Design Issues

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.

sunrockgod | 13. Februar 2012

I am not going to be parking my $70K+ X anywhere within 2ft from other cars. Even if you can can exit the vehicle, the neighboring car's inmates wont be able to and a ding is imminent. For us, our garage (planned addition) will be pretty tight thanks to city regulations - so the falcon doors was a god send.

David M. | 14. Februar 2012

I grew up in the northeast. I've shoveled a lot of snow, broomed off a lot of cars, and waited patiently while cars warmed up enough to get all the ice off the windows. On rare occasions, passenger doors would be iced over. Usually, you can get in on one side and start the car to warm it up, then the other door will open.

Would the Falcon wing doors be an issue for me? Not really. Particularly if there was some sort of heating element that inhibited the doors from freezing over. Anyway, you shouldn't drive a car with snow on the roof. You broom it off first.

Overall, I like the design, though I could see how it might be too radical for some. But then again, plug-in EVs are pretty radical anyway. Tip - the second row seat needs to slide forward when the seat back is tilted forward, to allow better access for 3rd row passengers. Anyway, it still provides better access to the 3rd row than the typical minivan design, which requires you to enter the second row, navigate to the gap in the center, then wedge yourself back to the 3rd row.

Crow | 14. Februar 2012

David, TM has said that the 2nd row will slide forward on the production cars.

Robert.Boston | 14. Februar 2012

And with the smartphone app, we won't have to get into the car to start warming it up, which should help a lot with ice around the door seals. I worry about that because, at least with the Model S, you have to be able to roll down the window by a bit to open the door -- and that's not easy if the car is covered in a sheet of ice.

Timo | 15. Februar 2012

I finally found a video that actually plays about that Model X reveal (found out that Vimeo site couch mode works). I have to say that car looks a lot better "live" than in pictures here. It isn't as large as I got impression (having actual people close to it helps), and it is quite sleek in design. For some reason my impression from the pictures here was not that good.

My sister would love that car. She needs a car that has that much room and she isn't fan of gasoline SUV:s.

I have to take some of my words back, now that I have seen the car with people and some a bit better show I can see why someone would like to buy it instead of Model S (more than just AWD reasons).

I hope to see both Model S and X in real life soon. And I hope they don't offer me test run, I don't want to rob a bank ;-) (maybe if I move to less expensive part of the city and sell this one...).

Brian H | 15. Februar 2012

You're thinking of selling your expensive portion of the city? How much of it do you own?

EdG | 16. Februar 2012

A roof rack might be made for, say, the left side of the X. A "disable left falcon door - roof rack mode" switch would be simple. Yes, that would make is so you'd have to exit on the right side from the back rows. Can't have everything.

Note to those who want heaters on the car for eliminating frozen situations:
It would work for temperatures close to 0 Celcius. But beware using such a feature when the temperature drops a few degrees lower. There's a point where there's probably only snow on the car - no ice - and you'd be melting the bottom layer a little, potentially creating ice when there wasn't a problem before. Any lower temps than that and the heater wouldn't warm the snow enough to melt anything (when there's so small an amount of snow that there's negligible insulation going on). In these situations, even if the X has a heater, just brush off the snow, don't try to melt it; you'd just make things worse.

CIAOPEC | 16. Februar 2012

Do people living in snowy climates typically park their $70 k vehicles outdoors overnight? In reality most are probably garaged. I dont understand this negative harping about the practicality of the falcon doors. When i have had my SUV parked at a ski resort during a snowstorm I return to my vehicle and simply dust off the areas around the doors. What's the big deal? If you live in a climate where your doors are frequently frozen closed I believe you will have problems EV or ICE, falcon doors or traditional. I don't recognize this as a legitimate argument against Tesla's design.

wtrask4 | 16. Februar 2012


It's not just Snow overnight!

Colorado can dump snow during the day while at work or even better when you are up skiing. So when you come back to your car this would be an issue to deal with.

Overnight I'm not concerned as it is in my garage.

EdG | 17. Februar 2012

I'm sorry, but it's hard to imagine I'd be upset coming back from a full day of skiing to find my car covered in snow, simply because I bought a car with falcon doors.

I'd just get as much of the snow off the car as possible, as I would any car. Okay, to get others into the back seats might take a little longer, or they'd have to actually go in through the front right door and walk back. At least the car would be warm inside by the time I found the car because I pulled out my phone at the top of the last run, and told the car to get ready.

Worst case scenario is sheet ice over the doors would prevent me from opening one because some chunks would fall into the car. I'd have to have everyone get in via the other doors and drive slowly for a few miles so the vibration breaks up the ice. It wouldn't be the first time.

ThomasN | 17. Februar 2012

It's not the snow on the doors, it's not being able to put the skis up top. Putting them inside is no big deal if it's occasional. Putting them inside 2-3 times a week adds up to a lovely musty smell from the snow and ice melting and evaporating in the cabin. I say this from experience. Boots are no problem, they go in a big sealable plastic box. I'm sure you could get ski bags for family and friends, but wouldn't that be a joy after a day on the mountain. The tow
The other issue is wind. 30mph and greater gusts are common on a mountain. While the car is heavy, that's a lot of torque on a pretty good size sail. It might be no big deal, but then again it might.

The X is a great car, but if you plan to ski a lot, get a season locker and sell the kayaks. A solution I am very seriously considering.

flar | 17. Februar 2012

There are always these doors:

Kind of disturbing to look over and see the door completely missing! It would be more complicated on a Model S/X due to the batteries filling up the floor space so there would be no place for the door to disappear down into. Also, I'm curious about their claim that they lose no structural rigidity - it seems like a lot of mechanism replacing your car floor there.

Brian H | 17. Februar 2012

That's pretty cool! But I notice the whole JATECH site is un-changed since 2008! It would seem they haven't gotten much of a market yet.

flar | 17. Februar 2012

I was expecting that the product was even older than that given the feel of the video. I feel like I'm watching a 70s "world of tomorrow" video on a film loop in science class. The Lincoln Mark VIII's that they talk about in their history (and which are used in much of that video) were a mid-90s vehicle.

They do seem to solve that side clearance issue pretty handily, and they imply that there are no ground clearance issues, but the "parking lot" scene where you view the Lincolns from the rear you can definitely see an arm swing down as the door starts to descend and later returns.

I was just trying to lighten the mood from all of the "how could anyone have redesigned a door" discussions... ;)

Whity Whiteman | 21. Februar 2012

Hello Ladies and Gentleman, while discussing the design issues in this forum I tried to compare to the competition, namely Q7, Panamera, BMW 5GT... to bring it to detailled discussions.
Check this picture and leave Your opinion:

Volker.Berlin | 21. Februar 2012

Very nice collection, it's interesting that you managed to find a shot from every angle for each of those. I'd suggest the Cayenne in place of the Panamera (the latter is competition to Model S more than to Model X IMO).

Whity Whiteman | 21. Februar 2012

i will optimize it from time to time

Mark42 | 10. Juli 2012

Falcon doors are a deal breaker for me. Unfortunately my garage ceiling is low and these wont even work. Roof box and snow and rollover safety are just more reasons not to even start looking at this car. Too bad too, because I might have to give up my reservation on the Model S too if there is not wet key/ emergency key.

kanti12us | 11. August 2012


I am really surprised with most of the comments about inconvenience in different conditions. One has to be mind full that not all conditions could be met with any design. there are different models for different conditions and one can choose to fit in accordingly. If you go for skiing then you need to choose with that car which could be once in a while??
However what is most interesting for me is that the electric car should have some design by which one does not have to plug the car to charge the battery or must also not depend on Fossil fuel in any form??!
If that is possible to make electric car an absolute GREEN ENERGY CAR it definitely will have greater impact ove all for their use.

I know it is possible by making some changes in technical design!!
I am sure the designers must have in their mind what I am talking about.


Teoatawki | 11. August 2012

Rollover safety is the least of my concerns! With the weight, low CG, short of driving over a steep embankment, or the road collapsing underneath you, it is going to be extremely difficult to roll a mod X!

But, if you manage it, I'm sure you will be able to use a manual release from inside, just like you can from the back of the model S.

Brian H | 11. August 2012

Dr. K.,
No fuel, no charging? UR a loon. Free energy is mental crack cocaine. It destroys intelligence just before it finishes you off.

xXReignster15Xx | 14. August 2012

I agree, I would like to get a SUV that can go in the mountains, or off-road a bit,not just drive in the city.If the SUV could do that and still drive good in the city I would DEFINATLY buy it.

hobblyjig | 17. August 2012

I falcon wing doors are for people like me who need to get the model X instead of a minivan, not an SUV. I don't care about not being able to put stuff on the top of the car. There's plenty of storage inside the car with all the seats down for when I need to bring home something from IKEA.

Brian H | 18. August 2012

Heh. On another thread, someone is complaining bitterly about comparisons to "minivans". A total turnoff for his teener sons!

newellcoaches14 | 16. Dezember 2012

This is a very big topic at Tesla's mind in order to get these doors ok'd be the DOT and everybody else. What I'm thinking Tesla will end up doing is doing what Lamborghini has put on their Aventador model. The Aventador has the scissor-doors, a.k.a Lamborghini doors, which open upwards. Well in the incident of a rollover accident where it ends up on its roof, there's sensors somewhere in the car that realizes it's on its roof and breaks the hinges to the door, making them fall off. I do not know how Lamborghini was able to accomplish this but its what works for them

ArieK | 17. Dezember 2012

Newellcoaches: I'm not sure how they did it either but I would guess the sensors are set up the same way as in a lot of modern roadsters where a roll over event triggers small explosives to extend a rollover bar behind the headrests.

ArieK | 17. Dezember 2012

From wikipedia:
"In the July 2010 issue of Car and Driver magazine, safety specifications were revealed pertaining to the safety of the SLS AMG's gullwing doors. Ten to fifteen milliseconds after a detected rollover, explosive bolts situated at the top of the door frame fire and bell cranks separate the doors from the car for easy exit during a serious accident."

Those gullwing doors on the Mercedes SLS have an uncanny resemblance to the doors on the Model X.
Hmmmm, you think MB will only supply Tesla with the cruise control stick on the steering wheel or something more..... ;-)

Timo | 17. Dezember 2012

AFAIK Model X has similar system as those gullwing doors, except that that breaking point is at the joint of the door located between roof and side (it has two hinges, not one).

jk2014 | 08. Januar 2013

Will there be side mirrors, or the cameras? The picture on the reservation page shows mirrors. The main model x page shows without.

Vawlkus | 09. Januar 2013

Elon would prefer cameras, the law currently requires mirrors. It's being debated.

HaroldS | 14. Januar 2013

From the photos, aspects of the interior of the Model X at the Detroit Auto Show just look awful. The touchscreen is still apparently super glued to the dash, and the space between the second and third seating rows appears to provide zero legroom. I suppose that the second row seats are in their rear-most position, but moving them to that position would crush the third row passengers.

Why does anyone think that the "stuck on" touchscreen looks good? Tesla couldn't figure out a way to integrate it with the rest of the car? Is it removable, so you can carry it around as a tablet? That would be the only way it would seem to make sense to have it protruding from the front of the dash.

Frankly, I think that given the current interior design, Tesla should skip the Model X completely, sell the S for two more years (perhaps with body mods to give more vertical space in the back) and then go directly to the GenIII.

Alex K | 14. Januar 2013

@HaroldS | JANUARY 14, 2013: From the photos, aspects of the interior of the Model X at the Detroit Auto Show just look awful.

I too was disappointed with the interior look of the Model X displayed at the auto show. Hopefully, Tesla will use some of the feedback to modify the design. Although I'm a reservation holder, the car as it currently appears, would not be something I would be interested in. My primary concern is the lack of 2nd and 3rd row leg room. I think the leg room would be something that is hard to redesign given the size of the current platform.

jk2014 | 14. Januar 2013

Hope the display will be more integrated into the dash. Third row looks tighter than previous iterations... Maybe just the photo.

Blip | 15. Januar 2013

I wonder if the Tesla designers have ever seen (experienced) snow. If anyone should wonder, this is what snow looks like (on a Nissan Leaf). No way those doors will open withot getting snow inside the Model X with falcon doors! ;)

Vawlkus | 15. Januar 2013

Call it incentive to clean your roof off, like most sensable people do.

Blip | 15. Januar 2013

Sorry for the broken link. My point is that most arguments concerning snow in this thread seems to be coming from people unfamiliar with the concept of snow. Of course, that's my presumption...

When living in a area where the outside temp changes between -10 to +10 C (14 to 50 F) in a few days, the "snow" changes between beeing like ice, sugar, powdered sugar, rocks, flour, gravel, water and glaze. Cleaning the roof is simply not always an option!

"The Snow in Norway Stays Hardly in the Plain" ;)

This is a typical winter image:

cprenzl | 15. Januar 2013

I think it would be very easy for tesla to put a heating element on the top to warm the snow, this could be activated by a weight sensor, I would hope people dont usally hop in a car cover in snow and just start driving though! But tesla should still take care of it

Blip | 15. Januar 2013

cprenzl | 15. JANUAR 2013
I think it would be very easy for tesla to put a heating element on the top to warm the snow
As pointed out earlier in this thread: This would require a lot of power. Several kilowatts!

I would hope people dont usally hop in a car cover in snow and just start driving though!
Well, we do. It is impossible to get rid of all the snow on the roof. Of course we don't drive of with feets of snow, but the last millimeters are impossible to remove and will end up in the back seat. The problem is big enough with normal, vertical doors. The under-pressure created when the door is opened is enough to drag in some snow ending up in the seats. If you don't belive me, you haven tried it!

My suggestion is to leave the eagle doors as an optoin but let me choose sliding doors.

Brian H | 15. Januar 2013

Heating and melting roof snow would mean glazing the rest of the car. Snow → water → ice would be continuous. Should be able to build up quite a nice layer! Requiring hatchets to get through.

cprenzl | 15. Januar 2013

I don't think tesla will be able to add multiple door designs, unfortunately I think they might just point folks who park their car outdoors in the winter to a outdoor car cover. One Idea is that they have a popup sides (out of weatherproof flexible cloth, hard to explain) that block the snow and water from falling in. I hope they fix this.

Brian H | 15. Januar 2013

Seems I saw a claim that it was allowed for/fixed, and even that there was some genius ski rack solution. Unrevealed as yet.

jk2014 | 21. Januar 2013

Does anyone know why the 17 inch display sticks out like it does? Is there a rhyme or reason behind it being designed this way? Don't want my kids to be able to rip it out, or be tempted to rip it out...

Objective1 | 21. Januar 2013

Didn't the Model S flat display look just as glued-on in early display versions of Model S? I was surprised how well the screen was integrated into the dash in the production models.

ian | 21. Januar 2013

I would guess they've moved the screen up a bit to bring it more into the drivers field of view so they don't have to look so far down for the top of it. In the MS it wouldn't be as low as the driver sits lower in relation to the dash. From what I can tell having sat in a MS at the store.

jdb | 01. Februar 2013

Are the third row of seats to be fixed or removeable? As Model X reservation #677, I am looking forward to the vehicle, for me to drive while my wife drives our Signature Model S, which by the way exceeds expectations (thanks TM), but do not need the third row of seats most of the time. Would need to cancel reservation if third row of seats fixed, since need storage apace in back much of the time.

Alex K | 01. Februar 2013

@jdb | FEBRUARY 1, 2013: do not need the third row of seats most of the time

Same here. I would imagine that they would stow away.

Neige | 02. Februar 2013

Both the second and third row of seats are expected to fold completely flat.

t7n7 | 19. Februar 2013

Everyone keeps talking about snow as if it does not accumulate while the Model X is being driven (including bad traffic)

I clean the snow off my roof before driving but when I'm stuck in traffic during a snow storm, well, I ended up getting loads of snow in the car when my passengers needed to get out at a pitstop.

Try removing the snow FROM INSIDE THE MODEL X.

Im getting the Model X (changed my mind from the S because we have 1 ICE Sedan for long road trips ) regardless but I am thinking ahead.

And no, I don't think telling your passengers that you need to clear the snow before they open the falcon doors is an option in most cases.

Once Canada's infrastructure is updated to be on par with the US, I will be getting rid of my ICE Sedan in place for a Model S.

t7n7 | 19. Februar 2013

Ahh still no edit option? Iphone autotype grammar sucks!

Brian H | 19. Februar 2013

The driver must exit and clear the snow for the passengers.