Folding Second Row Seats Design Challenge

Folding Second Row Seats Design Challenge

If the second row of seats are made to fold, flat what will the back of those seats look like? Assuming they will look like all other SUV folding seats then the people sitting in the third row will be facing a wall of gray felt. They will feel like they are sitting in a gray box without much of a view. Certainly a challenge to the designers.

AlMc | October 12, 2015

Give me the Great Gray Wall if the seats fold :)

aesculus | October 12, 2015

Personally I would like to tone down the shiny black, finger print ridden, easily scuffed seats I saw at the reveal. Just substituting a more appropriate finish would be OK with me. Probably a bit squarer too so there would not be as many gaps when folded down. | October 12, 2015

The Honda minivan second row seats are leather in the EX-L and higher grades and they fold.

I don't think the second row seats in the X will ever fold because of the way the seat belts have to be anchored.
In the Honda the two outboard seats can't fold up on you because the belts are anchored to the sides of the car. The belt for the middle seat is anchored to the roof.

In the X that is not possible because of the FW doors, I believe. Also, there isn't much roof available either. I think the second row belts are anchored to the floor behind the seats and pass through the seat backs. If the seats could fold, the seat belts probably couldn't prevent the seats from folding up on you in a collision.

aesculus | October 12, 2015

@george: If the seats could fold, the seat belts probably couldn't prevent the seats from folding up on you in a collision.

Why? The current seats do all what you describe today. The only difference is a hinge and lock that would not be utilized if someone was not sitting in the seat. You would base the design on the seats they have today. Maybe widen up the backs to eliminate some of the gap at the shoulders.

So are you saying you don't think Tesla cannot figure out how to make a strong enough hinge and lock/catch? Seems pretty trivial to me compared to all the engineering that went into this car.

Mark Z | October 12, 2015

I suggested to make the artistic high gloss black plastic of all three seats in the second row, into artistic covers that are removable. See the 10/4/15 thread here:

The idea is to please everyone. The designers get to keep the non-folding seats when the black plastic seat back covers are on and the buyers get to fold the seats with carpet on the seat backs when the seat back covers are off. A win-win for everyone.

AlMc | October 12, 2015

@Mark Z: You are hired as a TM engineer! Win-win is always the best outcome.

aesculus | October 12, 2015

@Mark Z: There is a addendum to a seat thread on TMC where people are stating they are going to have their shinny black backs wrapped. Sounds like a plan to me.

I would actually really go for one of the treatments that the dash gets but it might get overwhelming.

Red Sage ca us | October 12, 2015

I would expect a panel on the back of the third row to fold further forward to cover a folded second row, forming a continuous level surface supported by and secured to latches on the back of the second row seats.

Mark Z | October 12, 2015

AIMc: Just as long as 2nd row folding seats occur, I know that will be a win for most everyone.

aesculus: I want leave the plastic seat backs alone. No pets and my passengers are careful. Model S still looks new inside after 3 years. I would use a shipping blanket if boxes were placed against the seat backs.

aesculus | October 12, 2015

@Mark Z: I know you were at the event. Did you look at Elon's car after about 10pm? The seat backs looked terrible. All scuffed and scratched. Not sure if that rubbed out or not.

Now I admit one reveal event is probably like a year or more of normal use (unless you have teenagers), so maybe in real life they won't look so bad so quickly.

Generally I favor non marring surfaces for places that can get scuffed, kicked or scraped. Like you, I carry a packing blanket in my SUV at all times to protect the interior when hauling things. The Model X will get a brand new blanky when it comes to our house.

Roamer@AZ USA | October 12, 2015

The black X display car, referred to as Elon's car, looked like food dropped on an ant hill the entire evening. Pretty sure that will be the next crash test car after the reveal. I am not a big fan of the shiny plastic backs but don't find it to be a big deal. I think Tesla was going for a real classy glamor look on the first batch of cars.

I imagine that once all the photos, auto press reports and marketing hype pass they can easily offer the flat fold carpeted slabs that many pine for. It can't be that hard to make a slab that folds.

Call it the next gen cargo box seat configuration. Any thing called next gen has to be better..right.

Ironic that Tesla didn't understand the flat fold seat crowd. They already lived thru flat fold seat crisis #1 with the next gen Model S seats. People had such a heart attack that the new seats didn't fold completely flat. They called each customer to makes sure they wanted second row next gen and make sure they knew the seats didn't fold completely flat. Then dropped second row next gen all together. I love the next gen second row on my P85D. Glad I got them before they stopped making them. I can't tell any difference from our S with original seats.

aesculus | October 13, 2015

@Roamer@AZ USA

Any thing called next gen has to be better..right.

No. This has now been replaced by Apple with Magic 2, for their new mouse and trackpad/keyboard. Next Gen is so Last Gen. :-)

AlMc | October 13, 2015

@Roamer: I have those next Gen second row seats in my 'D' and I find they fold just fine. No complaints from me if TM comes out with a similar seat for the X.

vandacca | October 13, 2015

What a great idea for Elon to let people handle his car all night. I'm sure they got great real-world testing data from the night. Maybe they'll find some weaknesses and fix them in the next few weeks/months.

Mark Z | October 13, 2015

"Did you look at Elon's car after about 10pm?'

aesculus: I took my best photos of Elon's Model X after 10 PM. View those photos on page 2.

The seat backs look good in my photos. Needed more light to show the flaws you found.