Delivery issues may be due to overheating when towing: Wikipedia and Green Car Reports

Delivery issues may be due to overheating when towing: Wikipedia and Green Car Reports

"Deliveries began on September 29 2015. Among the reasons for delay are problems with the falcon-wing doors and cooling the motors when hauling trailers.[10]"

Wiki cites their info from an earlier Green Car Report:

rossRallen | 15 November 2015

Hard to believe after three years of R&D that Tesla is dealing with these two issues now.

Of course, who knows what the latest delay is due to, but I'll guess it had to do with parts for the second row seats rather than anything structural or due to overheating. Those should—should—have been discovered and remedied years ago.

I'm sure Tesla has run Falcon Wing doors through 10's of 1000 of cycles in life test looking for stress failures, wear, misalignment, etc.

Tâm | 15 November 2015


Thanks for the references.

It's a new challenge as Tesla moved from non-towing Model S to 5,000 pound towing capacity for Model X.

All the concerns cited by the article are very reasonable and those are fundamental issues.

The question is did Tesla solve all those issues before delivering the Founders Series almost 2 months ago?

On Q3 2015 Call, Elon explained the delays are due to trivial issues:

"We're making steady progress with each passing week. Actually, seven days a week, every day, I get an update on manufacturing progress and what the issues are. And we see no fundamental issues on the production ramp. It's just a question of how quickly we can solve each issue. I mean they are really down to like the little things, like the placement of the seal on the door and whether that results in the bright trim alignment being correct, this is quite nuanced. So we feel very confident of being able to get to several hundred vehicles per week by the end of the year."

So, who do you want to believe?

aljjr2 | 15 November 2015

This is a re-post of an article from February of 2015. Whether these are the current issues is someone suspect.

aljjr2 | 15 November 2015

correction: somewhat suspect.

shop | 15 November 2015

That green car reports (February 2015) doesn't make sense when talking about cooling. It correctly states that there is a glycol coolant loop running through the motors (and battery), but then incorrectly states that the heat is just radiated away in radiators. What actually happens is that there is a heat exchanger block that the glycol runs through, and an AC refrigerant on the other side to better take the heat away.

But, I have long worried about the cooling capabilities of the Model X, and have asked Tesla on several occasions about it and been answered with "we don't know", which is not reassuring.

Ross1 | 15 November 2015

Do you think that might be the 'fix' they needed in Feb, has been solved by the method you posit?

shop | 15 November 2015

@Ross, no. The cooling system I described above is what the Model S uses which presumably is also what Model X uses. The point I was trying to make is that green car reports didn't know what they were writing about, which makes the whole article suspect in my opinion.

So, I don't know if the Model X has a cooling problem, and I don't know it doesn't and my attempts to find out from Tesla have been met with a reply that basically says, "we don't know", and that specs will be communicated by end of year.

adamgreen | 15 November 2015

I didn't see a shred of evidence in that speculative navel-gazing from GreenCarReports, let alone proof positive.

The only fact we have is that precious few Model X cars have reached their buyers and those handful of privileged folks are not your streetwalking car buyers, they're friends and allies, captains of industry and billionaire software IPO founders. That's all the damning criticism that exists based on the facts, so far as I know.

For this report to be true, requires the Tesla CEO to be a bold-faced liar and that would be a literal billion dollar bluff with absolutely no way to win.

If the production delay was some problem with towing and cooling systems, as with other shortfalls, the Tesla approach is simply to decontent the product and offer customers the car "as is" or wait or get a retrofit (either free or at some considerable cost.)

If it's the frame rigidity for the doors (that's consistent with comments of "door seals") or regulatory compliance of the seats (or quality or other production issues) that seems like "real and material information" which a public company cannot fail to disclose to investors in a timely fashion. Again, that falls into the category of "impossible bluff" so I just don't see the logic of insinuations that Elon Musk is a bold-faced liar and the Model X is smoke and mirrors.

I certainly wish Tesla could have been more communicative and announced, say in June, "oh yeah, looks like a year before you'll get your order built, so please keep your place in the order queue, we'll probably do a launch and some early founder series cars this year and get into the full swing of production Q2 2016." Then I'd have been free to order a Model S or get a plug-in hybrid of some sort (Cayenne e-hybrid isn't that bad.) Then updated to the Model X when it was ready for prime time. Instead, like a failing high school student, we get silence and murmuring of maybe having their homework done a few days late only to find ou

If you look at how the "launch" of the X "decontented" the car (no mention of Autopilot?) I don't think the factory would be facing too many "dealbreaker" customers if they said "the car's not ready for towing, so the only hitch for now is the bicycle carrier thing, and we'll maybe retrofit or give you a cost-effective upgrade path next year, no guarantees."
I think if it was that "egg on the face" and then ship 10,000 cars and book the profits, the egg would taste delicious and be a youthful skin moisturizing, too!
Subjectively, if Mr Tesla said "here's your X, note the absence of hitch options" I'd take the car and update in a year or whenever it made sense -- and I really want to be able to tow a small solar powered boat and a snowmobile, but I didn't order the X because it was promised to be able to tow.
I just don't see how "cooling" or any other uninformed, spurious rumor-mongering is useful to customers, investors or the company.
If it's not the seats or the door seals and if somehow rocket-scientist-level engineers had sticky slide rulers when they calc'd the roof structure for the Falcon door hinges (seriously?) then $TSLA is about to be the short of the millennium -- it will be back to its $18 IPO till the X ships and the 3 fills in that lascivious gap between the S and the X ... : )

Unless something incomprehensibly bizarre has happened, it's just absurd to assert that the CEO is now just plain lying about production delays and somehow a conspiracy has blanketed the whole organization so that not one whistleblower has come out to say "it's not the seats, it's the cooling system!"
Personally, I think the seats were folly, and if Tesla knows anything about electric vehicle engineering, it's surely AWD performance under load ... hell, they could easily solve the problem with software: "for towing, we've implemented a software algorithm that backs all the power out of the drivetrain to increase range and reduce cooling system loads, if the vehicle detects hitch load and senses increasing load on the cooling system, expect to experience significantly reduced power."
Who knows, maybe the regenerative braking is a limiting factor and they've reached a safe and regulatory compliance issue that the brakes can't stop the vehicle under all circumstances say on a downhill grade in traffic? Again, I'd say they just decontent the hitch and build the car. If the Falcon door seals leak under some peculiar condition (drive-thru car wash ... leaves and debris blocking drainage ... four feet of packed melting snow on the roof causing the sensors to malfunction and self-destruct the hinges?) I'd say "calculate the warranty issues, write up precautions in the user manual" and then build the car with aforethought to a retrofit of whatever magnetized fridge door seal they end up using.
If I was to sling a cat around and see what it knocks off the coffee table, I'd say that wrap-over windshield is prone to gremlins. But until there's facts in the open, I think the only fair and reasonable understanding is to take the Tesla CEO at his word: they shouldn't have put so much into those second row seats, but now they're "this" close and it's embarrassing that they need more time to iron out production issues whether it's in engineering or regulatory compliance and certification or underwriting liability or just contracts with OEMs to build the seats.
Personally, I'm itching to buy the X, but I expect I'll soon assume it's just not happening, I'll pick up a Cayenne e-hybrid, I'll order a Model S to be built in January 2016 and the X can wait till it's a complete product without these early adopter product foibles.

Tâm | 15 November 2015


The fact that only a very few Model X circulated among the very VIP would encourage all kinds of theories for the delay even though Elon said just "little things"

My observation is: Model X testing mules have not been spotted a long time ago.

They have been spotted either on test track or public streets quite recently but only about a year ago, not 2, not 3 or more years ago.

What rarer is spotting Model X testing mules hauling weights.

One earliest sighting doing this in a very long past was about 3 months ago:

The question is: Has Model X got enough test runs in hauling 5,000 pound trailer uphill for years to evaluate any effect on the power train as well as structural strains.

For short term, at least, did Tesla voluntarily obtain SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) J2807 certification?

"J2807 sets a minimum speed for the truck-trailer combination when climbing a specific mountain grade — the so-called "Davis Dam" grade that climbs eastward out of the Colorado River valley at Laughlin, Nevada. Cooling systems must bear the strain of the 11-mile trip when the outside temperature is at least 100 degrees and the air-conditioner is set to full blast."

Ross1 | 16 November 2015

I suppose I could research this, but do not really know how, but aren't the Founders who got the cars the big investors, rather than Elon's friends?

And if anyone ever sees a Founder on the road (foundering?), could you look see if it has a towbar?

In all likelihood the Founders may have such an agreement (that they do not tow until overheating is resolved).

Just a thought. Doesn't really affect me.

Tâm | 16 November 2015


There is no question that Model X can tow.

It does tow.

You can see it in the Launch Event Video.

That is not the concern.

The concern is in a rush, could there be things that are missed such as you didn't have enough time to get SAE J2807 certification. You didn't have time to initially say that 10,000 pound capacity was wrong. And you didn't have time initially saying that 5,000 pound capacity was also wrong for 22" tires and so on...

But could those issues cause delays? We are not insiders so we have no ideas.

medplex | 16 November 2015

Delivering 5 cars on the last day of the quarter without any ability to manufacture more cars and calling it a product launch is nothing short of a mockery and a sham.

Although the earnings call implied there would be Model X deliveries before the end of the year previous statements called the manufacturing process the most difficult ever for a car. I believe the latter statement will be cited by the CEO when the clock strikes in the new year and no Signature cars have been delivered.
Everytime I open up my Tesla page I am taunted by the reminder that I put a deposit down in December 2012 for a general production car. I can only imagine what the Signature Series people are feeling having deposited $40,000 3 years ago.

Ankit Mishra | 16 November 2015

As far as I know from reading the posts of Sig owners on this forum, they are happily waiting for the car. They know they are going to get the car in next 1-2 months. Though they are concerned about the 48A charger issue.

shop | 16 November 2015

@Tam, thanks for the info on the J2807 standard. I've just sent an email to Tesla asking them if they are certifying Model X to this standard. Here's a better article that explains it. Basically, the standard says that at whatever tow rating the manufacturer gives (5,000 pounds in the case of Model X), you must be able to do the tests described, one of which is towing 5,000 pounds up an 11 mile long highway 3,000 foot elevation, full AC, two 150 pound passengers, no less than 40 mph.

aesculus | 16 November 2015

That sounds like a reasonable test. In Calif we have the Grapevine grade on I5. Going South there is a Supercharger at Tajon Ranch just before the grade so you can charge up first :-)

WSE51 | 18 November 2015

I was recently on a factory tour and there were several MX going through what appeared to be a mostly complete production line. Maybe one in 15 cars being made were MX scattered amongst the MS. If there was any fundamental problem with the MX why would they waste money producing them? More likely is that some minor part(s) are late or need tweaking, and they are storing the mostly-complete MX in the building and will complete them all very rapidly when the issue is resolved. The factory is so large they could store thousands of cars out of the view of the public.

clublon | 18 November 2015

S's and X's on the same line? When I toured we were shown the separate X line from a distance. Which I understand will also be the line the S's will be moved to when model 3 is being made.

ken | 18 November 2015

WSE51 | NOVEMBER 18, 2015, THANKS, that clearly answers one question that I have had concerning a mix on the line. Now a second question is, were the colors mixed on the line or batched?

ian | 18 November 2015

@clublon and ken - There are 2 separate "body" lines (the second can handle both S's and X's) where the pieces are welded together to get the final "body in white" or plain metal structure. There is 1 "final assembly" line where the vehicles come after painting to have drivetrains, seats, dashes, windows, etc. installed.

WSE51 | 18 November 2015

I did not notice the colors being batched. Also the MX were interspersed amongst the MS on the line, not all batched together.

ian | 18 November 2015

Cool. Thanks for the info WSE51!

Rajkrishnan9 | 19 November 2015

V r all happy to wait for EM to deliver nothing but the best ever
No matter how much time u give urself for a project prep last minute issues always cause snags

Spacex valued @12b!!!

Mx res#17nnn