Spied: This Is The Tesla Model X On The Road

John Byrne
Image source: Automedia.

So we’ve seen it before — the Tesla Model X — the prototype debuted at Tesla Design Studios in February of 2012. But this is the first we’ve seen it on the road. (More photos are available here.)

Tesla first promised us the gull-winged SUV in early 2014. That never happened. The perennial question is: when will Tesla actually get the Model X to market? The company now says deliveries will commence in the fall, but the seriousness of our confusion is well conveyed by Wikipedia itself:

In November 2013, Tesla confirmed the company expected to deliver the Model X in small numbers by end of 2014, with high volume production planned for the second quarter of 2015.However, Tesla announced in February 2014 that in order to focus on overseas rollouts, the company expects to have production design Model X prototypes by the end of 2014, to begin high volume deliveries for retail customers in the second quarter of 2015. In November 2014 Tesla again delayed the start of deliveries to retail customers, and announced the company expects Model X deliveries to begin in the third quarter of 2015.

Right. Tesla had huge first-to-market advantages with the Model S, its wildly popular sedan, which proved the first successful luxury electric car (and perhaps the first truly successful electric car, period.) But in the SUV market, it will soon have company. BMW promises a partially electric X5 this year, and Volvo plans an electrified version of its popular XC90.

In truth, though, Tesla’s bigger challenger may come from Audi and Porsche. While Porsche’s current lineup includes vehicles with under 20 mile electric range, a rumored Porsche Pajun could compete more directly with the Model S. The Pajun is said to have a 250 mile electric range (to Tesla’s 256-310 miles), and would come from a prestiged and highly successful marque with its distribution chain of established dealers. On the luxury electric SUV front, the biggest news is Audi’s Q8 E-tron, which reports say will have a 370 mile range and priced as high as $130,000. The Q8 is set to launch in 2016 or 2017. Both Porsche and Audi are owned by Volkswagen, and each also now have luxury electric supercars — the R8 E-Tron and the Porsche 918.


Porsche Pajun.


Audi Q8 E-tron.