Fresh: Tesla Model X SUV


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For Model X reservation holders, the wait is almost over.

Drivers who reserved Tesla Motors’ next car — the Model X crossover SUV — have started receiving notices from the company allowing them to pick the paint colors and performance options of eagerly awaited electric vehicles.

Tesla plans to start deliveries by the end of this year’s third quarter — in other words, this month. And while the Palo Alto company has blown through previous timetables on the Model X, the “configuration” notices suggest production is finally at hand.

The notices, sent to reservation holders early Tuesday, also offer a few new glimpses of the car and details on its features.

For example, what Tesla calls “falcon wing” doors, which open upward instead of out, include sensors to ensure they don’t bang the garage ceiling. The rear has an accessory hitch for lugging bikes and ski carriers. Potential customers had raised questions about both issues, said Ben Kallo, a senior analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co.

“They still have some surprises, I am sure, which they will roll out in the next couple of weeks as they start the first deliveries,” he said.

The first wave of notices went out to drivers who had plunked down $40,000 to reserve the limited-edition Signature Model X, rather than drivers who paid $5,000 for a more standard version. Tesla drivers being a connected bunch, some of the reservation holders immediately posted online screen shots of Tesla’s vehicle configuration Web page, loaded with information on the car.

The Signature Model X starts at $132,000, before state and federal financial incentives are factored in. It boasts a 90 kilowatt-hour battery pack with an estimated range of 240 miles. Speed tops out at 155 mph, and it can reach 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. Pay an extra $10,000 to upgrade to “ludicrous speed,” and hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. Tesla has not yet announced the base price of a standard Model X.

The car features a retracting rear spoiler, parking sensors and power-folding side mirrors.

A $1,000 optional “subzero weather package” includes heated steering wheel, heated seats in all three rows, and a defroster for the windshield wipers. (While that may have limited application in Tesla’s home state, Norway has become one of the company’s biggest markets.)

There’s also a $750 towing package that includes a steel tow bar and software that compensates for swaying trailers.

David R. Baker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: Twitter: @DavidBakerSF





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