Tesla Model X: an electric car that can tow, too

The Tesla Model X won't go on sale for a while yet, but it may have a hidden talent: towing. While aftermarket hitch kits have been offered for other electric cars, the Tesla Model X will be the first one available with a factory-installed hitch.

David McNew/Reuters/File
The falcon wing rear doors of the Tesla Motors Model X electric vehicle are seen at its unveiling at the Tesla Design Studio in 2012. The crossover may be the first electric car available with factory-specified towing capability.

It may still be a while before the Tesla Model X electric crossover goes on sale, but we already know some details about it.

We know that it will share a platform with the current Model S sedan, and that its roof-hinged "falcon doors" will give soccer moms a shock.

However, it seems the Model X may have a hidden talent: towing.

While aftermarket hitch kits have been offered for other electric cars, the Model X will be the first one available with a factory-installed hitch.

In a letter to reservation holders posted on the Tesla Motors Club forum (via Clean Technica) regarding the recently-announced production delay, Tesla revealed that a tow hitch would be available on the Model X.

The optional hitch will also be able to hold ski and bike racks, Tesla said, without affecting its aerodynamics too much.

This may be the only option for external storage, as the Model X's unusual doors don't appear to leave room for a rack mounted on traditional roof rails.

Tesla said it is working with the "best rack and accessory companies" to have racks ready for Model X customers when deliveries of the electric vehicle begin.

Production of Model X units for customers won't begin until the third quarter of 2015. Announced in an earnings report last month, it's the latest of several delays to befall the Model X, which Tesla feels needs more time for testing.

The letter told reservation holders that Tesla is now building beta test vehicles, and plans to spend the beginning of 2015 "building and testing production-intent prototypes."

Anyone ordering a Model X now likely won't get their vehicle until well into calendar year 2016, Tesla said.

The company has yet to show a final version of the Model X.

But a recent retooling of its assembly plant in Fremont, California, included provisions for the beta and validation vehicles, as well as adding significant extra production capacity for larger overall volumes of electric cars.

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