Why This Has Been a Big Week For Tesla
It’s been a pretty eventful week for Tesla, though perhaps not in the way you might expect; there were no new cars, new products, or major developments pertaining to the product. Instead, Tesla affirmed that its highly anticipated Model X SUV, which has been in development for many years, will be arriving as expected. And that’s big news. See, the Model X has already been delayed for years while Tesla has worked to perfect it. With this latest announcement, it appears we’re just a few months away from the Model X hitting the streets.
At its 2015 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Mountain View, Calif., Tesla — through its mouthpiece and CEO Elon Musk — said that deliveries of the all-electric utility could start in September. That’s precisely what the company said earlier this year and late last year, when it committed to a third-quarter delivery date. For Tesla, it means it will be the first time that it’s operating two separate production lines for different vehicles.
Though it rides on a platform similar to Tesla’s existing Model S 70D, which has the dual-motor setup, there are other intricacies that the company had to contend with. Since it’s larger, the vehicle had to be designed to be comparably efficient with its power and range as the sedan. Also, in order for it to sit in a standard garage, Tesla outfitted the X with ‘Falcon’ doors — rear doors which open up instead of out in a unique folding motion.
Originally debuted in 2012, the initial starting date for the X was supposed to have been early 2013. That estimate was dubious at best, and it was soon pushed back and back, and landed on the second quarter of 2015 — now — before finally being revised to the third quarter. This week, Musk affirmed that the third quarter was still a go.
Promising spy shots back up Musk’s statements, as complete-looking (though disguised) Model X test mules have been seen driving around Tesla’s home state of California. John Voelcker noted that Tesla isn’t planning on grand-standing with the X, and will instead quietly begin deliveries instead of a large blowout release party.
It also appears that Tesla may be dropping its plans for battery-swapping stations, where a Tesla could have its drained battery pack swapped out for a fresh one in less time than it takes to fill a conventional car tank with gas. Though the technology is certainly super cool, putting it aside will allow Tesla to focus more heavily on building out it’s Supercharger network, which offers free charge to Tesla owners all around the country.
Rounding out this week’s Tesla-thon, its current Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja will retire this year, though he’s going to stay on board to help the company search for his successor. He joined Tesla seven years ago as the first CFO, coming over from Ford once it was apparent that Tesla wasn’t just some hobbyist’s side project.
Things seem to be shaping up for the company, which has experienced all kinds of teething pains since the birth of the Roadster in 2008. Finally, it looks like Tesla is starting to have grown-up company problems — and for a budding EV maker in an impossible industry, those are good problems to have.