Electrifying as Model X marks the spot

Tesla Motors, the electric sports car company backed by Silicon Valley tycoons including Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, has unveiled its battery-powered Model X.

The family-sized vehicle with DeLorean-style gull-wing doors accelerates at 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds – faster than a Porsche 911.

Tesla yesterday opened its books for reservations for the car, which founder Elon Musk describes as "kind of the killer app for families". It will go on sale for about $60,000 (£38,000).

Tesla's shares are trading above $30, way up on their June 2010 flotation price of $17. The flotation helped ease the cashflow problems that plagued the launch of its first product, the Roadster.

While it remains tiny by US car company standards, Tesla has created a popular buzz and stirred the likes of Chevrolet to launch their own plug-in models. However, sales of such cars as the Chevrolet Volt have been relatively disappointing.