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Model X Delay. What is taking so long?

Model X Delay. What is taking so long?

Article in USA today and various media outlets

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/10/16/tesla-model-x-delay/...

I bet it's the falcon wing doors that are taking so long. It can't be easy to get those just right. Maybe they are re-designing something?
Any ideas?

NumberOne | 16/10/2014

I am not sure that there will be much of a delay. The next earnings call is November 4th, and something might be said at that point, since there is only two and a half months left before the end of the year as of today anyway.

I am willing to wait, because the thought of driving the car at some point in the near future is enough to retain my enthusiasm.

One thing that is certain, is that most of the initial signature deliveries will be geographically close to the factory. Elon has said this in a recent interview. The reason is that with any new product, there may be manufacturing problems in the first few batches. The same was done with Model S, and things have worked out well with minimal problems. With the first deliveries near the factory, it will be easier to recall the vehicles to the factory to address any issues that might occur.

I am close to 3000 on the list (if one includes all the US signatures.), so I should get mine within the first couple of months once deliveries begin in earnest.

TonyInNH | 16/10/2014

Not sure what's taking so long, but I REALLY wish Tesla would make an official announcement either way.

Steve18 | 16/10/2014

Just say something Elon. How do you have this whole big modified S Hawthorne hype build up and then show, and not say a peep to the thousands patiently waiting with their order in on your next big thing???

dlake | 16/10/2014

If they are going to begin deliveries in Q4, shouldn't there be MXs in Tesla stores by now?

I bet they are having trouble with something and need to re-design. Making an automobile from the ground up is freakin hard to do! Even more difficult with new technology that is rapidly changing.

Or maybe they are waiting on a new battery geometry to fit more into the battery case so the MX has similar range as the MS.
Thoughts?

Steve18 | 16/10/2014

Deliveries are not happening in Q4. Be lucky to have a handful out before Q2 '15.

TonyInNH | 16/10/2014

I did take it as something of a slight when he didn't even mention it at "The Event". I realize everyone was just guessing as to what his tweet meant, but, come on, to hint at 'something else' and not even mention the X, that's just plain cruel.

Jonathangarner | 17/10/2014

I am pretty sure the Falcon wings are the hold up and that they will make production. I wonder if Tesla ever considered a normal door combined with a rear hinged half door for a clam shell opening like the old RX8? It seems that that would solve a lot of issues and be a viable alternative to a sliding minivan door.

dlake | 17/10/2014

@Jonathangarner- Do you have a link to a picture of the type of door you are talking about?

dlake | 17/10/2014

If they have too much trouble with the falcon wing doors, maybe they could make the doors open like they do on Koenigsegg cars. That would allow people to put roof racks on their MXs.

http://www.koenigsegg.com/models/agera-s/

ronmerkord | 17/10/2014

I am still puzzled at why so many people are assuming that it is the falcon wing doors that are the holdup on the X. When I look at the overall picture, the doors seem to be the easiest issue to design. There are other issues that seem more likely to cause delays.

The first, of course, is battery supply. Right now, the supply of batteries from Panasonic is just enough to supply the MS product line, and that product line has to be sustained at its current level for economic reasons. Once Panasonic increases the allotment for Tesla, or Sanyo steps in, or the gigafactory comes online, then the battery bottleneck will not be an issue.

The next issue has been the dual motor drive. We have just recently seen this issue resolved with the D, but only recently. Dual motor drive with no mechanical linkage is a very complex issue, and the Tesla patents for this were only filed a couple of months ago. Just read through the patents to see what a complex issue this has been.

The other issue which may be delaying things are the side mirrors. If I were Elon, and I wanted the X to have blow-your-socks-off styling and increased range, I would want to wait for the approval of the side cameras. Sure, the X could be released without it, but given that approval is only months away, would you want an X now, just to have a side camera version be released a couple of months later?

I'll also add in a delay from the ever present unknown issue, which I'm sure exists that I just haven't thought of.

As much as I dislike the delays, after seeing personally the amazing jump in technology at the D event, I'm convinced that the X release will be another impressive jump in technology, and I'm convinced the wait will be worth it.

Ron
SigX #1015

jjs | 17/10/2014

+1 Ron

danny | 17/10/2014

FWIW, I believe the side mirrors are NOT a relevant risk, either way. They aren't integral structure.

The camera-side mirrors can be retrofitted, from what I've observed. Hey, Tesla has already demonstrated an ability to retrofit significant design changes into all model so's through the auto-retract retrofit.

In fact, I suspect camera side mirrors WILL be retro-fittable components for model s and x. I doubt they would require significant effort.

vandacca | 17/10/2014

@danny, I hate to disagree with you, but I can't imagine Tesla retrofitting cameras on the MS. They would have to put in the wiring from the door all the way to the console requiring the whole front dash and side door to be to be dismantled and removed. It doesn't seem to be very simple considering it wasn't designed to work that way from the start.

If they implement the MX with side camera capability, then it would be fairly straight forward to switch them after delivery. However, if that's not designed up front, then I can't see them retrofitting them after delivery.

My brother has one of the original MS without the self-folding, motorized side-mirrors. He can't get it retrofitted - he would need to get a whole new vehicle. I expect cameras to be tons more complicated than the motorized side mirrors.

danny | 17/10/2014

Time will tell. I've read narratives from folks on these forums that have had the motorized mirrors retrofitted.

gfb107 | 18/10/2014

Hard to speculate since we don't know where the feed from these side-view cameras are displayed. I expect somewhere close to the lower front corners of the front windows, otherwise the user experience would be too different.

When the side-view cameras do make it into production vehicles, I'm sure Tesla will integrate them into the safety and auto-pilot systems.

georgehawley.fl.us | 18/10/2014

It costs very little to install wiring and set aside fuse positions for likely future add ons. Might require a terminating circuit board substitution but that should be easy. If and when the time comes.

They should have done that in model S for the sonar, camera and radar add-ons for retrofits IMO.

David Trushin | 18/10/2014

I believe the delay is a) because the range of the vehicle is much less than required. The expectations for an SUV must be at least as much as the S because the SUV will be expected to go to places without superchargers (like national parks). However, with the larger body and the higher profile I think they are having trouble achieving even minimum numbers. How high does an SUV have to be above the ground? 8 inches, 10 inches? This is one of the risks you take when you market a minivan as an SUV.

Also b) because people will expect to be able to take this car off road (
SUV get it?) the battery is going to need to be reinforced from below for its entire length. That's a lot of titanium.

They may be mulling over rebranding the car as a minivan or utility van. Then they could lower the profile and keep it under 6 inches. They still hit the target market. They also don't have to reinforce the battery shield more than they do today.

This, of course, is just as much speculation as all the other reasons and there is no facts in back of it (other than the physics of air resistance).

SamusAranX | 18/10/2014

"the battery is going to need to be reinforced from below for its entire length"

Not really. The titanium shield protects the battery from things getting jammed when going highway speeds. I doubt you would need titanium shields for off-roading.

That said, I don't think Tesla is advertising it as an off-roading vehicle. BTW, It's a CUV, not an SUV.

"They may be mulling over rebranding the car as a minivan or utility van."

Huh? No. They don't want it to feel like a minivan.

"Then they could lower the profile and keep it under 6 inches. "

There's no way they would make such a drastic change at this point.

rossRallen | 18/10/2014

Given that the Tesla design studio quotes a 2-3 months delivery after order for premium MSs, I suppose that an early November announcement of the MX will likely push first Signature deliveries until February - at least.

There are more than 20,000 reservations (~$140 million in deposits) that are starving for real news and opportunities to see the X. That's a lot of pent-up frustration with the delays.

Would I buy my SigX without a chance to see or drive it? Well, ...probably ...yes. But, that's not very good customer service and I hope that doesn't happen.

At least with all the delays the X will likely have all the autopilot features available in the S upgrade.

Also, no matter what performance options are available, I live where there are a lot of potholes and it's the 19" wheels for me.

Jeffolee | 18/10/2014

All the images of the Model X on the website show side view cameras now instead of mirrors. Maybe they've worked it out with the regulators?

Red Sage ca us | 19/10/2014

ronmerkford wrote, "The other issue which may be delaying things are the side mirrors. If I were Elon, and I wanted the X to have blow-your-socks-off styling and increased range, I would want to wait for the approval of the side cameras."

In terms of design, I'm pretty sure the biggest delay with the Tesla Model X has been to get an exemption on the rear view mirrors being replaced with cameras.

ronmerkford wrote, "Sure, the X could be released without it, but given that approval is only months away, would you want an X now, just to have a side camera version be released a couple of months later?"

Precisely. Tesla Motors does pay attention to their Customers. The uproar over people wanting the automatically folding mirrors last year, but missing the cut, was bad... The idiocy that ensued when Tesla released vehicles with upgraded hardware for Autopilot a few weeks ago further displays how unreasonable people can be about options being different from one car to the next.

David Trushin suggested, "Also b) because people will expect to be able to take this car off road (SUV get it?) the battery is going to need to be reinforced from below for its entire length. That's a lot of titanium."

I would expect that the 'X' in Model X stands for 'Crossover', as in CUV -- Crossover Utility Vehicle. It is not an SUV -- Sport Utility Vehicle -- at all. I do not believe that Tesla Motors will be marketing it as an off-road vehicle, at least not to start. No fording rivers and streams, no spelunking over rocks, no bounding over whoop-de-doos are in the immediate future for the Model X.

Should it have better road clearance than the Model S? Sure. I expect that the air suspension on the Model X will cover a greater range than the Model S. But I also think that its 'LOW' setting will be about the same. The Model X will compete primarily with cars that will rarely see lawn, pasture, or dirt road duty. It may be used on gravel from time to time, but almost always will be on paved roads, whether cobblestone, concrete, or asphalt.

rossRallen wrote, "Also, no matter what performance options are available, I live where there are a lot of potholes and it's the 19" wheels for me."

I hope for your sake that 19" wheels are available. I rather suspect that wheels for the Model X will climb to as much as 24" in some trim levels.

I do think that Tesla Motors hopes to expedite and accelerate everything they do from this point forward. They know that people are rather peeved by waiting for the Model X. They know that Naysayers are doing their level best to discourage everyone that will listen.

I believe that if so many with the option of requesting a Signature Series Model X are seeing 2014 on the dashboard, it is very possibly either: 1) a glitch...; or 2) Tesla Motors really intends to get them to you by Christmas.

Didn't someone mention that there are executive stock option incentives for Elon Musk getting Model X out the door to Customers before the end of this year?

Brian H | 19/10/2014

RS;
Elon (IIRC has made some fairly ambitious claims about MX off-roading, albeit not full-bore cross-country stuff. We'll see. I doubt it will be purely a soccer mom's dream.

Brian H | 19/10/2014

edit: Elon (IIRC) has made ...

David Trushin | 19/10/2014

If you look at the model x page it clearly says SUV not CUV, although it doesn't specify what aspects of an SUV it will have. However , just extrapolating from the rampant speculation that goes on at this forum, i am almost certain that there is someone who expects the x to have the off road capability of a mars rover.

Besides, what is a CUV anyway, a small station wagon?

sg021.pa.us | 19/10/2014

The C in CUV is crossover, which is vague but generally considered to be a utility vehicle built on a car platform. SUV is traditionally built on a truck platform.

Alex K | 19/10/2014

@vandacca | OCTOBER 17, 2014: My brother has one of the original MS without the self-folding, motorized side-mirrors. He can't get it retrofitted - he would need to get a whole new vehicle. I expect cameras to be tons more complicated than the motorized side mirrors.

Not related to this thread, but just wanted to point out that I had my Model S was retrofitted with the folding mirrors. It's an earlier model car, but they were able to do it. They had to replace the wringing harness in all 4 doors, which added to the cost ($2966 total). I bought it as a Christmas present to myself last year along with the updated fog lights.

vandacca | 19/10/2014

Thanks @Alex K. $2,966 seems really steep price for power mirrors (and fog lights), especially compared to a non-retrofitted package price.

Red Sage ca us | 20/10/2014

David Trushin wondered, "Besides, what is a CUV anyway, a small station wagon?"

sg021 clarified, "The C in CUV is crossover, which is vague but generally considered to be a utility vehicle built on a car platform. SUV is traditionally built on a truck platform."

Yes, precisely. Crossovers are typically based on the same platform as a sedan. Often they are on front-wheel-drive platforms, but will be offered in all-wheel-drive versions. Think in terms of the Honda Crosstour, and various Subaru vehicles.

Meanwhile, SUVs are typically modified from a truck platform. When the Ford Explorer first appeared, one of my buddies specifically called it, "A Ranger, with a camper shell." That isn't too far off the mark, really.

Minivans are basically an outgrowth of what had been called tall wagons in Japan. You take an automobile platform that would typically have the same ceiling height for sedan and wagon versions, and just make it a bit taller. People preferred the handling, ride, and fuel economy of minivans to full sized vans, which were literally on the same platform as pickup trucks, and later, SUVs.

Brian H: I would not expect a Tesla Model X to be used the same way as a Jeep Wrangler or Range Rover Discovery. I believe those are truly off-road capable vehicles, capable of blazing their own trails through the wilderness. As I've mentioned before, I think that the Model X will be extremely popular here in Los Angeles, where it will be welcomed with open arms by posers who will never drive it through dirt, sand, mud, or gravel -- just as they have every other status symbol SUV/CUV over the past couple of decades. But for those who intend to use it on actual roads, the Model X will be very capable in all weather conditions, and that is the point, I think.

David Trushin | 21/10/2014

All this is very true. The original SUVs were built on truck chassis. Chevy blazer was built on the S5 and Ford explorer on the pickup. But after about a decade, people started complaining about the rough ride and height, so they gradually switched to car chassis and started calling them crossovers. Then they started to incorporate feature more likely found in minivans like 3rd row seating and single piece rear doors. There are still one or two true SUVs still out there, like the rove or wrangler, but now any car that doesn't look like a sedan or coupe is called an SUV or often just a crossover. Most just function like a good old station wagon.

If the X had a sliding door instead of the falcon wing, what would you call it?

jjs | 21/10/2014

A grounded bird.

NumberOne | 21/10/2014

An AWD with a sliding door... What else? SUV and ATV is not the same thing.

sg021.pa.us | 22/10/2014

Just going back to the OP, I don't think any additional delay would be design related. I'm sure others here are engineers like myself. I work for a much smaller company and our projects are drastically simpler than a car. However, there are basic ideas that are always true. The longer in the product life cycle it takes you to catch a problem, the exponentially more difficult it is to fix. You would want to be as confident as possible in what you've got before taking the next steps of setting up a production line and going into manufacturing.

To avoid a late in the game disaster you identify new or otherwise risky aspects of a project at the beginning. You are then able to focus on the prototyping and testing of those technologies separately and early. Tesla has shown functional falcon doors to the public for over 2.5 years. I'm sure they caused a delay and were a pain to perfect, but at this point they are done and finished. There is no way there's going to be a last second door switch, that is crazy. Doing more major design, procurement, and testing after you've already updated your factory line is ludicrous. The design is locked down. The only changes will be those arising from the manufacturing process and testing of the initial alpha / beta cars.

Just my two cents, FWIW.

Remnant | 22/10/2014

Here are my speculations about three innovation areas that could explain some of the MX production delays:

(1) Cameras: We should recall that the concept MX was presented with side cameras, so I suspect all the integrative circuitry has already been designed. But cameras and mirrors do not have to be linked in any way. In particular, they do not need to share the traditional location, in the front lower angle of the side windows.

For example, the cameras could be located in the front fenders as hidden insets, under the logo plates. All the wiring could be laid in place, then the cameras could be installed and the mirrors removed quickly, once the authorization is received, so side cameras could be offered as an add-on and delivered along with the mirrors or as a standby upgrade and delivered subsequently.

(2) Battery: Several new Li-ion technologies have recently become production ready, with competitive power densities, recharging speeds, and number of recharging cycles.

The MX would be much more competitive with a lighter, longer range, fast recharging battery. I suspect Tesla already has a few standby options under consideration, perhaps on order. Battery changes would explain the production delays much better than other potential innovations.

(3) Power train: As apparent in the D options for the MS, Tesla has diversified the power and size of its electric motors.

It could conceivably consider redistributing the MX power through four semi-axle motors, like Mercedes does in its SLS, which could result in sizable weight reduction benefits by eliminating the two differentials and distributing the torque strictly electronically. Such an innovation could also delay production significantly.

Brian H | 22/10/2014

Nah. None of the above. 7 quatloos on it.

jacksiart | 22/10/2014

Market survey idea:
As a Model X reservation holder I am wondering how much demand there is for the Falcon wing Doors and the all wheel drive (with and without the go fast option, P85). Personally, I don't feel I need either all wheel drive or the Falcon wing doors and I know I don't need the 0-60 3.2 sec option (or what ever that ends up specing out in the MX).

georgehawley.fl.us | 22/10/2014

Intriguing that one (myself included) plunks down at least 5 grand to reserve a 7 passenger vehicle (3rd row optional) that has no price, no feature list beyond the bare bones, no known EPA range, no known performance figures, and no schedule. The "ones" add up to at least a year's worth of production capacity and yet the company is mute. Last year the Model X was very prominent, with Elon and Co., stepping out of the goofy doors and unloading piles of luggage. Over the past few months, nothing, nada, zip, zilch. It is reminiscent of the Monty Python Cheese Shoppe.
Yet the true believers hang on every thread, looking for the slightest hint of the existence of the X in some form, primordial or otherwise. My guess is that on Nov. 5, when the 3rd quarter results are announced, the Model X will be released from its cocoon, it's butterfly wings stretching and drying in the SoCal sunshine. First deliveries to Founders and Signature customers in April, 2015. Volume shipments beginning in July. 20,000 shipped by year end along with 40,000 MS sedans. $5.8 B in revenue in 2015 and I will have mine at long last in about 11 months from now, Pearl White pristine with 3 rows, two drive units, all the autonomy it can handle and working rear doors. You just wait and see. I will.

vandacca | 22/10/2014

@georgehawley Yes, this is the calm before the MX storm...it would appear that they are being purposely silent before the MX announcement. Perhaps for effect, perhaps to comply with the SEC and the Securities Act of 1933.

Brian H | 23/10/2014

Quarterly reports are not used for reveals and product releases; they're conducted by phone, for one thing.

Remnant | 23/10/2014

@ Brian H | October 22, 2014

<< Nah. None of the above. 7 quatloos on it. >>

LOL, it might be all three.

I'm particularly partial to the power train issues.

Tesla relies on traction-control/stability-control (TC/SC) algorithms, which are braking-based, to complete the otherwise deficient differential functions of its open differentials.

This, however, cannot be a long-term or permanent solution, because of excessive tire wear and because many a driver will often turn off the TC/SC option.

Sooner or later, Tesla will have to resort to electronic torque vectoring (ETV) on four independent semi-axle motors, in order to achieve true all-terrain AWD.

So, if you win the wager, I might not use my MX reservation before ETV-AWD happens, whether in MX or some other model.

Red Sage ca us | 23/10/2014

David Trushin asked, "If the X had a sliding door instead of the falcon wing, what would you call it?"

Meh. A minivan.

jacksiart wrote, "...I am wondering how much demand there is for the Falcon wing Doors and the all wheel drive..."

In Los Angeles, it will be tremendous. The only cars you'll be able to find in the parking lot at the mall are the handful of Range Rover Discovery, AUDI Q7s, and Porsche Cayennes...

Brian Vicars | 24/10/2014

Tesla has a plan. Presently, Model S is on stage. The introduction of the P85D has made the delay of Model X longer since the car is so popular. The AWD is an important part of future Model X production. Elon realizes, by the larger number of orders for the Model X, over 22K to date, that the vehicle introduction can be delayed further while orders for the S are filled. Tesla is just too busy with the S at this point. He knows that people will wait. And wait we will.

david.green.cpa | 24/10/2014

@jacksiart --- the only reason I have a MX reservation is because of the AWD. They take that out and I'll just wait for another electric vehicle with AWD.

sbeggs | 24/10/2014

@david.green.cpa,
Then are you considering a Model S with Dual Drive, or is the crossover platform also important to you?

Brian Vicars | 24/10/2014

Hello David. My wife and I live in the Toronto GTA and we get lots of snow. I am assuming the Model X will have a slightly higher clearance. We both like the higher driving position you have in an SUV. Since we are retired, we plan on doing a lot of travel throughout North America. AWD is a must.

Red Sage ca us | 24/10/2014

Stupid tablet... Make that, "The only other cars you'll be able to find in the parking lot..."

ian t.wa.us | 24/10/2014

Remnant - Where are you getting the idea that an open diff and TC/SC by braking causes excessive tire wear?

Remnant | 25/10/2014

@ Ian T. (October 24, 2014)

<< Where are you getting the idea that an open diff and TC/SC by braking causes excessive tire wear? >>

As you know, any braking slows the wheel down by causing a drag in the tire.

In fact, I've seen rear tire pictures of an MS with the tread insides worn down to the steel belts, below 10k miles. The SC said there was nothing wrong with alignment or any other settings. However, the owner felt there may have been something wrong with the camber.

My suspicion is that the owner was a hard-cornering aficionado, which in the Tesla set-up, is bound to impose harsh drag forces on the wheel inside the curve.

Regrettably, I don't have the link handy, but I'll try to retrieve it.

brian | 25/10/2014

Some people have said that they are XX,XXX in the order queue. How do they know that? My reservation number does not seem to tell me much.
I find it a little strange that we have not been able to start optioning out our cars yet. I truly hope it is because the battery is about to get better.

Red Sage ca us | 25/10/2014

Remnant: Most reports have said the tire wear issues were due to: an issue with the suspension alignment bolts loosening; not properly rotating tires; or having an extremely heavy right foot. There is limited evidence that supports an issue with regeneration being the sole culprit, without the other issues being present.

Brian H | 25/10/2014

brian;
Reservation #s are no longer issued in North America. The "RN" is a randomized internal ID. You'll have to wait for your VIN; the last 5 digits are a serial #, which is sequential (by definition).

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