The all-electric Tesla Model X SUV has been delayed once again, with production now not due to start until the third-quarter of 2015.
During the company’s third-quarter earnings call, Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, told attendees that the company had decided to delay the Model X again, because although “it would be quite easy for us to make one, a handful of production units that are saleable and homologated … what really matters is at what point can we get to scale production of a really high quality car”.
He continued, “Just once you get into volume manufacturing there are just these statistically rare issues, but you really need to make a bunch of something in order to know that it’s there. We want to make sure we do that with the X, that’s really just a lesson we’ve learned [from the Model S].”
When asked if there was a specific cause behind the Model X’s delay, Musk replied, “There is no big thing, there are a whole bunch of little things”.
Musk did caution that even when the Model X starts trundling out of the company’s California factory, production ramp up may be slow. According to the CEO, much of the uncertainty is because “with the falcon wing door and the second row of seats and sort of a few other things, we’re adding some very new stuff to — that’s really not out there, that never really has existed in a way that was useful”.
To help increase the production rate of the Model S and, possibly, smooth the logistics of the Model X’s introduction, the company will reduce the options available on the Model S.
Tesla unveiled the Model X concept car back in 2012 and production was originally slated to start at the tail-end of 2013. The car has since been delayed a few times.
Although the company notched up record sales (7,785) and revenue, it lost US$74.7 million ($86.5 million) in the last quarter. This, according to Tesla, was due to the engineering costs related to the Model X, as well as the recently unveiled dual-motor all-wheel drive system and various autonomous driving technologies.