As the Los Angeles Times reports, Tesla has committed to paying back its Department of Energy loans by the end of 2017, some five years ahead of schedule. If that was the good news in Tesla’s 10K filing, here’s the bad news: the eagerly anticipated Model X crossover won’t start production until late 2014.
That’s a fairly substantial delay, as production had been slated to begin in late 2013, with initial customer deliveries beginning in early 2014. Blame it on increased demand for the Model S sedan: as the company ramps up Model S production to meet growing sales, something else has to give.
Tesla showed off the Model X’s interior at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, and it claims to have booked over $40 million in advanced Model X sales. The crossover sports unique “Falcon wing” doors that permit easy access to rear seats, giving it better functionality than more conventional designs.
Though based on the Model S platform (with 60 kHh and 85 kWh battery pack options), it’s believed the Model X will also come in an all-wheel drive version to appeal to buyers in snow belt states. It’s unclear how much of a reduction in range all-wheel drive will deliver, or how much extra the additional peace of mind will cost.
If Tesla is truly sitting on $40 million worth of advanced bookings for the Model X crossover, we can’t imagine the prospective buyers will be too happy hearing that delivery will take another 10 or 12 months. Frankly, we’re wondering how many of those customers will shop elsewhere for an environmentally-conscious crossover.