Tesla debuts Model X SUV with DeLorean-style gullwing doors

Tesla has unveiled an electric SUV dubbed the Model X which is capable of driving for 250 miles between charges.

The $130,000 (£86,000) vehicle contains a 90 kWh battery and seating for seven passengers. Tesla says it is capable of accelerating from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds.

The new model incorporates ‘Falcon Wings’, doors that open vertically upwards to provide greater ease of access in tight parking spaces. Known as gullwing doors within the automotive industry, these also famously featured on the DeLorean DMC-12, which itself became something of a cult car following its appearance in the 1985 film Back To The Future.

The Tesla Model X design has numerous safety features, including a low centre of gravity to prevent rollovers and an impact-absorbing “crumple zone” located in the area normally designated for the petrol engine, which also acts as a boot.

The car continually scans the surrounding roadway with camera, radar and sonar systems, providing the driver with real-time feedback to avoid collisions.

Tesla says the Model X is capable of automatically applying brakes in an emergency even when travelling at motorway speeds.

An over-the-air update is expected in the coming months that will allow the car to drive automatically on America’s freeways with no input from the user. The update is also expected to be loaded onto the company’s earlier Model S sedans.

The BBC reports that the firm's chief executive Elon Musk said the car had been difficult to engineer and some of the components had required more effort than originally expected.

"I think we got a little carried away with the X,” he said. "There is far more there than is really necessary to sell a car. And some of the things are so difficult, they make the car better but the difficulty of engineering those parts is so high."

Musk’s comments follow a two-year delay in the release of the car, which was demoed in public for the first time back in 2012.

At the launch event, six customers were handed the keys to the vehicle as the firm said that 25,000 people had pre-ordered the Model X.

Customers who are only just planning to reserve the car will have a long wait, with new deliveries not expected until the latter half of 2016.

Earlier this year, Musk admitted that the company had yet to make a profit and may not do so until 2020.

The company is expecting to release another vehicle in 2017, the Model III, which is intended to be more affordable at a rumoured price of £30,000.

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