By Drew Johnson
Friday, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 4:55 pm
 

Electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors has been awarded a $10 million grant from the state of California to build its upcoming Model X crossover. The Model X is scheduled to begin production at Tesla's Fremont, California, plant sometime in late 2013.

Per the terms of the California Energy Commission grant, Tesla will also kick in $50 million. That money will be used to ready the Fremont plant for Model X production as well as purchase equipment to make components for the all-electric utility vehicle.

The project is expected to create 700 new jobs.

"Tesla has the unique distinction of being the only automaker to actually ask us to increase our targets under zero emission rules," Ryan McCarthy, the science and technology policy advisor to the chair of the California Air Resources Board, told Forbes. "I think the Model X is going to be the next embodiment of delivering on that unique vision and capability."

The Model X will be Tesla's third model line - following the Roadster and the Model S sedan - which the company says is a testament to its commitment to the mainstream electric vehicle.

"Too often we're portrayed in the press as only producing an electric sports car," Mike Taylor, Tesla's vice president of finance, told the commissioners. "I think that misses the point of what Tesla Motors is trying to do and why it's important for California. Our mission has always been to aggressively promote electric vehicles for the masses."

Despite that mission, the Model X won't likely be the vehicle to bring the electric vehicle to masses. The crossover will carry a base price of $57,400, with top-spec model listing for nearly $90,000.