PALO ALTO, California — Initial customer deliveries of the 2016 Tesla Model X midsize electric SUV will start in the third quarter of 2015, Tesla Motors said on Wednesday in its 2014 shareholder letter.
In March, the California automaker will start building and testing a small fleet of "Release Candidate Model X vehicles that will be very close to the final production-intent design," Tesla said.
It added: "The results of initial Beta phase crash testing have given us confidence that Model X will live up to the very high safety standard set by Model S."
Tesla said it entered 2015 with over 10,000 orders for the Model S sedan and almost 20,000 reservations for the Model X. In February 2014, Edmunds put down a $40,000 deposit to purchase a Model X Signature Edition for its long-term test fleet.
"Since Model S and Model X will share the same dual motor powertrain, the introduction of All-Wheel Drive Dual Motor Model S helps reduce some of the risk that would otherwise have been associated with the launch and production ramp of Model X," Tesla said.
Pricing has not been announced on the Model X, but it is expected to start around $70,000.
Tesla told shareholders it expects to deliver about 55,000 Model S and X vehicles in 2015, representing more than a 70 percent increase over 2014 deliveries.
Tesla also updated the progress of its Gigafactory near Reno, Nevada. The plant is under construction with equipment installation slated for later this year for the start of battery pack production in 2016, in partnership with Panasonic.
Edmunds says: Car shoppers who have patiently waited for the Tesla Model X get a better idea of the timeline for launch.