6 rivals for the 2015 Tesla Model X SUV

It seems strange to conjecture what rivals a new car might have nearly a year before it goes on sale, but the 2015 Tesla Model X SUV looks set to whip up such a storm that it’s probably worth investigating.

Before we go any further, however, know that this list does not include the Audi Q8 e-tron – a hotly anticipated electric SUV from the premium German automaker with enormous range. There simply isn’t enough concrete information on the car to speculate with any real certainly, other than the fact that it will be built. You can find more on that project here.

There is also the hydrogen-powered Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, which goes on sale shortly (with a decent lease deal) offering a zero emissions range of 300 miles, although here we’ve focused on battery-electric cars that can charge up anywhere.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently disclosed some new details on his company’s third car, but the upshot is that the Model X will seat seven and develop similar levels of power to the Model S sedan, all in addition to featuring four-wheel drive as standard.

It will likely start at around $70,000 with an EPA-rated electric range of at least 210 miles for the 60kWh version and 265 miles for the more expensive (think at least $80,000) 85kWh models.

As it stands the 2015 Tesla Model X won’t have a direct rival, as such, when it arrives. Nothing else either confirmed or in development, at least to our knowledge, will offer the same blend of performance and practicality while being powered purely by electricity. This is perhaps evidenced by the 13,000 reservations to date that Tesla has already taken for its upcoming SUV.

It means that while the prospective rivals below all the share the same general characteristics – a raised ride-height, space for families – as the Model X, under the skin they are subtly different. Most of them are plug-in hybrids, offering a small electric range and plenty of power, but without any range anxiety.

In descending order of availability, then, here are your real and anticipated 2015 Tesla Model X rivals.

1

Toyota RAV4 EV

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The Toyota RAV4 EV is closer to the Tesla Model X that you might think – its electric hardware is actually built by the Californian automaker. That said, the junior SUV only offers front-wheel drive and a 103-mile range, so it will fall far short of the Tesla in practical terms.  Given that the Tesla’s range will also be nearly three times as great as the RAV4 EV manages it’s no contest, even with the $25,000 premium the Model X will command.

Availability? On sale now in California

How much? $49,800

2

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid

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The Mitsubishi isn’t purely electric but it does come across as a brilliant proposition. It’s just gone on sale in the UK at the same price as the diesel Outlander – take a moment to digest that – and features a 32.5-mile electric range. Off-road ability is also commendable, if not on par with a Range Rover Hybrid, while interior dimensions are vast.

Availability? Expected during the first half of 2015

How much? Potentially as low as $40,000

3

BMW X5 eDrive

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While the first two cars on this list are already on sale somewhere in the world, the BMW X5 eDrive brings us into the realm of (mild) speculation. Fortunately, sales of the plug-in hybrid BMW SUV are a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’ – test mules have already been spotted. This car will be built and will match the Tesla for brand appeal. Electric range is modest, at 18 miles, although in typical BMW fashion the X5 eDrive’s performance will make up for it – expect similar numbers to the gasoline X5 xDrive35i.

Availability? On sale in Europe next year

How much? Similar to the XDrive40d in Europe, which translates to around $70,000

4

Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid

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If the plug-in hybrid version of the XC60 SUV is anything like the V60 PHEV we drove last year then it will fly out of dealerships. The diesel-electric drivetrain from the V60 will be reworked to run on gasoline for the US market and electric range will be limited to 35 miles. Like the V60, Volvo’s plug-in hybrid SUV will also be fast – the concept boasted 280hp. Expect an announcement from Volvo later this year.

Availability? Nothing yet, but they’d be mad not to build it

How much? North of $65,000

5

Porsche Cayenne Plug-in Hybrid

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Porsche hasn’t hinted at release dates or price for a plug-in hybrid version of the Cayenne SUV, but recent spy shots showing a prototype charging up mean it can’t be too far away. Porsche already has a plug-in hybrid drivetrain it can slot into the Cayenne, and performance will be similar to the Panamera S E-Hybrid. Expect around 20 miles of electric range and a 3.0-liter V6 gasoline engine helping to develop just under 420hp.

Availability? Almost certainly next year

How much? At least $90,000

6

Giugaro Clipper

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Italdesign Giugaro is an Italian coachbuilder headed by perhaps the most legendary car designer that ever lived, Giorgetto Giugiaro. The company unveiled a rakish pure electric family car at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, complete with a decent turn of pace, a striking design, and an electric range of 335 miles. It is, to all intents and purposes, a kindred spirit with the Tesla Model X. And why does any of this matter? Because Audi recently took over Italdesign Giugaro.

Availability? Er…

How much? Priceless for now, but potentially extremely competitive

Posted by Richard Lane

Richard is a London-based automotive journalist specialising in future mobility and sustainable design. Having fallen for cars because of the virtues of a particular German flat-six, it's what we'll all be driving next that now interests Richard most. Dream garage: Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior and a Detroit Electric SP:01.

  1. I’m so friggin’ tired of hybrids being compared to Tesla.

    18 mile on electric… after that, the battery & motor are dead weight for the whimpy gas engine to drag around.

    Two half-assed drivetrains add up to twice the complexity, higher cost, less space, bad performance, and one crappy car. Gimme a break.

    Reply

  2. There are no rivals to the Tesla X. Pure electric is battery electric. There’s no hybrid to it. Tanks and compressed gas or fuels burned or otherwise is a hybrid. When comparing a Tesla compare only to battery electric. Its already better than any hybrid or all ICE age vehicles. Inherently better!!!

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  3. I’m just starting me research into EVs. I’m interested in initial cost/lease and range.

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  4. Well….. hybrids aren’t EVs…. and you left out the Daimler I saw parked at Tesla Fremont..I think it is all EV… but it may not be on a dedicated chassis.
    And you really can’t count compliance cars, such as the RAV as they have already announced it will be pulled from the market.. so Tesla, Daimler and Audi, it is… At least ONE is Made-in-America!

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  5. Well….. hybrids aren’t EVs…. and you left out the Daimler I saw parked at Tesla Fremont..I think it is all EV… but it make not be on a dedicated chassis.
    And you really can’t count compliance cars, such as the RAV as they have already announced it will be pulled from the market.. so Tesla, Daimler and Audi, it is… At least ONE is Made-in-America!

    Reply

  6. Fantastic, the Tesla Model X plus 6 followers, and more announced since that news was posted (including best so far Audi TT OffRoad concept with 12KWH battery and 4 x Cyl ICE hence expected at a buyable price) and future Porsche Macan PHEV rumored for next year but still no no specs and a very high risk it follows the Panamera and Cayenne PHEV wrong positionning (Based on top of line ICE model, adding PHEV staff on top, with ridiculously too small “good for nothing” 100K€ prices where there are no customers left for PHEVs. But ut of all these models NOT 1 IS GOOD TO DO THE JOB of MAIN CAR replacement SUV PHEV.
    The Tesla model X is fantastic, set on best in class Ell Electric drive train, and with Tesla World record battery standards of 60 and 85KWH…But it will have no Range Extender again, so ypu could take yur familly on vacations with it too, as Tesla “radical” approach of pure BEVs will not tolerate any, even as option, or from a 3rd party…. So they will forget me here.
    Most of the others are set on old architecture, adding on top of the existing ICE architecture one or 2 x small Electric motors and a far too small battery that does not allow to do in “all electric mode” all my 65 to 100KM of daily local commutes, so a good 3000 x cycles battery can last at least 10 years with one charge per day, versus 5 years only with 2, or best 20 years if it could reach 30KWH and allow one charge every 2 x days. Here you have those taking the highest 6 x cyl Turbo engine as a starting point and ending well > 100K€ prices where there are no buyers for PHEVs. Then a few playig on 4 x cylinders only to try end with a decent price. But still not offerig a decent battery of at least 12 to 18KWH say 15KWH average to allow one charge per day… All except an Audi Concept decided to go with <10KWH WHY ? Did they make illegal agreements ?

    Reply

    1. Hi Pat,

      Who knows, although your conspiracy theory could have legs…

      None of these cars have been priced yet, however, so until then it’s difficult to know how the automakers will position PHEV models in their lineups.

      I wouldn’t take the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid as an example – look at Mitsubishi, which offers the Outlander PHEV in the UK for the same price as the top-spec diesel model.

      Thanks,

      Richard

      Reply

      1. @Rich Lane : I also found the Outlander extremely promissing on paper… Till I saw it for real at last Paris Motor Show…. and lost most of my interest for it. Sory but it’s too small for a decent SUV, and it’s not as sexy as the BMW X4/X5/X6 or Posche Macan, or Audi Q4/TT-OffRoad/Q5 I’m considering for my next PHEV SUV. They should have put that in a larger and more viril SUV formfactor…. Price and everything else is perfect… Just it’s not appealing to me. Sorry.
        I look forward to purchase the 1st “Mainstream PHEV SUV”, that I would define as a sexy German compact/sporty SUV form factor listed above, with at least 30KWH of battery, with dual Electric Motors that can provide a real German SUV performance in all Electric Mode, say total 200KW, with a 7C class battery capable to feed that amount of Instant Power when needed, then only a 4 x Cylinders ICE Range extender, as if I can do ALL ly local commutes in Full Electric mode as I dream to, and that represents 80% of my yearly milleage, and I only use the ICE engine for a few long week end trips and my yearly much longer vacations trips, then there’s no point to put 6 x cylinders or more in it. Then put a €60K starting price tag (Means price it as 4 x Cyl + PHEV = 6 x Cyl price if you take the example of the Porsche Macan)… And I buy one before middle of next year !

        Reply

  7. i thinks best model suv is ford 150…
    just my idea

    Reply

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