Inside info: no nosecone, 60/85kWh packs and front seat pano!!

Inside info: no nosecone, 60/85kWh packs and front seat pano!!

Interesting TMC thread (starting at post 99 on the link below) where "insiderinfo" posted a picture that appears to be a Computer-Aided Design model of the beta Model X. Shortly after posting the picture, TESLA contacted TMC and forced the Mods to remove the picture as "Proprietary Information". So it certainly looks legit, with the poster suspected to be from a 3rd party vendor working on a roof rack.

I did not get to see the picture before it was removed, but based on comments the following can be gleamed:

1) The nosecone is gone. RIP
2) The packs will remain 60 and 85kWh, but with cells with 20% better energy density, reducing weight. The poster claims that the reduction in weight is better for range than a larger pack (I am not so convinced by this).
3) There is a pano roof over the front seats!
4) It appears they will have a solution for the roof rack problem.

vandacca | 09/01/2015

Very exciting. Wish I got to see the photo. Never liked the nose-cose and glad to hear that weight is coming down. Hopefully they'll use some carbon fibre from BMW too to further reduce the weight.

However, I do agree with "insiderinfo" that reducing weight is a better way of increasing range, rather than just adding more batteries. I've already posted a detailed rationale twice to this forum, but in short, if you do the math, adding more batteries beyond 85kWh - 100kWh doesn't gain much more range.

In order to increase range, you have to attack it from multiple angles, like (a) reduce weight (b) improve aerodynamics (c) reduce rolling resistance (d) improve battery chemistry (e) increase power efficiency e.g with gears (f) better regen (g) more efficient electronics/software, etc.

Iowa92x | 09/01/2015

Vand, eventually 120 kw packs will be available that weigh less than the current 60 pack, so yes the batteries will continue to increase in energy and range.

ian | 09/01/2015

Just read the thread. Bummed to have missed the drawings. Excited to see it in the flesh!

ian | 09/01/2015

I'm only concerned about range at highway speeds where weight is much less important. I'll take a 100kWh pack please.

Then again. Where are those analyses vandacca? I'll have to read your rationale.

Thanks for posting mdemetri!

vandacca | 10/01/2015

@ian_t, my 2nd and latest post on this topic was from Dec 14, 2014

Reposted with added information:

I don't believe you can just simply "throw money" (i.e. just add more batteries) at a Model-X to extend the range. An increase in 40% more battery capacity (from 60kWh to 85kWh) only increases the range by 30%.

An additional 40% battery increase will likely only increase the range by ~20% and the law of diminishing returns is upon us. Also, the added weight will be a huge inconvenience for an already heavy vehicle. The 60kWh Model-S (95MPGe) is significantly more efficient than the 85kWh Model-S (89 MPGe). See Wiki.

Range is a very complex problem that needs to tackled by multiple paths (i.e. a system-design approach) There are more intelligent ways for Tesla to increase range, for example, better battery chemistry, lighter weight (body and/or battery pack), better aerodynamics, smarter regen, more efficient electronics, reducing rolling friction (e.g. thinner wheels), smarter energy-efficient software, etc.

Adding batteries alone, without addressing these other areas is a foolish and expensive approach that I don't believe Tesla can afford. I can believe that a slightly larger pack may be an option (e.g. 100kWh) but I would be very surprised if they go any higher than 100kWh with the current battery chemistry. They desperately need to reduce the battery-pack weight.

ian | 10/01/2015

Thanks vandacca! Making it easy for me by reposting. Much appreciated!

Those are some good points. A couple against the X will be weight (possibly addressed here with fewer batteries with better chemistry) and aerodynamics (hard to overcome the larger frontal area but maybe they've done some magic with the larger vehicle). I would prefer not to give up the grip of a wide sticky wheel/tire combo. Hopefully Tesla can make some range gains with the smarter regen, battery chemistry, electronics efficiencies and software efficiencies.

mdemetri | 10/01/2015

Insiderinfo claimed a 20% improvement in energy density for Model X packs. If energy density was not changing, than I agree the current 85kWh is a sweet spot and adding more cells has diminishing returns because of increased weight. However, if you improve energy density and therefore reduce weight by 20% (as claimed by insiderinfo), adding an extra 20% cells would certainly improve range as weight would be unchanged compared to the current 85kWh pack. A new 100kWh battery with 20% improvement in energy density would have a similar weight as the current 85kWh battery and therefore improved range.

Svenssons | 11/01/2015

@mdemetri: On Model S that is true but not for Model X because Model X is heavier than Model S excluding battery. Tesla want Model X to have pretty much the same range as Model S even if Model X is a larger car. One way to do it is try to reduce the car weight as much as possible.

Red Sage ca us | 11/01/2015

135 kWh or BUST! w00+!


james.nicklin | 12/01/2015

And while the Model X has a larger frontal area it was also stated to have a lower drag coefficient so in the end it may be as slippery and near the same weight as the Model S.

DZCPA | 12/01/2015

How many more miles will we get If 2 passengers lose a total of 200 pounds by eating less?

vandacca | 12/01/2015

@DZCPA wrote: How many more miles will we get If 2 passengers lose a total of 200 pounds by eating less?

@DZCPA, it depends. If you pay for Tesla's lipo-option, that excess fat can be extracted and converted by the lipolytic convertor. I estimate that you can get at least an added 0.25 miles/pound.

AlMc | 12/01/2015

#4 Solution for roof rack...........This has been a sticking point for many people. How can you have Falcon doors and a roof rack. It is my belief that the engineers can solve this by having the door open 'falcon style' if there is no roof rack. Once the roof rack is added that sensors in the roof switch the opening to 'van style'. | 12/01/2015

Panasonic 18650 cells weigh 45 grams each. A 20% weight reduction would add up to about 9 grams per cell.
The 85 kwh pack has 7104 cells for an approximate savings of about 140 pounds. If these cells were in a Model S, the weight savings would be about 3%. That might save 4-5 WH per mile, adding possibly 1.5% to range. Woo-hoo!

vandacca | 12/01/2015

@AIMc, there may be multiple roof rack solutions available when the Model-X becomes available. From everything I've seen thus far, it appears that the Falcon Wing Doors only pivot in one direction (pinch up). I very much doubt that the current hinge design will allow them to open like a van door, or any other way than what we've seen in the demos.

I expect there to be a roof rack that connects to the Model-X on the roof line over the front seats (in front of the falcon wing doors). There may be some kind of sliding mechanism to have them slide forward to allow the rear doors to open or if it's a narrow roof box, to slide side-to-side to allow one of the two back door to open.

Polybius | 13/01/2015

Model X is designed from the ground up to combine the space and functionality of a sport utility vehicle with seating for seven adults and the uncompromised performance of an electric car. It is an automobile above category.

Offered with 60 kWh, 85 kWh, and 85 kWh Performance options, every Model X comes standard with Dual Motor All Wheel Drive and brilliantly functional Falcon Wing Doors. These doors fold up and out of the way allowing easy access to the third row seat, even from the narrowest of parking spaces.

Red Sage ca us | 14/01/2015

I'm pretty sure the original Model X Reveal showed the car with a full panoramic roof.

Brian H | 14/01/2015

Recently I saw a claim the X would be able to tow a very slippery ski trailer, but no roof rack. Quote from NAIAS? | 15/01/2015

Another kind of roof rack would be motorized and synced with the FW doors. When the doors are closed, the roof rack, located in front of the FW doors would be in basic mode with payload extending toward the rear of the car. As a FW door starts to open, the motorized rack rotates 90 degrees moving the payload out of harm's way. When the FW door closes, the rack rotates back to basic mode. If the payload is skis that tend to flex, there could be an accessory that wraps around the end of the skis to cushion the ends of the skis from the roof of the car. How about that?

dbh | 15/01/2015 sorry, no. I see all sorts of disasters with that 90 degree rotation...but I'm still really curious to see what they do... | 15/01/2015

I'm working on the cyclist decapitation problem...

dbh | 15/01/2015

"carrying relatively normal amounts of @#$# on top of an SUV problem" > "decapitating cyclists problem"

Brian H | 15/01/2015

Seems like the long kite load would do the same in a sharp turn.

Sin_Gas | 16/01/2015

How bad does that hurt your range at 65 mph down the hiway? Or do you dare go down the hiway with that "special aero package"?

Sin Gas

Tstolz | 17/01/2015

Personally, I've always disliked roof racks. I find them hard to put on without damaging the car, they are hard to load due to the height, and they dramatically increase wind resistance at highway speeds. I like bumper style options for bikes as well as cargo. I hope Tesla does too ... They put stuff in the wind shadow of the car and they are easy to load.

Guy2095 | 19/01/2015

A 20% or so energy density improvement would let them get from 85kWh to 100kWh without significant penalty. With 100kWh to work from they will do whatever else it takes to get to 300 mile range. Those are magic mindshare numbers.

They've got everyone else now talking about 200 miles as the target and will delight in seeming to leap-frog and up the ante to 300. 265 just sounds like 200-something, even 285 doesn't impress, anything just almost 300 just doesn't cut it. As I've said before, the next steps will be to 75kWh and that lovely triple-digit 100kWh.

dbh | 19/01/2015

@Sin_Gas I haven't actually done a real measurement. But I went from the Bay Area to Tahoe and back with bikes and a glider on the car with no range issues at all. I went as fast as 70 no problem. I think maybe 25% drop in range, but that's a rough guess. It all still works out really well. | 20/01/2015

@Tstolz: Excellent observations about the drawbacks of roof racks. Fortunately, the Model X will have a FW door mode that will enable one to put a grappling hook in the side window and, ignoring the weight of the person that would ordinarily prevent the door from opening, the door lifts the person to roof height to easily reach the rotating roof rack. It will be a marvel of engineering efficacy and a real marketplace differentiator, especially for the height disadvantaged.

jjs | 20/01/2015

Ah george, I see you are at it again. A design worthy of Rube Goldberg. A solution sure to bring smiles to the vertically challenged and those unfairly punished by gravity for their massive mass.

vandacca | 20/01/2015

Once Tesla starts advertising, maybe they can hire Leonardo DiCapri and Kate Winslet to fix themselves on either side of the FW doors, with arms stretched wide, as they are lifted into the air, high above the Model-X, all while the theme to Titanic is playing in the background.

Make sure you add this to your patent-list @georgehawley. You'll make millions from this one. :)

Brian H | 20/01/2015

Millions of groans would be deafening. | 20/01/2015

Having breezed through the TMC thread referred to above, my BS meter has pegged. The battery pack info is the giveaway. Maintaining 60 and 85 kWh battery pack options with cells that are 20% more efficient does not add significant range as claimed by the OP from Ireland. The weight savings is only about 140 pounds and would add very little to the range of the vehicle, certainly not enough to compare to the MS. There would be a cost savings of $1000 to $2000 , depending on what Tesla pays Panasonic per cell. If Tesla has 18650 cells with 20% more energy capacity in the pipeline, the best way to add range would be to keep the weight the same and build battery packs with up to 7104 of the new cells, making the new packs up to 102 kWh.


I won't correct the typo.