After finally starting a presentation near midnight on Tuesday, nearly an hour later than originally scheduled, Musk didn't disappoint.
Unveiling the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla's latest vehicle to a crowd of perhaps more than 3,000 people, Musk showcased the electric vehicle maker's first sports-utility vehicle, the Model X. The fruit of years worth of investment, research, time, effort and missed deadlines, the Model X appears poised to upend the SUV market, just as the Model S has the sedan.
"Tesla never fails to impress," said Dougherty analyst Andrea James via email, following the event. "The focus on safety is important and well done."
Starting at $132,000, the Model X is slated to compete with the likes of BMW (BAMXY) and the upcoming offerings from Rolls-Royce (RYCEY) , Bentley and other high-end auto manufacturers. Judging by initial reaction from the audience, the Model X is sure to give them a run for their money.
At a top speed of 155 mph, the P90D version of the Model X can go 250 miles on a single charge, going from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. Ludicrous Mode can go even faster, hitting the 60 mph mark in 3.2 seconds.
The Model X, for which deliveries started at the event to the first five buyers, is the first SUV that has a five-star safety rating in every category from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Musk stated. Appearing on stage in a suede tuxedo jacket with jeans, the South Africa-born Musk noted that in a typical gas-powered SUV the engine would be severely damaged in a frontal accident, but with the Model X that wouldn't happen.
In accordance, James said she "expect[s] to see strong demand for this vehicle."
"The Model X offers automatic emergency braking, and the side collision sensors will help avoid a side collision," Musk said on stage, talking up the safety features of the SUV.
Costing $142,000 for the Ludicrous Mode version of the 90D, the Model X is also the first SUV with a true HEPA filter, something Musk noted was "topical in light of recent events," referencing Volkswagen's (VLKAY) emissions scandal. As a result, Musk joked the vehicle could be used as a biodefense weapon, with laughter rising from the crowd. He then proceeded to show off an actual biodefense weapon button inside the vehicle, much to the surprise of the audience.
As with most SUVs, utility is just as important as style and aesthetic. Musk and his team appear to have fulfilled the dream of every parent, with third-row seat access at the the touch of a button, and the ability to tow more than 5,000 pounds with seven people inside and several pieces of luggage.
As with the P85D version of the Model S, the Model X has dual motors. The front motor has 259 horsepower and the rear motor sports 503 horsepower, for a whopping 762 total horsepower.
Aside from the safety features, which garnered significant applause, the loudest applause of the night went to the falcon-wing doors.
The doors, which open up thanks to double hinges, have built-in sensors that allow people to open the doors even if someone parks exceptionally close to you in a parking lot. Musk noted the company developed ultrasonic sensors that can see through metal.
Though the price tag of the Model X is sure to limit its appeal to prospective buyers, Musk and team have once again demonstrated the ability to deliver a far superior product than what is currently out there.