Tesla confirms launch date for electrically powered SUV

Author

Alan Tovey Industry Editor

August 11, 2015

Billionaire Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla will officially launch the Model X SUV by the end of the third quarter

Tesla, the electric car company founded by billionaire Elon Musk, has confirmed a launch date for its new sports utility vehicle (SUV), with customers getting behind the wheel by the end of September.

Featuring distinctive gull-wing doors, the seven-seater Model X was first displayed in 2012 with the aim of the car going into production the following year.

However, the launch of the SUV was pushed back, with no reason given for the delay, despite a strong order book.

Industry commentators had suggested demand for Tesla’s Model S car might have held up production of the SUV, and that the company might also have delayed launch to iron out problems that arose when building the first vehicle.

Reporting on second-quarter trading, Mr Musk said that the next few years would be “transformational from a product perspective”, having already established the high-performance Model S as the best-selling electric car in the US.

In the UK, a basic version of the Model S sells for just shy of £50,000, though a £5,000 rebate is available from the Government under a scheme aimed at encouraging take-up of electrically-powered vehicles.

The billionaire – who made his first fortune co-founding online transaction company Paypal – added that the Model X would be launched later this quarter, which ends on September 30.

• Meet tech billionaire and real life Iron Man Elon Musk

Mr Musk, who is chairman and president of US-listed Tesla, added that the design of the Model X had proved difficult.

“The Model X is a particularly challenging car to build, maybe the hardest car to build in the world,” he said. “But it is an amazing vehicle and I think it will blow people away.

“Our biggest challenges are with the second-row seat. It’s an amazing seat, a sculptural work of art, but a very tricky thing to get right.”

Mr Musk added that in first quarter of next year Tesla will unveil the design of its Model 3 car – expected to be a smaller version of the Model S.

Updating on California-based Tesla’s performance, Mr Musk said the company would deliver between 50,000 and 55,000 cars this year, down from an earlier target of 55,000.

The scaling back was attributed to supply chain problems, though Mr Musk said he was confident the company could deliver 500,000 cars a year by 2020, noting that Tesla produced only 600 cars in 2010.

The company delivered 11,532 Model S cars in the second quarter, taking the half-year figure to 21,577, with plans for the total to hit 34,000 by the end of the third quarter.

Group revenues at Tesla – which also makes battery packs for home use – rose by 3pc to $1.9bn (£1.2bn) in the first six months of the year, compared with the same point last year.

The net loss over the period grew from $112m in 2014 to $338m.

The news came as two computer security experts said they had managed to hack the systems in Tesla’s Model S, allowing them to start and drive the car without a key.

Kevin Mahaffey, of mobile security firm Lookout, and Marc Rogers, from CloudFlare, claimed they could plug in a laptop in behind the car’s dashboard and take control of some of the car’s functions, although to do so they did need access to the vehicle’s interior.

Tesla has already released a software patch to fix the vulnerability.

This article was written by Alan Tovey Industry Editor from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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