I've been crazy busy at work the last few weeks, and I'm starting to come up for air. I totally forgot that yesterday was the launch date for the Tesla Model X, the SUV that's more or less based on the Model S. While the first cars were delivered yesterday, getting on the waiting list today will require you to wait almost a year.
The initial reservations are going to people who were content to spend a ton of money and get essentially all of the options, north of $130k. That's as "ludicrous" as the speed is, but I suppose if you're back logged almost a year, you can charge whatever you want. The going math is that the Model X will have the same pricing tiers and options as the Model S, for $5k more and without having a non-all-wheel-drive option. In theory, that means a starting price of $85k for a 70D, which is expensive, but not unreasonable for something that nice and technologically advanced.
The press is gushing about the damn falcon wing doors, which is fine I guess, but I think the bigger story here is simpler than that. They took the Model S and made more room inside, for 7 people, and now you can tow stuff. It's the safest SUV ever made, as in, no one else is even close. Oh, and it's still electric, which is Tesla's way of driving toward "sustainable transport." In the short term that means not burning fossil fuels in the car, in the long term it means being powered by the sun.
It's hard to see this car as something other than a toy for rich people, but keeping perspective, none of the people I know with the Model S are rich people. Sure, rich people buy these things, but there's a lot of enthusiasm for electric cars across a lot of segments of the population. The crazy stuff in the Model S and X is a blueprint for the future.
It's kind of funny to see Simon's perception of all this. At age 5, he lives in a house with a garage that has no tail pipes. Plugging in the car when you get home is his normal. He thinks a giant touch screen in the car is normal too (he keeps calling it the iPad). It's completely realistic that his first car will be electric.
The fun thing for me is that all of this technological excitement is also a great excuse for flag waving that we desperately need. The United States is anything but united, and people are living in fear and want to be victims of... something. But here we have a great American company changing the world. It almost doesn't matter if they're successful in the long run, with the future Model 3 and such. It's already clear they're pushing Detroit and the Germans in the right direction. Everyone wins.
It's an exciting time in automotive history.