middle row seats

middle row seats

There has been some hype about the middle row seats - and I'm glad Tesla has been focusing closely on that aspect of the vehicle. Since this is more of a family vehicle than the S, those of us with kids will value the middle row for their comfort. My kids really like the recliner-like 'captain' middle seats in my 2011 Sienna. It has foot rests that come up when the back reclines. If there is some similar comfort feature with the X it'll be a winner with my kids.

socalsam | 2 september 2015

From the pictures I've seen, there doesn't seem to be anything special about the middle row seats. Don't quite understand the sculptural work of art comment by Elon about the seats. If anything the interior looks very similar to the current S which is one thing that I find lacking about the S. I was really hoping for a captains seat option on the second row. I'm looking forward to more details about the interior.

Ankit Mishra | 2 september 2015

The sculptural work will again be tech in nature. Tesla loves tech and whatever they do will be tech in nature. I think its the movement of the 2nd row seats. They must have developed something great. And no, I don't think Tesla is going to add any features of the vans in its car.

jordanrichard | 2 september 2015

If you look at the floor, particularly the carpet below the second row seats, you will no doubt notice that the pedestal that the seats are mounted to, will move forward and aft. There is also electronic seat controls to change the angle of the seat. Now this is where all the speculation comes in, but some are speculating that to gain more cargo room, each seat in the second row will "submarine" down and under the front seats and or the center front counsel.

As for the sculpture aspect of it, I can see what Elon was talking about. How many cars seats do you see that are mounted in a such a manner. There also appears to be a liberal use of chrome on the pedestal and part of the pedestal comes up from underneath and stops at the side of the seats. To me at least, it is very reminiscent of an airline seat.

wchenwei | 2 september 2015

Just some of my wild guess: the 2nd row seats can turn 180 degree back facing the 3rd row seats when the falcon wing opens up. How? the left and right seats on the 2nd row move vertically out and then rotate, and leave some vertical space for the middle seat to rotate as well.

Furthermore, the 3rd row seats can flatten forward and connect with the 2nd row seats facing back to form a flat surface. Use it as cargo space or a bed for two adults!

How about that?

Ankit Mishra | 2 september 2015

Too complicated and unnecessary.

dortor | 2 september 2015

The model X has been telegraphing "too complicated and un-necessary" ever since its introduction w/falcon wing doors and nearly 2 year slip in schedule...this is going to be interesting to watch.

jordanrichard | 2 september 2015

wchenwel, I don't see the need/desire for the second seats to be facing backwards to face the 3rd row seats. Your feet would be getting in the way of the 3rd row seat passengers feet.

If there is any swivel ability, I am going to guess it will be the outer 2 seats and they will pivot 90 degrees to make putting an infant/toddler in their car seat much easier.

With the pedestals in the second row, there would be no room for the center 2nd row seat to rotate.

Ankit Mishra | 2 september 2015

Hahaha. Agree. But FW have a reason, to improve access to 2nd and 3rd row seats. What's the need for seats to rotate in z axis (vertically)? But I agree, its left to be seen.

wchenwei | 2 september 2015

Mercedes-Benz F015 driverless concept car has this face-2-face seating.

@jordanrichard the outer 2 seats can still move vertically out with the pedestals vertically fixed. Imaging the sliding just underneath the seat. And this is only a temporary and transitional position of the 2 outer seats.

I'm fancying the idea of flat sleeping bed for 2 adults in a car. haha, in-car camping!

jordanrichard | 2 september 2015

"camping".....rrrrrrrright :-)

Son of a Gunn | 2 september 2015

The middle seats will be able to tilt backwards (the whole seat) until the seatback is horizontal, then slide forward so the third row can then fold flat over the middle row's seatbacks.

jordanrichard | 2 september 2015

vandacca, though what is depicted in that illustration would be nice, looking at the actual photo, I don't see that happening. Look at the leading edge of the seat, there is no notch for any sort of track mechanism to travel to.

There has to be a functional reason for the pedestals to having a hump.

Ankit Mishra | 2 september 2015

Agree. I don't see that happening too.

vandacca | 2 september 2015

@jordanrichard, I'm not saying that it will absolutely shift in this manner, but this (to me) appears like the most realistic solution if these seats can fold flat.

With regards to the leading edge, you cannot see it from the photo, so you can't tell how far the seat can tilt forward. Furthermore, there may be some kind of joint inside the seat that would allow for this type of articulation.

Elon made a big deal about flat-folding seats in the reveal (and afterwards). I just hope that Tesla follows through.

rossRallen | 2 september 2015

I'm getting nervous about the second row folding flat for cargo. Otherwise, what's the Utility in SUV? Seems like a lot of rigid structure in the seat flowing from the bottom up along the back, so the seat back won't fold over the seat bottom. Right?

LuigiV's diagram makes sense. Thanks for that.

Ankit Mishra | 2 september 2015

Tesla will follow through, I think there is something special with 2nd row seats. And its not any complicated folding or a gimmick. So it is going to be cleared by the reveal only.

carlk | 2 september 2015


Look at the leading edge of the seat, there is no notch for any sort of track mechanism to travel to.

The oval shaped cutout in the carpet looks interesting. There is a possibility that the base plate is on track and/or it could move up and down. Just a wild speculation.

sbeggs | 2 september 2015

Third row seat pitch looks as cramped as airline seats! | 2 september 2015

The outer seats in the second row must raise up and rotate, if @carlk's speculation is correct, in order to eject passengers through the open FW doors. Or that may be reserved for the military version, the one with machine guns mounted on the doors.

carlk | 2 september 2015

@@jordanrichard I just noticed you have made similar comment.

aesculus | 2 september 2015

I have not studied the pictures on TMC where they over exposed to picture to increase contrast to fully comment on the feasibility of @vandacca idea (which is also supported by others) but it may be possible.

You don't necessarily need a track on the outside to do this. There could be supports interior to the seats that it actually rides on. Think a set of arched tubes that hold the seat on the pedestals. Some sort of articulated mechanism could be put in place to cause the rotation.

Another piece of the puzzle missing is that you would have to protect the seat back in this configuration and its also not really flat. This could be fixed by some sort of extended platform that extended from the back of the 3rd row seats when folded flat.

But honestly I think what we see here is a set of optional seats that do not fold flat (note that folding flat is not mentioned on the configuration page) and it alludes to the fact that these are adult seats.

The standard X probably has a regular 60/40 bench seat that folds flat.

johnse | 2 september 2015

I think also that this is a render rather than a photograph and that they are likely hiding some of the sculptural goodness until the reveal.

Red Sage ca us | 2 september 2015

I believe the illustration that vandacca posted, per LuigiV, is most likely.

Red Sage ca us | 2 september 2015

Also, some speculators kept pointing to the interior shots of a Model X on the 'near future' SciFi television show EXTANT... They failed to realize that the reversed seat was the driver position. There was no second row at all. Their child was seated in the third row area.

vandacca | 2 september 2015

There is another thread where someone spoke to a Tesla representative and (if that conversation is to be believed) the rep stated that the seats would not fold flat.

I, all along felt that there was a 50% chance that may be the case, and I'm a little saddened if that's true. Waiting anxiously for confirmation, but I'm starting to believe that I may have to forgo these lovely looking seats for more practical ones. :-(

shop | 2 september 2015

I agree vandacca, this is the stupidest design decision I have ever seen. A utility vehicle with less large cargo capacity than the Model S? This is supposed to be a useful vehicle, not a work of art. I really don't care what else the seats do, if they don't fold flat or get out of the way when hauling a 70" flat screen tv, then it won't work.

Red Sage ca us | 2 september 2015

There is this 4" thick battery pack under the floor that may not allow the sort of folding into the floor that Dodge Caravan or Nissan Qwest or Toyota Previa owners would prefer. It is not likely that you will get the continuous uninterrupted flat cargo space found in a Buick Roadmaster Estate. But if the seats rotate and fold forward as shown in the image by LuigiV above, there will be a whole lot of space available in the Model X for large cargo.

Madatgascar | 2 september 2015

I'm thinking the hump houses a mechanism that allows the entire seat to rock forward just to allow easy access to the third row. It does not look like it would fold flat. The third row obviously folds flat.

Anyone else notice the top of the windshield in this photo?

Red Sage ca us | 2 september 2015

I would be very, very surprised if Tesla Motors made the mistake of having no means by which to fold, stow, or otherwise rotate the second row into a reasonably flat storage space. They typically learn from mistakes, and already discontinued the non-folding 'Executive' seating option on the Model S. There is absolutely no reason to have non-folding rear seats in the Model X, no matter the trim level.

sbeggs | 3 september 2015

They could be removable....

NumberOne | 3 september 2015

Since 99% of us will not be getting our cars on Sept. 29, I do not see the point in speculating about the seats, but go ahead. If it makes you happy do not let me stop you.

tmaz | 3 september 2015

To me it doesn't appear the second row seats fold flat. It appears they slide back and forth and also tilt forward and backwards. If this is the case what I can see happening is the second row seat cushion being lowered and sliding under the front row seat cushion and the two seat backs being parallel and pressed up against each other. I hope this is not the case as this to me would be a stupid design, but looking at the picture it does not appear that the second row seat backs fold down over the seat cushions.

vandacca | 3 september 2015

I'm not trying to defend Tesla here on the lack of a folding 2nd row, but from an engineering perspective you always have to make compromises. These seats are very functional (individually controlled, comfortable, heated/ventilated, etc.) but to further add the ability to have them fold down may be too difficult of an engineering problem to solve with today's technology.

I'm sure they could do it, but there would have to be other compromises like added weight (which leads to reduced range), less reliability, less storage, higher costs, etc.

Thanks @RedSage for pointing out the removal of the Executive Seats. I'm going to predict that the Model-S will be getting a similar option to these 2nd row seats before the end of the year.

DriverZ | 3 september 2015

My recollection is that the claim made when the concept was revealed was that the middle row pulled forward WITHOUT folding so that those in the rear could walk in/out rather than stepping over a folded middle seat and at the same time, you could keep your baby's car seat latched to the middle row. Can someone go back and check the video of the event?

I dont think the middle seats are going to be an optional upgrade. The car was delayed 2 years trying to get these seats right. I think Tesla is going to be very proud of whatever the seats are supposed to do and envisions them to be as much an integral part of the vehicle as the Falcon Wing doors. If Tesla was willing to just slap standard folding seats in the middle at a lower price, the X would have been released a year ago and the upgrade seats would then have been released later as an upgrade, like the D was released later.

carlk | 3 september 2015

If you look at the ordering page posted at TMC the independently operable second row seat is listed under non-standard equipment. That definitely is an option item.

vandacca | 3 september 2015

Forgive my cross-posting:

@DriverZ, at the Tesla Model X reveal in 2012, they showed a slide on the over-head screen with the seats folded flat

DriverZ | 3 september 2015

I stand corrected on both counts.

Auto P85 | 3 september 2015

It will be a bummer if the X does not have folding seats.

This picture from vandacca is three years old, and for Tesla that is like from a different era.

I hope they fold, but given Tesla's history, I would not bet on it at this point.

Time will tell. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

I might even give up my X reservation and instead add back seats to my S for $3,500. It would actually be a cash back deal because I would get my $5,000 deposit back and end up netting $1,500 on the deal.

I would still prefer folding seats :)

carlk | 3 september 2015

My guess is there will be standard seats that can fold flat. That's pretty much a no brainer. No idea what the sculptural piece of art seat can do though. For me there is 10x or more chance that the back area will haul people than goods so I'm OK with whatever it will be.

jordanrichard | 3 september 2015

I agree about these pictured seats being executive seats and like the ones in MS, they don't fold. Their thinking may be that one getting this package, are not looking to be hauling large sheets of plywood. In other words they are producing a configuration for 2 different markets.

We are all also assuming that this picture depicts what the Signature owner's are getting. Since they are being allowed to configure their X's, perhaps they can select regular second row seats.

We won't know until the 29th.

ken | 4 september 2015

As stated on another thread, I just got off the phone with Tesla who called me back after I sent several questions to them by email. The second row seats do not fold. The third row do fold flat (confirmed by his supervisor).

rdalcanto | 4 september 2015

Ken - did he say if that was only for the Signature versions? Having a CUV/SUV with a second row that doesn't fold is beyond dumb. People buy bigger vehicles so they can occasional haul stuff....

madodel | 4 september 2015

I have to agree with rdalcanto. It is truly beyond dumb that the second row of seats doesn't fold flat. Do the seats come out? I have had minivans that the seats were removable, which was a PITA but I could live with that. If they are permanent than that means I will have to keep my Highlander Hybrid for hauling my son back and forth to College, and our trips to the shore. In which case why get a new car?

kostarae | 4 september 2015

If the seats aren't at least this functional, then Tesla failed.

Chrysler did it 10 years ago with an exhaust system and 2nd row slides forward and aft.

Red Sage ca us | 4 september 2015

If you don't have one of the first few dozen reservations, don't worry about it. You'll know exactly what the Model X Signature second row seats do, or don't do, by September 29. I expect you will be happily surprised.

Ross1 | 5 september 2015

They dont fold as such because they are inflatable / deflatable and get sucked into the floor when they are stored in the front grille, or mebbe the frunk.

Does anyone have pics of seats in the Spaceship Dragon from SpaceX? There might be a clue there...

TonyInNH | 5 september 2015

As others have suggested, is it possible that the 2nd and 3rd rows are removable? Haven't seen a lot of discussion about that possibility.

TonyInNH | 5 september 2015

You would have to admit that the falcon wing doors would make it easy to slide them out. | 5 september 2015

Well, good folks, I am an incorrigible planner. As some of you know, my current plan "B" is to drive an MS until my MX is available and then trade it in for the X which is what I have been looking for for more than 3 years. Now that I have seen a rendering of the interior of the MX, I am beginning to think about plan "C", keeping the good old MS85 and saving my pennies for my heirs. I am not interesting in a "CUV" with limited utility in the form of less useable interior space than the MS with rear seats folded down and less range as well. I don't want Southwest Airlines seats in the second row, if that's what they turn out to be.

I have plenty of time to wait and see what the real MX has in it unlike the Sig. People. My feet are feeling cooler, though.

ernie | 5 september 2015

Well, I am willing to stay optimistic. I am on my Plan B as my wife insisted on canceling the P85D...too low to ground and she wants to see traffic. BUT it dang well better have more usable storage space than the MS...but I will take what I get. We still have her large diesel SUV it need be.