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Design Issues

Just recently saw the X concept and I am not impressed. The first thing they focused on their presentation are the falcon doors.

1) The biggest question regarding safety issue in a scenario where a vehicle flips and lands upside down. Lets say there is a fire on the front end or the front doors are jammed, how will rear passengers open their doors to escape?

2) Some exotic cars have gullwing doors, but are not driven all season. This X is marketed as an SUV, so it will be driven all year round. In a scenario where there are lots of snow on the roof, when you open the falcon doors, the snow will go crashing down like an avalanche through the door sill in the middle. It will be inconvenient to constantly be reaching up to clearing snow off the roof top, especially for shorter people.

3) The rear 3rd row seats are too tight for someone large to enter/ exit without 2nd row folding seats. These are some of the concerns I have about the X concept design.

4) Dash looks the same as Model S. I was hoping they change the styling to distinguish it apart from the S. Just a thought.

I'm with you. I was hoping for a more functional SUV that I can take into the mountains, not to just drive my kids around the city in.

There is no question that falcon doors are 'neat', but the snow issue, the safety issue and the fact that I'd like to put a box on the roof, are all non-starters.

Elon says you can take this thing to Tahoe...well perhaps, but certainly not to ski...where would one put the skiis and other outdoor equipment.

Unfortunate. I see this as a big miss.

Might TM have the nerve to admit they were wrong about the falcon wings and eliminate them? Maybe Detroit is a better place to design an suv than California.

As the disappointing evolution of the S concept to production model showed, it is the engineers that are in charge at Tesla (and impressive engineers they are). The designers are left to gimmicks like the Falcon Doors. Not a bad design, but lacking the seductive magic of the concept S. Somehow I was hoping to see those signature blue light tubes in the headlights and side badge reappear. Like the S, the grill looks like an unappetizing sports mouth guard to me.

First thought on the big touch screen was that they had made it removable and behind it was the "base option" of sensuous tactile knobs and buttons for those of us who love Tesla but aren't in to death by driver distraction.

I am a huge supporter of Tesla. I own its stock, and I am an early reservation holder for the Model S, which I'll be getting later this year.

I had hoped that the Model X would be the car my wife would want, as she currently drives a Lexus RX. She went to bed after the failed streaming launch (I can hear the spin from Tesla on this tomorrow - "unprecedented demand and interest in our Model X caused blah blah blah") but I can tell you, the falcon wing doors are a non-starter. I am sure they'll sell some of these in places like L.A. and Miami, but Tesla engineers are apparently quite oblivious to the climate in most of the U.S. and the intended use of an SUV.

I'd love to see an animated picture showing what happens to the doors when you try to open them with two feet of snow on the roof. (And for any Tesla people who might read this and say, "but how often does that happen?" I can tell you that, here in Denver, the most recent time was last Friday. Then there was another half-foot on Tuesday. And if I had the temerity to actually take this SUV to the mountains, you can double the frequency and snow depth we get in town.)

Even if the doors open without warping the hinges or damaging the door and the roof, there is a second physics issue alluded to, and that is gravity - that snow, which becomes ice or water, needs to come down. And it will, right into the cabin of this SUV and on to the entering and exiting occupants.

And, as has been pointed out above, the top of the car is where people put their skis, snowboards, and bicycles. Not likely here. Some one should have done some market research with existing owners of SUVs.

It's too bad, because it's a great-looking vehicle. I have to hope they'll scrap the very silly door idea.

One of the blogs briefly mentioned the emergency escape issue with the Falcon doors. Apparently the hinge in the middle could be released in an emergency situation to provide a different means of escape. It mentioned the design as being a little less radical than Mercedes explosive bolts for their gull wing doors.

The snow issue is a good point, but it is hard to really understand how much of a problem it is without seeing the doors closer. I don't see the snow tumbling down in the middle as the tilt of the roof panels will direct that snow away from the opening. I do see that if the snow is in a nice undisturbed layer after being parked in a snowfall then as the sections tilt up they will shear the snow and depending on how it falls and how much of a drainage channel is along the side of the gap some might tumble in from the sides of the door, though.

The 3rd row accessibility is now depicted by a graphic on their Model X page that shows the 2nd row seat slid forward. It looks much much easier to navigate than getting in to the back seat of a 2-door coupe because of the more upright position. I've never owned a minivan, but the few times I've ridden in one there was a lot of awkward climbing to get in the 3rd row - probably a bit more than would be involved here.

Finally, for skis you might be able to run them along the flat floor. Many of the press pictures showed a large gap under the 2nd row seats that left a lot of room for passing long items through...

How about "optional"? Falcon wings for those who want a sedan-crossover, and doors for those who want an SUV-crossover.

OK, the teslamotors.com/modelx page now has lotsa details. E.g., the dual motor AWD is optional; there's a RWD version with one motor. And the batteries are 60 or 85 kwh.

There's a little "draggable" falcon door pic; made me wonder if you could drive with the doors half-open for extra lift!
;)

Oh, it's also stated that prices would be similar to those of a comparably equipped Model S. Wonder how that translates with the dual-motor configurations.

There's also some interesting wording, "our current vision for this ground-breaking vehicle". Sounds like the doors might be negotiable?!

Eyeballing the drag-and-flap animation, it looks like they require only about 6" clearance each side to lift. But probably 18" vertical inside a garage at full cock.

No hints or info about the console/front-seat-gap area. Don't remember getting much of a glimpse on the presentation video, either.

And no X Design Studio or full spec listing yet.

Falcon doors prevent things put to roof, so that's a bit disappointing. That photoshopped picture about that touch screen looks like it is now even bigger, which is just plain ugly. 15 inch screen would be more than enough. Drivers really don't need the distraction. Front end needs redesign.

Compared to Model S this is a big disappointment. More cool than functional, so not a big seller for people needing a SUV (those that really need SUV buy different brand, and those that don't buy an S).

Missed the webcast I didn't see the real dash, but based on the picture it looks like X got even bigger screen, which is just plain stupid, 15 inch screen is more than enough for all the needed functions, and would blend in the design more nicely. It also works as distraction just like RobQ says, if you can't have tangible knobs and switches to feel (looking away from the street is dangerous. Really dangerous). I hope all the necessary controls you need during driving are in the steering wheel or stalks behind it (this applies to Model S too).

Looks like the screen base now curves into the dash, with a knee-rest spot.
And the steering wheel is oval, which is interesting!

For those in snowy climes, might there be a subtle heating element keeping the roofline a few degrees above 0 celsius to avoid any accumulation? They'd have to design some adequate water gutters no doubt...maybe copper?

As far as the quibs about hauling skis, etc. above, I think that's a small affected demographic, e.g. Denver. There are skis that fold in half for transport right ? Nevertheless, around Chicago the only material I see people haul on SUV roofs are mattresses.

@Peak Oil For those in snowy climes, might there be a subtle heating element keeping the roofline a few degrees above 0 celsius to avoid any accumulation?

That would be one huge energy eater. Trying to keep -20 - -30C (or -40+ as it turns out this winter) to +0 with decent wind and snow coming all day would eat your battery quite fast. Or get yourself a huge energy bill.

The roof rack issue is not a small demographic for an SUV. Look at the ones on the road now. Virtually all have built in racks. Of course the issue is easily solved with a trailer hitch rack system. I have one for my wife's car because she is not tall enough to get her skis and bike on and off the roof. It works great.

Like ronlitvak I'm a stock holder and Model S reservation holder, but Model X is a bit fat fail for me. The falcon doors are ugly as well as having the problems listed above. The 17" screen looks like a bolted-on after thought. Overall the Model X seems like it was designed by a back-room engineer rather than a designer.

Had such high hopes for Model X. V. V. Disappointed.

You guys are a tough group! Until I actually see the car and the doors in action in person I'm going to reserve judgement. As far as the ski racks are concerned, I'm sure minds more nimble than mine will be able to design double decker racks or something similar to carry all the skis we would normally carry.

If there is a big snowfall the first thing I do is brush off the windshields, side windows, etc so I can't imagine a couple extra swipes along the rooflines being a big deal if that is indeed an issue.

I personally like the idea that a company is pushing the envelope on design and trying to bring innovation to a field that has been boring over the past few years. I'm talking about the big box SUV's which all look pretty much the same.

There is nearly two years between last night's unveiling and the first deliveries. Lets watch the Model X evolve!

John
S Sig 998

Wife stayed up to watch the event with me. She was actually considering Model X. She currently loves her Pilot.

With the failed streaming, she found pics on NY Times. Didn't like it and by the time the web site recovered, wasn't interested enough to watch the video.

I'm concerned as a stock holder.

Looks like a lot of people didn't get enough sleep last night. Frankly I'm surprised by the anything-new-and-different-is-bad-and-won't-work comments. These are the kinds of things we hear from the anti EV crowd.
I like the X and expect it will sell well. As far as snow goes, most modern car doors curve into the body at the top. If you open them without brushing the snow away, they dump snow into your car. It looks to me like this would be less of a problem with the falcon doors. Either way, you can't blame the car if you don't remove the snow. The falcon doors will also protect a parent who is strapping in an child from rain. I suspect Tesla will have both a ski rack that fits between the open falcon doors and a generous between the seats ski solution by production time.

"between the open falcon doors" is about three inches. Not much space for a rack there. You need other solution for that kind of activity.

I was expecting a bit more functional car, instead I got a very big city toy, kind of blown up version of Roadster, that is why I'm disappointed.

Also it just feels wrong for Tesla to sell SUV. That's like Jaguar selling Land Rover. Imago suffers.

Also it just feels wrong for Tesla to sell SUV. (Timo)

I disagree. Tesla wants to change the industry, not the Roadster niche. You could as well say it feels wrong for Tesla to sell a sedan.

BMW's image did not suffer when they invented segment after segment (X5 was first real SUV, X6 was first performance cross-over). And Audi's image did not suffer when they followed suit (Q7 after X5, A7 after CLS). Offering a Q7 works great with A6 and R8 in the same portfolio, as does offering an X6 with 5series and Z4 all under the same brand. Even the Cayenne worked for Porsche. No problem as long as they are all built to comparable standards. Selling a Ford C-Max under the BMW, Audi or Porsche brand would probably hurt that brand -- but that's not the case here with the Model X.

Johns258 says "you guys are a tough group". Hardly. Those of us who are here are almost universally supporters of and emissaries for Tesla. I know I am. If you think this is a tough crowd, wait until Tesla tries to sell a $70,000-$90,000 vehicle to someone. That's the group that counts, and this morning, over a million shares have traded Tesla's stock down by over 5%. That's people voting with their money.

And Thumper's comment ("surprised by the anything-new-and-different-is-bad-and-won't-work" statements) is interesting: falcon-wing doors are anything but new. They've been tried in vehicles for over 50 years. (I'm remembering the deLorean; those better versed in automobile history will have other examples that go back to at least the 1950s.) As cool as they may look, there are very good reasons they have never caught on. And I recognize the response: "Well, Ron, electric vehicles have never caught on, either, but you've bet the time is ripe for them now." Yes, I have. There has been sufficient fundamental progress in battery capacities and cost to bring EVs to market, at least at the luxury end of the market. There has been no change to falcon-wing door technology.

I won't dignify the remarks anyone makes that imply it's the consumer's own darn fault if they don't sweep all the snow off the top of their vehicle. That just reflects a lack of understanding of the American consumer.

I'm with Brianh: Tesla needs to make the falcon-wings optional and put the hinges where they belong for the rest of America. My guess is standard doors would outsell falcon-wings by 10 to 1.

First off I agree with John 258's comment "tough group" and how to deal with the snow "a couple extra swipes". I live in vermont so have plenty of experience with snow. It also seems the preheating routine of the car could add some defrost to the roof/doors and this would alleviate any issue with doors being frozen shut (hopefully). In terms of skis and snowboards, I agree with whoever suggested using the tow hitch to attach a rack to the back. That is how I do with my current suv. It swings out of the way when I need to get to the luggage in the back. There is no need for a box up top because this car has loads of storage even with 7 adults and even more of course with 5 or less.

The utility of this vehicle is insane: 7 adults plus ample luggage, AWD, clearance, low center of gravity, and all electric going from 0-60 in less than 5 seconds! For me this a dream car come true. I wish it were cheaper and sooner, but at least it does not cost more than the S. Also it will have the advantage of a 1.5 years of testing and improving the model s platform which the x is built upon. For me the utility far outweighs the compromises. I am singing up today.

@ronlitvak - today is a perfect example of "buy on rumor and sell on news". An excellent opportunity to take profits after the big runup over tbe past few weeks. Plus the entire market is under pressure thanks to our friends in Euroland.The big answer will be after a few days and we get to see a tally on how many reservations have been made.

And you certainly don't have to dignify any remarks!

Having strapped numerous small children into those Impossible to use safety seats, I welcome anything that makes it a whole lot easier to get the toddlers safe and sound!

I think the model X is going to be the most beautiful CUV/SUV on the road. My only criticism is the 17 inch screen sticking above the dashboard. If I needed a vehicle to carry seven people and their luggage, I would have reserved by now. The model X is perfect for young families, hotels/motels that offer shuttle service and car rental companies.

My model S will more than satisfy my needs. I am looking forward to driving it. My wife is waiting for Tesla's $30k car.

Although I like the falcon doors, I'm not sure I get the comment that they're "functional first". They're only 10% wider than the front doors, and it seems like the top cutout could have been accomodated by a door that swings laterally as well. I don't understand what was functionally compelling that drove the falcon design.

I think the X is a smart looking car and appears to push the envelope in terms of technology and functionality. I'm not sure what people were expecting, but I personally think expectations appear to have been unreachable. Many out there seem like they would have only been happy if Elon trotted out a flying car. It's just a beta (or is it still an alpha?). Give it and TM some time. I bet you'll come around. The X will only get better. For me, the S is still the best fit. 10 years ago, with younger kids, I would have been all over the X.

If I read the website currently, this will be priced the same as a similarly priced model s. Well since the base car is a 60kwh battery, that makes the entry level price 67k, and by the time this delivers, here is no certainty of the 7k tax credit. I don't know about most of you, but 60k for the model s was at least 50% more than I would normally spend on a car. Tough to see spending 130-140k every 6 or 7 years for my wife and my two cars....

You only will have two feet of snow on the roof if you leave it outide. When that happens to me in my current sedan, if I need to access the trunk, then I brush off the snow. Even for opening the doors, I brush away the snow around the top of the door frame so that snow doesn't fall in.

I realize that the X is tall so maybe brushing off the top will be hard, but surely, the doors and roof are designed so that water doesn't spill inside when the car is wet. Maybe this will address smaller amounts of snow as well.

A heating element for keeping the rear window clear does not draw much power. A heating element for the roof does not have to run all the time. You will be able to use your phone to tell the car to warm things up 30 minutes or more ahead of time. If the roof pitches away and down a little heat and a large snow collection will slide off before it all has to be melted.

As far as driving your car around with 1 to 2 feet of snow on top. I think that should be illegal and in some states it technically is. We do not get large amounts of snow fall in my area but when we do and my car happened to be outside I clear the entire car. I've seen two accidents on the highway caused by snow/ice sheets flying off the top of a car and causing everyone behind the driver to swirve. The second time the other vehicles windshield was shattered. Of coarse the driver of the SUV had no clue and just kept on driving.

I agree that most Americans like to pile stuff on top of their roofs when they are traveling. That is typically because there is no room inside. I have a pod for my current car for long road trips, back when gas was cheap enough to make long road trips. I will wait and see what Tesla's answer is for storage outside the vehicle. I know I HATE trying to get things on and off the top of my car.


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