In a letter to shareholders published yesterday evening, Tesla confirmed that the hotly anticipated Model X will, in fact, launch in September. While there were already rumors pointing to a September launch floating around the web, it’s reassuring to hear the news directly from Tesla given the company’s history of perpetually pushing back launch dates.
The pertinent portion of the shareholder letter reads as follows:
As we prepare to launch Model X in September, we are building more validation vehicles, executing final engineering and testing work, enabling our new manufacturing equipment and finalizing arrangements with our suppliers. We have been producing release candidate Model X bodies in our new body shop equipped with more than 500 robots as we fine-tune and validate our production processes.
This is certainly welcome news for eager Model X buyers who have been looking forward to Tesla’s crossover SUV for some time now. If you recall, the first release window for the Model X was scheduled to begin in 2014.
Subsequently, that window kept on getting pushed back for two main reasons. First, Tesla wanted to focus on improving the Model S while simultaneously expanding the vehicle’s availability across the globe. Second, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on a few occasions that designing the Model X was fraught with engineering challenges, with the vehicle’s falcon wing doors reportedly being the most difficult feature to completely nail down.
“It would be quite easy to make a handful of production units [of the Model X] but that doesn’t really move the needle,” Musk said late last November. “The question is at what point can we scale production to make a good quality car… It’s hard to get there. It’s hard to engineer and it’s hard to produce.”
Musk of course later added that the Model X is going to be “something quite special.”
Keep in mind, though, that while deliveries of the Model X will finally begin in September, the long waiting list for Tesla’s electric SUV effectively means that if you put in an order for the Model X today, the order won’t be fulfilled until 2016.
As it stand today, it’s believed that Tesla already has upwards of 24,000 Model X reservations. In contrast, Tesla’s Model S during the same point in its own production schedule had approximately 12,000 reservations. This sizable boost in demand can likely be attributed to a few factors. First, the Tesla brand, on account of the successful Model S, is much more widely known today than it was in 2012.
Second, Tesla’s supercharger network is much more extensive than it was even 12 months ago. Third, an SUV, for many consumers, is much more appealing and practical than a sedan.
Looking ahead, Tesla will be operating at full throttle over the next few months. In addition to the impending Model X release, Tesla will continue building out its Gigafactory in Nevada. What’s more, Tesla also indicated yesterday that it finally plans to unveil the more pocketbook-friendly Model 3 in early 2016 ahead of a release window in late 2017.