You’ve got to hand it to Tesla - few companies can launch a new car with such a sense of occasion and fronted by such an enigmatic figure as Elon Musk.
The Tesla boss walked out on stage in California last night to the sound of rapturous applause, with the voice of one particularly happy soul shouting “we love you Elon” to the gathered crowd of journalists and soon to be Model X owners.
This was a different way of launching a car. Sure, we’d all seen the prototype version of the Model X in 2013, complete with its radical ‘falcon wing’ doors, but until Musk appeared on stage the technical specifications of the all-electric SUV were still a mystery, as was its final design. Usually, such features are drip-fed over months of design sketches, preview pictures and 'teaser' shots.
Interesting, too, was the presence of the six customers who had been first in line for the production-ready cars. They played their own part in the unveiling, with each invited up on stage to collect the keys to their own Model Xs.
Of course, it’s hard to ignore the context of launching a zero-emissions SUV just days after the Volkswagen emissions scandal engulfed the world’s press.
Musk laughed as he introduced the Model X’s HEPA filter, which provides “medical-grade” air to the car’s cabin, describing it as being “sort of topical”. He added: "We designed the car well before recent events. It just happens that recent events have illustrated the importance of air safety.”
Of course, we’ve yet to drive the Model X, but we’re prepared for the same revolutionary experience that came with the launch of the Model S, and the Roadster before that. In all truth, Tesla may just have reinvented the SUV.