Sounds like Elon is tangling with the design. Why not do something novel and open the discussion up to the public? Post the options, get input, even get a vote ..? Ditto for Model E.
I don't think eleventy-two thousand suggestions from the crowd would speed anything up.
They would if it were multiple-choice. It would work akin to "ask the audience" on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. If there's a clear winner, maybe Tesla could give it more weight. And Tesla should open the Model E development process to the public from the get-go. It could be considered the first wiki car:
1. A mock configurator online, including design decisions.
2. A Model E development app for mobile.
3. Social media presence.
Tesla would obviously have to decide how much weight to give this kind of feedback, but it would engage the public in an unprecedented way.
I don't think that the delay in the release of the Model X is due to design issues. I think that the delays come down to battery issues. Right now, Tesla is using all available batteries for the model S, and they cannot afford to let model S deliveries slide. They are waiting for the Samsung deal to go forward for a second supply of batteries, which will give them the capacity to manufacture both the S and the X.
Right now, it is all about the batteries.
Unfortunately people often don't know what they'd really use themselves, let alone what will appeal to the masses. A lot of Apple successes fit that category. (The amount of people who said an iPad would have to run the Mac OS to be useful was huge.)
Also with a car you'd be getting feedback from a large number of people that aren't actually able to buy the car, which would be misleading. If you restricted the input to people who have put their money down for a ModelX, then you'd be asking the very people who liked the design to comment on how they'd rather have something different.
Focus groups can fall into the same issues. Personally I think watching people use something can tell you a lot - but don't ask them what they think… just watch. As an exercise I watched my brother moor his boat 20 times in a row, and then I replicated exactly what he was doing. He corrected one 'mistake', he thought I shifted gears at a different time to what he did, but he actually was simply unaware of how he did it himself.
Elon has expressly stated that he doesn't believe in focus groups. Why? Because if you'd asked the horse riding public what they would have wanted next in transportation they would have just said a faster horse.
In other words, people want what they already have. Just ask all the folks on here arguing for fast charging stations at all their local gas stations. ;-)
That's precisely it goneskiian. It's really difficult to break that mental trap nearly everyone falls into. It's only when someone spends the time to try something new (or to read a lot about it) they can start to internalise a new mental model.
Similar to this, the Model S is interesting because Elon recognised that people with no EV experience will use their ICE experience as the basis of their EV mental 'checklist', so it needs to tick that list and most EVs fall short in many ways (power and range being frequent criticisms - which has been a focus of the Model S). However once you've got experience with the Model S, you build a new mental checklist of what's important in a car, and when a Tesla owner drives an ICE it doesn't stack up to their expectations.