Tesla Model X All-Electric Crossover (FUTURE VEHICLE PREVIEW)

Written By: Brittney B.

Edited By: Assen Gueorguiev

Tesla Model X Crossover (FUTURE)

The entire automobile industry is facing increasing pressure to add more hybrid and electric options, but one particular company is leading the way... by sticking to the same exact plan they've had all along. Tesla has only ever produced electric vehicles; in fact, CEO Elon Musk founded the company in an effort to one day create and mass-produce an affordable electric vehicle. Tesla keeps getting closer and closer to achieving that goal, and with its next set of groundbreaking innovations, those efforts will segue into a whole new class.

After multiple delays — and amid ever-mounting anticipation — the Tesla Model X is finally slated to arrive during the third quarter of 2015, and Tesla is currently taking orders for early 2016 deliveries. This fully electric crossover will be yet another first for the automaker, which already broke records with the Roadster (the world's first fully electric sports car) and later on Model S (Tesla's first luxury sedan). Like its two predecessors, the Model X still doesn't have the consumer-class price tag that Tesla was founded to find, but it does offer an impressive variety of perks and surprises.

Targeting a new market

For now, Tesla only has one vehicle in its production lineup. As the company's first-ever crossover SUV, the Model X won't just supplement Tesla's sales revenue at long last. It will also open up a whole new target demographic: affluent families with children. Tesla no longer has a monopoly on electric cars, but if the Model X lives up to expectations, it will be more practical than most electric options on the modern market. However, it's not better in every way.

Because the Model X is designed for short, frequent trips, its battery range won't be as impressive as the Model S. No one is expecting that, though. They are expecting versatility and reliability, and Tesla is doing its best to deliver. Two different battery capacities and drivetrain options offer motorized all-wheel drive, with extra torque and traction for extremes and everyday conditions alike. And the doors, which are crucial for loading and unloading, are so innovative that they're not even doors at all. Tesla calls them "Falcon Wings", for the unique roof-spanning design and the way they open upward, staying completely out of the way.

Tesla Model X All-Electric Crossover (Click on Images to Expand)

Adding power and other perks

Musk has hinted at a very modest price increase from the Model S to the X, at least for the base model (which will lack autopilot features and other pricy technologies). However, this crossover could have some surprising specs in store for Tesla fans, giving it a few competitive edges that have nothing to do with price or crossover status.

For electric vehicles, that universal indicator of torque — how many seconds it takes a car to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour — has never been one of the most impressive or important specs on the list. Tesla has always challenged that, though, insisting that zero-emission vehicles can be powerful and athletic too. The Roadster, Tesla's sporty electric convertible, only needs 3.7 seconds to reach that speed, but Tesla estimates that the Model X will only take 3.2. That's twice as fast as a Porsche Cayenne, and it's the result of an exclusive powertrain that Tesla has tweaked once again.

At least one crossover — an electric version of the discontinued Toyota RAV4 — already employs electric components of Tesla's proprietary powertrain. The Model S, meanwhile, has the same wheelbase, battery pack, and other basic design elements as the Model X. However, the upcoming crossover will be its own distinct machine, with a combination of sports car speed and SUV versatility, and Tesla has delayed its release more than once in order to make sure it hits every mark.

Taking time to perfect it

In May 2014, Musk revealed that research costs increased significantly in 2014 because of one feature in particular: the Falcon Wings that make step-in access so easy for Model X passengers. Engineers had trouble sealing, waterproofing, and noise-proofing these upward-opening doors, and as a result Tesla stalled production plans until they could find a solution. All this buildup could actually be promising, because it means Tesla is anticipating and solving problems that would eventually detract from the model's efficiency, comfort, or long-term durability.

Thinking of everything

Emissions and mileage aren't the only two factors that determine a car's overall sustainability. If you want to know a vehicle's true environmental footprint, you have to start from the beginning. It also requires energy to design, manufacture, and deliver each vehicle, and you'll have to charge and maintain it too. That's why Tesla is paying close attention to the materials and production methods behind each component in the Model X.

Arguably, everything from waste disposal methods to employee transportation could affect the environmental footprint of each individual vehicle. Tesla is keenly aware of its potential effects on the environment, both good and bad. In fact, they recently started building a new battery factory in Nevada, which will have zero net impact on the environment. This "gigafactory" will be solely responsible for producing new batteries for upcoming production models. These smaller, more powerful batteries will be easier to charge and replace, but from a production standpoint, they'll also be cheaper to manufacture and expand design possibilities for Tesla as a result.

The Model X could be the first of many utility vehicles in Tesla's lineup. It could also be a one-off model, or a mainstay that evolves along with advances in battery technology. Whatever its future, the Model X is good news for families who want to minimize their environmental footprint as much as possible.