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Texas Supersized: Update on Tesla's SUV-Minivan

Stocks in this article: TSLA F GM HMC TM NSANY

Here are some examples of how Tesla will now improve the Model X beyond the prototype it showed in February 2012 and January 2013:

The wheelbase will be longer. In order to compete with larger minivans and SUVs like the Chevrolet Suburban, Honda (HMC) Odyssey, Dodge Caravan, Toyota (TM) Sienna and so forth, it needs to fit at least seven tall and heavy Americans. In addition, it needs to fit even more of their luggage.

Rifle racks -- both mounted inside the car, and on the roof -- will be optional. This will make the Tesla Model X suitable for border guards, Texas state troopers, hunters, fishermen and other assorted rifle enthusiasts alike.

An all-electric 4x4 SUV, the Tesla Model X will hold an advantage in that it can approach animals, common criminals and border trespassers alike completely silently, thanks to the silent electric motors powering all four wheels.

Given that the Model X can approach the enemy in silence, it also holds the potential for Tesla becoming a U.S. Defense Department contractor. The roof of the Model X SUV could see a hole supporting a machine-gun turret. It could be a more lightweight -- and silent -- replacement for the iconic Hummer.

As a result, the Model X will grow in length and height -- the height not being total height -- but by reducing the tapering in the back, so as to make more headroom for the third row. Even a couple of inches will make a huge difference.

If Tesla is going to persuade Texas farmers to switch out the Chevy Suburban, you can't go wobbly on size.

One more issue in need of adjustment: For those of you who got to take a test ride in the Model X prototype back in February 2012, you will remember that the combination of step-in height and how far inside the car the driver's seat is located makes for a little bit of discomfort in getting in and out of the car.

Specifically, your leg hits the side of the car trying to step down onto the pavement. In other large SUVs, this is often solved by mounting an external step.

In the Tesla Model X, this will not be desirable because of aerodynamics. Tesla had to go back and engineer a different solution that does not add weight or subtract from the aerodynamics. It will move the Model X's seats an inch or so closer to the sides of the car, as Chevrolet did with the Volt, to fit its battery next to a wide central tunnel.

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