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Tesla unveils Model X all-electric SUV

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By Andrew Nusca at Smart Planet

Electric automaker Tesla Motors unveiled its third model last night in San Francisco, a long-awaited sport-utility vehicle that marks the company’s latest step toward mainstream America.

Using the same electric powertrain as the Model S full-size sedan introduced last year, the Model X is most definitely more “sport” than “utility,” with low ground clearance, a rakish profile, gullwing doors (Tesla calls them “falcon wings”) and a 0 to 60 m.p.h. time of less than five seconds.

Eat your heart out, Porsche Cayenne.

But it’s that electric powertrain that’s responsible for its most qualities: with the all-at-once-torque capabilities that electric motors offer, the vehicle may perform surprisingly well in inclement weather. (It comes with dual motor all wheel drive.)

Sixty and 85 KwH battery options will be offered.

My CNET colleague Martin LaMonica elaborates:

The key to Tesla’s cool design is the powertrain, built around a flat battery pack that extends from the front to rear wheels under the car. This provides a low center of gravity for good handling, but also allows for substantially more interior space than a vehicle with a transmission running under it.

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