Tesla Motors won’t sell the first Model S – the electric sedan it is making at its auto factory in Fremont – until later this year, but the company has already announced plans to expand production by offering the Model X, a sport-utility vehicle.
The Palo Alto-based maker of electric vehicles unveiled the SUV, which looks more like a crossover than a traditional utility, at its Los Angeles design studios Thursday.
Tesla plans to start manufacturing the vehicle at the end of 2013 with sales to begin the following year.
The Model X will seat seven adults in three rows of seats, the automaker said. It will feature Tesla’s flat battery pack, positioned on the underside of the vehicle. That clears space in the cabin and also allows for a second trunk under the hood.
Telsa also is introducing what it calls “falcon wing” doors - they open up and outward - in the vehicle. It says these will allow an adult to stand in the middle row and allow for the convenient positioning of a child seat.
Tesla did not provide a price for the Model X except to say that it will be competitive with other upscale SUVs.
The automaker will start to produce its Model S electric sedan in July. It says it will make about 5,000 of the cars by the end of the year and has orders for more than that amount. The price of the Model S ranges from $49,900 to $97,900 depending on its range and options.