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Model X performance... is Elon going nuts?

“Even though the X is heavier [than the Model S], it will still go zero to 60 miles an hour in about 4.4 seconds,” Mr. Musk said. “And that’s not even the Performance model.”

With that, and the falcon doors, my guts say that Tesla is targeting an extremely focused (read: small) market. Great vehicle for Tesla to show off, but will it contribute to the bottom line?

I have always defended Tesla's strategy in these forums, and I strongly believe in the "Secret Tesla Master Plan", but with this vehicle I can't help the thought: Are they slowing going off rails...? To me, the Model X doesn't fit the bill of the Secret Tesla Master plan. At least that's my preliminary first impression.

Full disclosure: My perspective is from Germany. I may not fully understand the American passenger car market. But does Tesla?

Too much "city warm-climate" mentality in the design, I think. Perhaps the X design team should get their own digs in North Dakota. The whole concept of "seasons" seems to be alien to these guys.

But that's quite a teaser! Standard Xes can drag-race Performance Ses on even terms? And will the Performance X match the Roadster Sport? Double the motors, double the fun ...

Range is definitely going to be down. Note, they are not even attempting to quantify it. Double motors will presumably consume close to double power. Single motor, heavier vehicle... maybe not double consumption (over the S) but certainly a lot more than the S.

Note that the car is being aimed at the female of the species? See the blurb on the new "X" page and it specifically states "her".

If they are going after the females, count one (my wife) as unimpressed. I"m not sure I like the look of the X either. It looks kind of like an S that is stretched a bit taller. I don't mind the gull wing doors, but I think the X aesthetically could have made more of a statement.

@ dborn No, two motors will not consume double energy, will only have close to double power when needed. It may consume slightly more due to extra weight and friction (more moving parts) but may also consume less because each motor could stay most of the time in a power range when it is more efficient.

@Volker As long as they offer it at comparable prices to other premium SUVs and as the performance comes almost for free (even with only one motor it is plenty), why not?

As I have argued less than one year ago talking / dreaming about Model S Sport (not performance)
http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/battery-weight-vs-acceleration-t...

"I would add that they also have hinted at an AWD, and it makes no sense to build a complicated transmission which would be as heavy as a second motor (and a bit of extra cables + software) – and inefficient. As the battery occupies the floor of the car, the transmission would also modify the chassis. And there is a trunk in front, just use a quarter of it for the second motor (+ PEM + the small gearbox)."

Now we see that we get 4.4s on the normal version of a larger and heavier car with that setup. If we have the same 21% gain from normal to performance version as we do for Model S, the Performance Model X would need 3.5s to get to 60mph. What would that do for an AWD Model S? 5% better than 3.5s ? 10% better ? In any case, we are talking ridiculous (in a good way) numbers for a large sedan.

I get it... Tesla is going for the BMW X6m, Infinity FX50s, Porsche Cayenne Turbo performance SUV buyer. I use to own an FX50s, and minus the third row seating and low MPG, it somewhat appears very similar.

Over the last decade, many SUV owners whom never drove their SUV in the dirt, these big-cars became just daily drivers. The 'sport' part came off as more 'sportcar' than 'dirtcar', thus the Sportcar-Utility-Vehicle (SUV) was born. It became a vehicle for the person who wanted a larger four-door vehicle with a sporty look and speed, that you could get a lot of cargo or people in, yet drive it on the highway, and never feel small or slow. Also, for anyone who has a bad back, it's a hell of a lot easier to get in and out of.

As far as the percentage of people out there who would buy an X, I think in the large urban areas of the US, it will sell great IMHO!

@TikiMan - I agree.

Right on, TikiMan. And dborn.

One auto industry analyst said several years back: "the minivan is a life-stage vehicle, the SUV is a life-style vehicle". Many moms, my wife included, would not step in a minivan, once the kids are out of kindergarten. But a stylish, spacious, fast cross-over (aka SUV) is a different story. With the performance options, now dads will fight for it too...

Where can I see the (much delayed) webcast video?

@dborn Double motors will presumably consume close to double power.

Double motors drain almost no extra power (unless you floor it) because losses stay nearly the same. Two motors need half the power/motor to gain same net result.

...approximately, there is a bit bigger drivetrain losses due doubled friction sources and bit higher overall drivetrain weight I guess.

Car is less aerodynamic and probably weights quite a lot more due sheer bulk of the car, so those definitely cut the range. I'm guessing 85kWh gives you something between 200 and 250miles at 50mph.

That's why I think this is not going to catch on. SUV drivers want a long distance vehicle. They use it to shuttle their kids to their club soccer tournaments in far off cities, go to the beach, mountains, whatever. Range anxiety is going to huge.

I am sure by 2014 when it comes out; it will likely have a bigger battery, as the technology gets better.

But then again, I know a LOT of urban SUV drivers that never drive farther than 30 miles a day (at most).

Watch Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk unveil Model X: http://vimeo.com/36534892

I do agree about the gull-wing doors... If you have to drive the kids around in heavy weather (rain and snow) half the year, this is likely NOT the vehical for you.

But then again, I wouldn't want a typical 'soccer-mom' driving anything that goes from 0-60 in under 10 seconds anyway!

It seems to me (as Tiki noted above) that the X is intended to compete with the Cayenne, FX50, Q7, X5/6 crowd. It isn't a true SUV for off-road capabilities. Its more of a luxury crossover (thus the X moniker). In that regard, I think they hit the mark. Its what I was expecting. If some were expecting more (or less as it were), then there's sure to be disappointment.

It will be great for road trips. In about 2 to 4 years the charging network should be solid.

My only concern is the door height. They need a sensor on the doors so they don't hit the ceiling in low parking garages. The first thing Top Gear will do is drive into a low parking garage and start banging the doors against the ceiling.
The first thing my wife will do is park it oddly in the garage and take out the garage door opener getting the groceriew out.

It will probably be larger than what my wife likes to drive but maybe in 4 years she can have the S and I'll get the X.

I guesstimated from the X animated door pic that it required 6" clearance each side, and about 18" above. Not tea bags.

As for aerodynamics, I seem to recall seeing a claim it was better than the S. The blunter rear end? No mirrors?

Can't be better than Model S just because much larger frontal area. Double the front and double the drag. Lack of mirrors probably help with Cd, but not enough to counter the added A.

Rear actually affects more than front in (low speed) aerodynamics. Ideal shape for low Cd is teardrop where the blunt end is at front. That also makes be not believe that particular claim about better aerodynamics than Model S.

All you folks and the analysts who keep thinking of the Model X as an SUV are missing the point . . . and the market! Tesla and Elon have repeatedly called the Model X a cross-over. They have declared it NOT to be an SUV. The crossover has big attraction in urban areas for moms who want to look cool and older kids who don't want to show up anywhere in a box.

One report places the range reduction at 10% to 12%.

I'll bet my milk money that the 4.4sec figure is for the Performance version, and that Elon elided his sentences. When he said "and this isn't even the Performance version," I'm fairly to the vehicle they were in, not to the figure he had just quoted. Going below 4.4 secs is just a stupid waste of resources in a vehicle like this.

Oooo -- I'll take that bet. The dual motors give lotsa torque and a much longer sweet spot than one.

@Robert.Boston Going below 4.4 secs is just a stupid waste of resources in a vehicle like this.

I don't think so. I told someone a long time ago that BEV:s will have insane performance, not because they can, but because they have to.

Larger electric motors are more efficient than smaller ones, and also large battery naturally gives huge power, so if the car has two motors for AWD and large battery it automatically also has insane performance. It is more a side-effect of technology used than goal to reach. Efficiency and power go hand to hand in BEV:s, you don't need to sacrifice one to get the other.

There are 3 versions: 2wd, 4wd, and 4wd performance.

2wd will be similar to standard S, maybe slightly slower.

4wd will be 4.4 sec because of the added torque and grip of 4 driven wheels.

4wd performance has the potential to go below 4 sec (which is insane - and awesome). It may not be useful but serves to brightline that EVs cannot be matched by ICEs, which helps promote the mission.

There's no efficiency penalty for the extra motor. It its turned off, it freewheels and uses no juice. Of course if you punch it heavily, you'll go through the battery much more quickly.

The only hit relative to the S is from the heavier chassis and larger frontal area. That'll shorten range 10-15%.

The S is more beautiful, and seems like the go-to car unless you need to carry 7 or lots of cargo room, in which case the X offers an unmatched combination of space and efficiency.

Elon, are you listening? I apologize. You're still on track, obviously not entirely nuts with performance. That's good to learn:
http://green.autoblog.com/2012/02/11/next-tesla-roadster-delayed-until-a...

(Sorry for cross-posting. I think this news is very relevant to the threads where I posted it -- at least I did not start a new thread :-)

Right: "The Model X Performance version will accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds."
http://www.teslamotors.com/about/press/releases/model-x-fastest-selling-...

So, Elon actually goofed when he said "4.4 sec, and that's not even the performance version". Which essentially means that performance of Model X should be 1:1 comparable with that of Model S, with the second motor offsetting additional weight and air drag.

That press release does appear to contradict Elon.

One other possibility - there may be 4 permutations:

1. 2WD base

2. 2WD performance

3. AWD base

4. AWD performance

It's possible the 4.4 second number is about the same for config's 2 and 3.

(in each case for different reasons: hotter motor / inverter in #2, and twin motor torque in #3)

From a pure physics POV, this is actually plausible.

If that were the case, then both Elon and the press release could be technically correct, and it's possible that config #4 is faster still.

We'll see what TM says as the X gets closer to production.

Remember how the Model S performance spec was unveiled around the time of the beta test drives. TM likes to delight customers with continued surprises.

The model x price structure is more or less supposed to follow the model s. With the model s the performance aspect of the performance package costs about 10k even though the performance vehicle costs 15k more, right? If AWD costs the same or less than 10k, why would anyone spend 10k for the same performance without AWD? Do you think that option 2 for example would get better range because it would weigh less?

AWD definitely offers better drive dynamics, and would be the cooler choice for the enthusiast.

There is a range penalty to pay if you have the two motors, but only when you flex those muscles. The combined peak current for two motors is also likely higher than just hotter windings for a single motor, so that would tax the battery more at a less favorable point on the discharge curve.

So it's possible that getting that same 4.4 sec number might deplete the AWD charge faster than the 2WD. If efficiency were perfect, watts-in and-HP out should be no different for each case. But there are battery nonidealities, so they'd probably not match.

The extra motors and beefier power control electronics do add to the bill of materials cost, so TM has to recover their costs if they offer both upgrades. The upgrade prices likely won't be equal, either. The extra drive train costs more than the electronics.

So there may in fact be cost and range variations that might suit different buyers, and config 3 might not fully subsume 2.

Assuming that S and X pricing structures are indeed parallel, another tier in the S line may yet emerge that offers AWD, using X building blocks. (see other threads on this).

That would reconcile the price points, and result in a higher performance tier for both the S and X lines that could boast sub 4 second theoretical performance (like the Roadster) at higher cost.

Whether they do it or not is an open question, but the combined potential of AWD and hotter motors / electronics presents the possibility.

Another way to see it: if they do eventually offer an AWD S, it won't be slower, or cost less than the current 2WD Performance flavor.


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