Lack of Mirrors in Photos

Lack of Mirrors in Photos

Does anybody get the deal with the mirrors?

In every single photo that Tesla has put out, it seems to not have mirrors on both sides (left and right), and a rearview mirror. Are they planning to just do away with the rearview mirror all together due to the car's back-height?

Alex K | 4 November 2013

Those photos you are referring to are from an old Model X prototype. They were looking at removing the mirrors to reduce drag and substituting cameras instead. Here is a photo of the current prototype where you can see all 3 mirrors.

Model X doors open

logicalthinker | 4 November 2013

yes, unfortunately, they did away with the camera idea due to legislative red tape prohibitions AFAIK.

Change happens slowly, and there's only so far Tesla can push the envelope when they have to get it approved by the gov't.

The cheesy Volkswagen XL1 in Europe seems to have been approved to have cameras instead of mirrors.

On the topic of cameras, I think if cameras are ever used by Tesla, they should have little camera washer/wiper systems to deal with fog, rain, dirt, etc.

rmitchum | 11 November 2013

gwen001 **SPAM** flagged!

ian | 11 November 2013

Flagged it's well.

ian | 11 November 2013

Stupid iPhone "as well".

Remnant | 24 April 2014


[On March 31, 2014,] Tesla, together with the 12-member Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asking for permission to substitute conventional side- and rear-view mirrors with high-tech cameras.

After giving a thumbs up to NHTSA on its decision, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Auto Alliance), which includes the BMW Group, Chrysler Group LLC, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz USA, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen Group and Volvo Cars North America, issued the following statement:

“Today, the Alliance is petitioning NHTSA to allow automakers to use cameras as an option to the conventional side-view and rearview mirrors. Today’s mirrors provide a robust and simple means to view the surrounding areas of a vehicle. Cameras will open opportunities for additional design flexibility and innovation. This idea has been in development since the 1990s, when the U.S. Department of Energy partnered with automakers to produce an energy-efficient concept car with cameras instead of side-view mirrors.”

According to an Autonews report, Tesla and the Alliance claim that replacing side mirrors with cameras will have major benefits in aerodynamics, and consequently, fuel consumption, without affecting safety.

JJ Cleghorne | 22 May 2014

Keep the mirrors. Any camera malfunction and the car becomes a danger to drive.

vandacca | 22 May 2014

I disagree. These cameras are fairly reliable. You're more likely to loose your traditional mirror by someone getting too close to the vehicle. I would also argue that the drive motor on power mirrors would fail before a camera. In any case, the backup is to use your neck to look behind, not too bad of a work-around until the mirror (either traditional or camera) is repaired.


holidayday | 22 May 2014

I wonder if this is part of the Model X delay. . .

Order parts for:
Mirrors with Camera inserts

until this becomes a law, they won't know which parts to order!

vandacca | 22 May 2014

The delay is due to typical small start-up software companies in Silicon valley: unrealistic expectations and inability to accurately forecast milestones.

With regards to the mirrors, it's ironic that the US Government is mandating that all vehicles by 2018 have a backup camera! I think it's only a matter of time before traditional mirrors will be replaced with high tech cameras.


JJ Cleghorne | 22 May 2014

@ Dan: I've been driving various cars with mirrors for over 45 years with not one mirror issue. So, I vote for mirrors. More simple than an electronic version for sure. Moreover, it gives the car a finished look.

JJ Cleghorne | 22 May 2014

In regard to the drive motors failing. If this is happening, you've had the car too long. Again, I have had much less expensive cars than any Tesla with power windows, that I've had for over twenty years with not one failure. I'm not saying it doesn't happen but if does, it's a rarity.

Brian H | 22 May 2014


Forecasting milestones is easy; forecasting arrival at them is not! TM is taking Big Bites, as evidenced by the Gigafactory project. I suspect the results of the production line upgrade this July will change the landscape and outlook somewhat for the next milestones.

TonyInNH | 22 May 2014

I say go for the cameras. I'm always up for innovation and electronics have come a long way over the years.

jjs | 23 May 2014

I have been using mirrors for 40+ years. Ditch them. I've used them enough. Cameras are superior.

vandacca | 23 May 2014

"@JJ Cleghorne": I guess we must agree to disagree. :) Only when reverse cameras become mainstream will we be able to tell for certain which is better. I've had my driver-side mirror repaired about 3 times, twice due to some film forming between the glass/mirror layers. I've given up and learned to deal with the latest film as it's not as big as in the past and only minimally affects my view.

Personally, I like the look of the small sleek cameras over the large ear shaped mirrors. But there is no denying the potential advantages of cameras:
- smaller frontal footprint creates less drag than standard mirrors, thereby increasing EV range
- video enhancements can improve night time vision
- reduction or elimination of blind spots
- cameras can be used to warn driver during a lane change (of obstacles/vehicles) or approaching bikes
- video enhancements can reduce night time glare due to car headlights
- cameras can be used to add more safety features and eventually to self-driving cars
- if implemented, motorized cameras could actually retract into the door when parked to eliminate the possibility of getting damaged.
- cameras could be mounted in whole new locations (front fender, A-frame, etc.) that could offer additional improvements or give car designers more flexibility.

Basically, by implementing cameras countless new features/improvements are possible.


AlMc | 23 May 2014

The mirrors might be on the list of what is holding up finalization of the X design. However, the major issue, as described by EM himself at the Q1 Conference call is getting the mechanics of the Falcon doors right.

Solarwind | 25 May 2014

I sure hope the cameras make it in the final production. Mirrors are out of date, draggy, noisy, and a collision hazard. | 30 May 2014

Mirrors are definitely practical. The drag they create is probably less than that created by your dog sticking his head out of the window. That having been said, I have had mirror problems over the years including getting broken off. Some of the little problems like fogging up, need for adjustments without having to reach out to twist them around, and bright headlights behind me have been dealt with by adding motors, heaters, and electronic filters, all at added cost and complexity.
High def cameras with wide angle lenses wouldn't require any moving parts or motors and would probably be cheaper than mirrors. But cameras aren't foolproof. They get wet, and dirty. I notice that my backup camera washes out in bright sunlight to be nearly useless. I notice that it gets water on it and becomes nearly useless.
These problems along with bright headlights can probably be solved at some added cost. But I'm thinking of a camera that sees a little bugger sneaking up on me in the next lane and whose video is constantly analyzed by an on board computer that severely rebukes me for trying to change lanes when I fail to see the guy. That's my kind of rear view camera. Try that with your dumb mirror...

Brian H | 31 May 2014

The drag is documented at about 5% of the total. Dog heads' effect varies with the size of the dog. ;)

jjs | 31 May 2014

Train your dog to look backward when it's head is out the window and bark when the little bugger gets in your blind spot. Hopefully PITA won't have a problem with that! :)

jjs | 31 May 2014

....or was that PETA. :)

Tâm | 14 June 2014

A sample of mirrorless from Nissan at Le Mans:

Red Sage ca us | 17 June 2014

Tam: Thanks for sharing the video! It's very nice to see that the option of running mirrorless is taken with such seriousness.

runonmd1 | 18 June 2014

Please, folks...

It's, "I hate to lose (whatever)...," not "loose..."

vandacca | 19 June 2014

@runonmd1, pay not attention to the loosers on this forum who can't spell. ;)


Brian H | 20 June 2014

Hopefully the loosers wear Attends ...

petero | 24 June 2014

Personally, I would like to see Tesla consider including cameras into the side mirror assembly to further increased visibility. Having cameras in the side mirrors will make it easier for federal and state governments to approve. Eventually it will catch on, side mirrors will get smaller and ultimately disappear. Tesla can make it an option.

Guycocoa | 25 June 2014

Where are the images from the side view cameras displayed? If it is not inside the doors in place of where you'd expect to see the reflections from the mirrors it might be disconcerting or at least take some time to get used to it.

Red Sage ca us | 25 June 2014

Guycocoa: I saw a demonstration run of the Tesla Model X by c|net on YouTube. The camera displayed on either side of the circular speedometer at the driver position. The left side was one mirror, the right side was another.

Red Sage ca us | 25 June 2014

Here is yet another video, that shows all three camera angles displayed at once at the driver position:

Inside the Tesla Model X

Brian H | 25 June 2014

2012 video. Front motor was still "optional".

Tâm | 7 July 2014

Why talk about mirrors when Airbus filed patent that Pilots don't even need windows:

They could fly from the cargo area, from tail section... and all they need is hologram and monitors :)

Red Sage ca us | 7 July 2014

That's pretty awesome.

Of course, the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 had a secondary bridge a long time ago, so...