Tesla Remains Tight-Lipped on Model X Delays

Feb 10, 2015 05:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Tesla, whose fourth-quarter and full-year earnings are scheduled for release on Wednesday night, has become increasingly secretive when it comes to sales reports. Delays in production for its upcoming Model X are apparently no different.

"We continue to develop Model X and prepare for production," Khobi Brooklyn, Tesla's global communications director, wrote in a statement to Green Car Reports. "We are currently testing our Model X beta vehicles and on track for a Q3 launch."

Green Car Reports has a breakdown of three reasons based on "informed speculation" as to why the Model X has been delayed several times. The electric sport-utility vehicle was initially slated for late 2013; it is now expected to be available in about six months, but Tesla still hasn't shown a final production version of the highly anticipated vehicle.

1. Federal Regulators

Tesla is believed to be aiming for a 250-mile battery range for the Model X and was reportedly looking to remove the SUV's door mirrors and replace them with video cameras; however, using cameras instead of door mirrors has not yet been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Even a best-case scenario would not see NHTSA approval until the third quarter of the year, so Tesla may be working overtime to eke out as much battery range as possible.

2. Falcon Doors and Safety

The Model X has hinged falcon doors that lift to let out passengers, something that could complicate safety matters. If Tesla wants the new SUV to earn high safety ratings the way the Model S did, the "falcon doors themselves must contain strong beams that interlock into the rest of the body structure when the door is closed, to protect occupants in a side impact," said Green Car Reports.

3. Towing Stamina

A particular challenge for the Tesla Model X is being able to tow a trailer with motorcycles or a watercraft, something that SUV customers would likely expect. No existing plug-in model has this kind of towing capability. 

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