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Tesla (TM) Model X tougher to design than previous model, says CEO

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Andrew Kelly/Reuters/File

(Read caption) Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk said his company's next vehicle was a "difficult second album" due to delays in production. Regardless, the company may already have as many as 13,000 reservations across the world for the upcoming Model X, with over 10,000 in the U.S. alone.

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If the Roadster was Tesla's early gigging days and the Model S the debut release from a hot new band, the Model X crossover could be considered Tesla's 'difficult second album'.

Elon Musk has even hinted so himself, suggesting the car presents "a harder design problem than the Model S".

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According to Bloomberg (via Charged EVs), Musk blames himself for some of the delays the Model X is undergoing ahead of its production and sales in 2015--a date pushed back from original estimates.

"I'm somewhat of a perfectionist" he says, vocalizing the struggle to make something that's normally a bit brash and lumbering--an SUV--both attractive and functional.

As a result, Tesla isn't rushing into Model X production, nor revealing its final form until the company is truly happy with it. That's possibly why there was no Model X--not even a prototype--on Tesla's stand at Geneva.

Musk also noted that Model X delays have been partly down to ensuring the Model S was delivered with excellent service "in all geographies". Rolling the car out into Europe and into Eastern markets has occupied quite a lot of the company's time/

The good news for those who enthused about the prototype Model X is that the production car should be even better.

"I really am quite insistent that the production version be superior to anything we’ve demonstrated before," Musk told Bloomberg.

Tesla certainly needs to get the Model X right, with Musk suggesting demand for the car may even be above that of the Model S. Recent figures suggest the Model X may already have as many as 13,000 reservations across the world, with over 10,000 in the U.S. alone.

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Autonomous vehicles are also taking up Tesla's time right now, and are potentially only a few years away, according to Musk.

He says Tesla has possibly "the strongest autonomous driving team of any auto company", and expects to be one of the first companies to offer significant autonomous driving functions in its vehicles.

Delays in the Model X shouldn't affect the timetable for the smaller, more affordable Model E though. In part, Musk says cars like the Model X will help generate extra cash flow before the Model E, which he considers the company's third-generation model.

That's if the Model E isn't also pushed back by Musk's perfectionism, of course...


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