker concedes the Model X will be the company’s biggest seller.
“Luxury SUV is about five times larger than luxury sedan,” he said, hinting that the expectation was that the Model X will trump the Model S.
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