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Why not a 2 Wheel, Rear Drive, Model X too?

Why not a 2 Wheel, Rear Drive, Model X too?

IMO, Tesla should consider (also) offering a 2 wheel, rear drive, Model X. It will serve TM well to be able offer a base price $10-15K less , besides not every SUV-CUV owner needs or wants AWD. To the vast majority of Cayennes, X5s, Q7s, etc. owners, off-roading is their drive way or the shopping mall, few make it near the Rubicon Trail. Yes I know you are the exception that goes up to the mountains, live on a steep-unpaved hill, or follows the unpaved path.

Personally, I am a fan of AWD because on wet or dry pavement, snow, gravel, the cornering and handling are superior. After almost two years in our MS I am confident in its’ road manners. We have a Subaru Legacy (AWD) and our FJ Cruiser is 4WD. The FJ is in 2WD 99% of the time. I have owned 6 SUVs, 4 Jeeps, 1 Land Rover and 1 FJ. I have sold Jeeps, Subaru(s), BMWs, and Audis at new car dealerships.

TM is offering 4WD because all the other luxury CUVs offer 4WD. But perhaps TM should take a look at Jeep’s history. Jeep sells far more 2WD Grand Cherokees than 4WD and the cost differential is only about $4K. All I am saying is why not offer it? The MS rolling chassis is now a proven commodity and it only slightly complicates the production line. $10-15K is a material chunk of change.

Just a thought, probably an unpopular one.

vandacca | 20 September, 2014

@petero, I think you are correct that 2WD is not a popular option for the Model-X, at least in Tesla Motor's mind. Firstly, its never going to happen. Secondly, wait and see Tesla's AWD solution, it won't be like anything else you've seen for a few reasons:
- Other than a small weight gain (maybe insignificant) there are no downsides to having AWD. Tesla has managed to make AWD as energy efficient as 2WD by using different gearing
- electric motors have instant torque so the AWD can be turned on or off instantly. Imagine hitting a corner really fast and you begin to loose traction and even before you realize it, your car has turned on AWD for 30 milliseconds so that you didn't crash into a telephone pole.

Finally, AWD is now a fundamental feature to the Model X, and I believe every single car Tesla will make from now on. One problem Tesla has had since the roadster is adding a gearbox. Try as they might, they could never get a simple 2-gear solution to work with an electric motor and they eventually gave up. They wanted to add a gearbox so they can make their cars more energy efficient and increase range.

With 2 motors, they have effectively created a 2-gear system. One motor for slow speeds and high torque and the other for higher speeds. It improves efficiency without using a proper gearbox.

--Dan

Brian H | 20 September, 2014

Dan;
I think that's about right. TM's solution includes cost differential minimization, so there is little or no incentive to double up on designs.

aljjr2 | 20 September, 2014

Prior to owning my Audi Q7 (Quatro-All Wheel Drive), I shared your opinion that AWD was not needed to and from the mall. However, 105K Miles later, I have come to realize that in all conditions it adds a degree of handling that is not present in rear wheel drive vehicles.

I think there is a difference in the oversize "Jeep-like" high center of gravity 4-wheel drive and AWD in Audi and potential Model X. When on a car chassis it become a sure footed asset on dry, wet and snow covered roads.

I can't speak to the cost difference, but would suspect that Tesla would lower the overall manufacturing cost by producing one base chassis -- Most likely for the Model X and the Model S.

babstude | 20 September, 2014

agree 100% i would prefer not to have awd - would like a fwd option actually

now having said that i have always hated awd because they tended to suck fuel and they they were complicated - in tesla's case they claim the range will be the same and there is virtually nothing complicated other than another motor, "gear box" and invertor

so am fine with awd but would prefer fwd only if it saves a few purchase dollars

NumberOne | 21 September, 2014

One article that just read related to the AWD model S was that the additional motor would only increase the cost by $1200, which considering the possible benefits vs. cost increase is really not a lot. Of course I am not going to search now to see what the source was, but you may do it if you feel like it. I always wonder where these people pull specific figures from.

Alex K | 21 September, 2014

@LeonardD | SEPTEMBER 21, 2014: One article that just read related to the AWD model S was that the additional motor would only increase the cost by $1200,[...]

It was a Goldman Sachs analyst who said that after visiting the factory:

A prototype of Tesla Motors Inc next model, the Model X, will likely be unveiled at the Detroit auto show, analyts at Goldman Sachs said in a note Friday. The analysts visited the factory in Fremont, Calif. recently but didn't get to see the prototype of the SUV. The car will have a dual motor all-wheel drive feature, which points to "a superior driving experience for owners," but will add about $1,200 to the price, Goldman said. The Detroit auto show takes place in late January, with previews for the press starting Jan. 12.
[http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2014/09/19/goldman-tesla-model-x-p...

Iowa92x | 21 September, 2014

Balanced regen and reduced tire wear with AWD. Small cost for perceived increase in value by customers.

Brian H | 22 September, 2014

Yeah, many are finding more cost than that from overstressed rear performance tires (100% of both propulsion and regen).

Brian H | 22 September, 2014

Edit: more annual cost than that ...

NumberOne | 22 September, 2014

@Alex K. Thanks. The fact that it only applies to the Model S is why I mentioned it. The additional motor does not make much difference in the overall pricing (therefore cost to Tesla), so the cost impact of the additional motor only will be significantly less that estimates I have seen on this forum early on.

Red Sage ca us | 22 September, 2014

I agree the cost will be minimal. I still think that when AWD is offered on the Tesla Model ≡, there will probably be around a $5,000 premium for it. Unless... Tesla Motors decides to keep the price within the range of BMW 3-Series xDrive vehicles.

Brian H | 22 September, 2014

There will be a Model ≡-X (crossover), too, according to the reveal. It will sell 3X as fast as the sedan Model ≡, of course.