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Tesla launches Model X electric SUV in Hong Kong

Tesla on Wednesday launched its latest Model X electric sport utility vehicle in Hong Kong, the company’s second widely available car to be released in the city after the hugely successful Model S sedan.

The Model X, which the company is marketing as a family-friendly electric vehicle, comes with signature falcon-wing doors that allow direct access to the second and third row of seats. The Model X requires only 30 cm of space on either side of the vehicle to open its doors, and seats a total of seven people.

Isabel Fan, regional director for Tesla Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, said that the Model X provides Hongkongers with more options when it comes to choosing a sustainable form of transport.

“Tesla is committed to bringing new technology to users and improving the air conditions of Hong Kong by providing environmentally friendly electric vehicles,” Fan said.

The Model X can accelerate from stationary to 100 kilometres per hour in just 3.1 seconds, a fraction slower than the Model S, which can do it in 3 seconds in “Ludicrous” mode.

Drivers who are conscious about breathing in cleaner air will be happy to find the car comes with a functional duct that pushes air through a HEPA filter system.

Prices for the Model X start at HK$610,200, and deliveries for Hong Kong will begin in late 2016 or early 2017, according to the company.

“Tesla is driven by a single mission, to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. This is behind everything that Tesla is doing,” Robin Ren, vice president of Asia-Pacific at Tesla Motors, said at the launch.

Hong Kong is one of Tesla’s most successful markets, thanks to a government waiver which exempts electric vehicle (EV) owners from paying the first registration tax on their car.

First registration tax on a HK$500,000 motor vehicle, for example, costs upwards of HK$300,000. The waiver on electric vehicles, which will last till the end of March 2017, has helped to make Tesla vehicles much more affordable to Hongkongers.

The Model S sedan, which was first launched in Hong Kong in 2014, quickly rose to become the top-selling sedan in the city last year.

In 2015, Tesla sold 2,221 Model S sedans in Hong Kong, prompting chief executive Elon Musk to call Hong Kong a “beacon city for electric vehicles”. Musk said he hoped the city would serve as a role model for the rest of the world for the adoption of electric vehicles.

In September, Tesla opened its largest service centre globally in Hong Kong to provide a range of services for owners, including tyre rotation, alignment checks and battery coolant replacements. Located in Tsuen Wan, the centre is scheduled for completion in the first half of next year and will cover an area of 100,000 square feet.

Tesla in April also unveiled its mass-market Model 3, which it claims will cost about US$35,000 (HK$271,490). Deliveries in North America are due at the end of 2017, while buyers in Hong Kong and China may have to wait until the following year for their vehicles.