Tesla bossman Elon Musk said he expects the Model X “to get a five-star crash rating in every category” as he introduced the car to media today. Yes, including rollovers. Even when you’re not in an accident, the car protects its occupants from invisible harm with a true HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) cabin air filter, the only one in any car, according to Musk. “If there’s ever a bioweapon attack,” Musk said “the safest place is your car.” At this point I figured he was kidding, until he added “there’s actually a ‘bioweapon defense mode’ right there in the HVAC. We figure you shouldn’t have to think if you’re in an emergency.”
Telsa Motors delivered the first of its long-awaited Model X electric sports-utility vehicles on Tuesday, a product investors are counting on to make the pioneering company profitable after years of losses.
The launch of the Model X represents a milestone for the loss-making Silicon Valley automaker during a period of high spending and modest growth, because it can now boast a second model in production beyond its Model S sedan, launched in 2012.
"I think we got a little carried away with the X," Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told reporters ahead of a launch event near the company's Fremont factory, where luxury Model Xs have been moving down the production line in recent weeks, nearly two years behind the company's original schedule.
Musk estimated that 25,000 customers had pre-ordered the crossover online or in its stores and that it would take 8-12 months for those ordering from now to receive the SUV.
In retrospect, the company may have done less, Musk said. "There is far more there than is really necessary to sell a car. And some of the things are so difficult, they make the car better but the difficulty of engineering those parts is so high." Musk said the biggest challenges were making the doors open in a graceful "balletic" manner, the expansive windshield - which he said was the largest piece of glass ever used in a car - plus its sun visor and the moveable seats, which he said were deceptively tricky.