The Model X Debut

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Early in 2013, I did a laudatory review of the Tesla Model S (at which time, if I had any sense, I would have loaded up on the then-$40 stock), and I continue to believe it is the best car I’ve ever had. Around the same time, I put $5,000 down to reserve my spot for the Tesla X SUV. This product has been delayed for a long, long time, but Elon Musk promised it would start shipping in “Q3 2015”. I cynically predicted he’d probably roll out one vehicle on September 30th, and I wasn’t too far off: he rolled it out the day before. That is, last night.

I got an invitation to the event, which was held at the Tesla Factory. It’s been many, many years since I’ve been to anything resembling a product intro, so I decided to go. I drove over the Dumbarton Bridge to Fremont, and I joined a fairly large crowd of other people who had also received invitations.


So we waited……….and waited………..and it got dark……


Then they finally let us in and, happily, there were unlimited free cocktails. I could get used to this!


And then, once again, we waited………and waited……….and it was obvious that, as with the Model X, things were “delayed.”


The event was supposed to start at 7;30, and it was getting close to 9. I was alone, but listening to other conversations, it was apparent to me people were running out of things to say to one another.


At long last, they let us into the room where the big event would be. At about 9 p.m., the loudspeaker announced “Mr. Elon Musk”, and he strolled on stage. I’ve got to tell you, he’s not the most fluid speaker on the planet, which surprised me. It seems I’m not the only one with this opinion.


He walked the audience through the car’s safety features, its rapid acceleration, its automatically-opening doors, and the air control. He proudly stated that the air filtration was so good, measurement equipment literally could not detect any pollen, bacteria, or viruses inside the vehicle. It is literally as clean as a hospital operating room, and in “Bio Weapon Defense System” mode (yes, I’m serious), you could literally just hop in your car and survive a terrorist attack.


The lengthy delay for the speech was somewhat irksome (although the free drinks helped pass the time), but some luminaries were pretty peeved.


Here’s a (not great quality) video I made for Musk demonstrating the car’s gimmicky gull-wings when parked between two other vehicles.

There’s no doubt that the Model X will be selling swiftly for a while, since there are already tens of thousands of people committed to doing so. The one and only topic Musk didn’t mention in his presentation was price (and no one bothered asking, since I guess this was a solidly upper-middle-class-or-above crowd) but there’s a finite number of people willing to spend six figures on a vehicle which, while spiffy, isn’t exactly gorgeous aesthetically, and it isn’t particularly large, either (I think the “SUV” moniker is stretching it a bit; it’s more like a somewhat bloated Model S).

I think Tesla’s product delays and high product prices are going to catch up with it, so I put on a small short position today. I’m looking forward to getting my X when it finally ships in a few months, but I don’t think this is the game-changer that the Model S was in 2012.