PALO ALTO, California — Car shoppers who have their eye on the highly anticipated 2016 Tesla Model X midsize electric SUV may begin configuring their vehicles online as early as July, with deliveries expected to start late in the third quarter of 2015, Tesla Motors said on Wednesday.
"We are now building and testing release candidate Model X prototypes with increasing design maturity, and are pleased with the progress of this program," the automaker said in a May 6 shareholder letter. "These developments, along with our maturing production capabilities, boost our confidence in the launch and production ramp of Model X, which is on track for start of deliveries in late Q3."
Word of the Model X's progress came as Tesla's net losses tripled to $154 million in the first quarter of 2015. The automaker has embarked on an ambitious new battery business called Tesla Energy and is building a Gigafactory to make batteries with Panasonic.
"Steady construction progress continues at the Gigafactory, and together with Panasonic, we now expect to start complete battery manufacturing, from cells to modules to battery packs, in 2016," according to the shareholder letter.
Tesla said it expects to produce about 12,500 vehicles in the second quarter.
"We plan to deliver 10,000 to 11,000 vehicles in Q2, and we are still on track to deliver approximately 55,000 Model S and X cars in 2015," it said. "As part of our strategy to optimize operational efficiency while scaling for higher deliveries, we are shipping cars using less expensive rail, rather than by truck, to more regions in the United States and Canada.
"Also, we are now producing cars based on a uniform regional production mix throughout the quarter. This enables a more stable cadence of deliveries and in turn improves customer satisfaction while reducing cost. Both of these actions should lead to an increase of in-transit customer-configured finished goods inventory."
Edmunds says: The Tesla Model X edges ever closer to reality.