SAN FRANCISCO (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Motors will begin deliveries of the Model X SUV in three to four months, keeping close to the timeline the electric carmaker laid out earlier this year, CEO Elon Musk said.
"The Model X will be a better SUV than the Model S is a sedan," Musk said Tuesday at Tesla's annual shareholders meeting in Mountain View, California.
Musk said he's been driving the latest prototype of the Model X, which Tesla first unveiled as a concept in February 2012 and previously sought to have ready by the end of 2014. More recently, Tesla told investors that initial deliveries to customers, several of whom have been waiting for more than three years, would begin late in the third quarter.
Audi has said it will launch an electric SUV in early 2018 that is seen as a rival to the Model X. Company sources said it will preview in concept form at the Frankfurt auto show in September. BMW also is working on plans for a battery-powered SUV to rival the Model X, a German business magazine reported last week.
Tesla, the smallest and youngest publicly held U.S. automaker is investing heavily in growth as it prepares to begin selling the Model X. Tesla is increasing production, building its battery factory east of Reno, Nevada, and diversifying beyond cars, with a suite of battery products for homes, businesses and utilities.
Crossovers are popular among female drivers, and in a January interview with Bloomberg, Musk said that the Model X is drawing more than half its orders from women. This is a contrast to the predominantly male customer base for its Model S sedan and the Roadster, which the company no longer sells.
Tesla is also working on the Model 3, an entry–level model to be released in 2017 with a starting price of roughly $35,000 (30,800 euros). In addition, the company is readying another software upgrade for the Model S, including so-called autopilot driver-assist technology, and "may be able to get it out to early-access customers by the end of this month," Musk said.