After a series of delays, Tesla has begun delivery of the updated Model X SUV being manufactured at the Gigafactory in Fremont, California. The updates to the Model X include a landscape-oriented display for the onboard computer’s monitor, a second screen in the back for passengers in the rear seats, and a rectangular steering yoke instead of a steering wheel.
Some followers of Tesla news did say that the new steering yoke may take some getting used to for drivers. Steering yokes are most commonly seen in aerospace-related applications and racecars. Although the yokes have been proposed for vehicles used on the road before, this is the first time a vehicle company has actually shipped vehicles with steering yokes to everyday drivers and car buyers.
Updates to the Model X exterior include a new battery pack, door handles and window trim that are now painted black instead of chrome, and updated front bumpers. The Plaid version of the Model X is capable of more than 1,000 horsepower and a 0-60 time of 2.5 seconds – a slight improvement over the original Ludicrous Mode introduced in the Model X and Model S in 2016, which could accelerate the vehicles from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds.
It also includes doors that open upward in a way that may be reminiscent of vintage DeLoreans, though at the time of writing, there have been no reports of someone having a time travel adventure involving their Model X.
Elon Musk had originally planned to start shipping updated versions of both the Model X and the Model S in February. Due to delays in preparations for producing them, the manufacturing of the updated Model S was delayed until June.
Elon Musk admitted during a first quarter earnings call in April that the company had experienced “more challenges than expected” in developing the updated versions. Many of the challenges involved supply chain issues and developing new production processes to successfully build the new versions.
Musk and Tesla like to control as much of the supply chain as possible, including assembling its own vehicle batteries, the consideration of acquiring a semiconductor chip manufacturing plant as a response to the worldwide chip shortage, and acquiring a claim on 10,000 acres of lithium clay deposits in Nevada. This attitude helped it secure two of the top three slots on Cars.com’s most recent list of most American-made car models.
However, it still relies on other suppliers for some parts and raw materials like nickel. It has been working toward sourcing most of its raw materials from countries like Canada and Australia that have strong environmental regulations for the mining industry.
Despite the delays in delivering the updated models, Tesla has set quarterly delivery records for three straight quarters so far this year. Tesla enthusiasts, who have developed a reputation for being very patient with delays in the ambitious timelines set by Elon Musk, seemed not too upset by having to wait for an updated Model X with a starting price of $100,000. They began picking up their Model X vehicles on Sunday.