On the heels of its electrified Model S winning the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year, Tesla Motors today revealed its prototype Model X here today at the 2013 North American International Auto Show.
“We were here a year ago and had beta cars,” said George Blankenship, Tesla vice president of worldwide sales and ownership experience. “From a small company like ours that is just starting out in the business [we’ve come a long way].”
What did California-based Tesla do in 2012? Besides winning the Motor Trend award, it opened 13 stores in North America and another 10 globally. It logged 1.6 million visitors (in the 19 stores that track visitors) in the fourth quarter of last year. It expanded its international presence by holding a press event in Germany and opening a European distribution center in November.
Plans for this year include adding 25 new stores – half of them in North America. Tesla also will open its first store in China. Blankenship said service is a top priority. “We’ll be opening more new service centers than stores. We want customers to enjoy getting serviced,” Blankenship said. A perk for Tesla service customers is having their car delivered to their house after service.
“Our goal is to accelerate electric vehicles,” he said, adding Tesla plans to offer a lower-priced vehicle at $30,000. “It’s all about getting people to drive electric.” Tesla builds its cars in California.
Also on the horizon is “supercharging” stations all over North America where Tesla owners can “pull up and plug in” for free. The idea is to take away every obstacle to driving electric, Blankenship said. “That is how you get people to accept your technology.”
Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla chief designer, touted the features of the prototype Model X. “It’s uncompromised in design, performance and energy efficiency.”
The Model X features a “falcon” wing door, which provides easy access to the second and third rows. It also has a trunk in the front and back of the car.
“Our goal is to rid the world fossil fuel,” von Holzhausen said.