HE'S the brilliant genius who has almost single-handedly made electric cars cool.
Billionaire Paypal founder Elon Musk, who runs California car company Tesla, has launched the brand's third effort - the rather James Bond-villain sounding "Model X" - which joins Tesla's line-up of passenger vehicles that seem to defy logic.
Model X is a seven-seat SUV weighing 2.5-tonnes, offers boot space front and rear, has a range of 402km, zero emissions, a charge time of half an hour (at a Tesla supercharger station), and can tow 2300kg.
But an electric blanket will be quicker, right? Er, no. The Model X is good for 249kmh and sprints from 0-60mph (96kmh) in 3.8-seconds, or option Ludicrous Mode for US$10,000 and it'll do the dash in 3.2-seconds. That's Porsche 911 Turbo quick.
Based on Tesla's Model S sedan platform, the fully electric SUV has an electric motor over each axle fed by a 90kWh battery in the floor. The car revealed in California was the P90D Signature Edition, boasting 193kW and 330Nm for the front wheels and 375kW/648Nm at the rear, giving a combined 568kW/978Nm. Boom.
A ludicrously low drag coefficient of 0.24 (the lowest of any SUV produced) is talking point enough, until you see the rear doors.
Called "Falcon Wings", they're double-hinged, allowing them to open upwards then outwards. Sensors help stop them hitting the likes of garage ceilings. Other pub ammo includes a biohazard button which fills the cabin with "medical-grade air", a panoramic windscreen, apparently the largest single piece of glass ever used in a car, and advanced functions - including radar and sonar - to help bring Model X closer to autonomous operation.
And people want them. Tesla said there have been 25,000 pre-orders for Model X, which is priced at US$132,000 (AU$187,000) for the P90D Signature Edition, although a lower cost version will arrive in the future.
Tesla's Model X SUV is due to arrive in Australia in the second half of 2016. The electric revolution rolls on.
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