Design Issues

Design Issues

Just recently saw the X concept and I am not impressed. The first thing they focused on their presentation are the falcon doors.

1) The biggest question regarding safety issue in a scenario where a vehicle flips and lands upside down. Lets say there is a fire on the front end or the front doors are jammed, how will rear passengers open their doors to escape?

2) Some exotic cars have gullwing doors, but are not driven all season. This X is marketed as an SUV, so it will be driven all year round. In a scenario where there are lots of snow on the roof, when you open the falcon doors, the snow will go crashing down like an avalanche through the door sill in the middle. It will be inconvenient to constantly be reaching up to clearing snow off the roof top, especially for shorter people.

3) The rear 3rd row seats are too tight for someone large to enter/ exit without 2nd row folding seats. These are some of the concerns I have about the X concept design.

4) Dash looks the same as Model S. I was hoping they change the styling to distinguish it apart from the S. Just a thought.

Stephen4 | February 9, 2012

I'm with you. I was hoping for a more functional SUV that I can take into the mountains, not to just drive my kids around the city in.

There is no question that falcon doors are 'neat', but the snow issue, the safety issue and the fact that I'd like to put a box on the roof, are all non-starters.

Elon says you can take this thing to Tahoe...well perhaps, but certainly not to ski...where would one put the skiis and other outdoor equipment.

Unfortunate. I see this as a big miss.

cerjor | February 9, 2012

Might TM have the nerve to admit they were wrong about the falcon wings and eliminate them? Maybe Detroit is a better place to design an suv than California.

B.Noing | February 9, 2012

As the disappointing evolution of the S concept to production model showed, it is the engineers that are in charge at Tesla (and impressive engineers they are). The designers are left to gimmicks like the Falcon Doors. Not a bad design, but lacking the seductive magic of the concept S. Somehow I was hoping to see those signature blue light tubes in the headlights and side badge reappear. Like the S, the grill looks like an unappetizing sports mouth guard to me.

First thought on the big touch screen was that they had made it removable and behind it was the "base option" of sensuous tactile knobs and buttons for those of us who love Tesla but aren't in to death by driver distraction.

ronlitvak | February 10, 2012

I am a huge supporter of Tesla. I own its stock, and I am an early reservation holder for the Model S, which I'll be getting later this year.

I had hoped that the Model X would be the car my wife would want, as she currently drives a Lexus RX. She went to bed after the failed streaming launch (I can hear the spin from Tesla on this tomorrow - "unprecedented demand and interest in our Model X caused blah blah blah") but I can tell you, the falcon wing doors are a non-starter. I am sure they'll sell some of these in places like L.A. and Miami, but Tesla engineers are apparently quite oblivious to the climate in most of the U.S. and the intended use of an SUV.

I'd love to see an animated picture showing what happens to the doors when you try to open them with two feet of snow on the roof. (And for any Tesla people who might read this and say, "but how often does that happen?" I can tell you that, here in Denver, the most recent time was last Friday. Then there was another half-foot on Tuesday. And if I had the temerity to actually take this SUV to the mountains, you can double the frequency and snow depth we get in town.)

Even if the doors open without warping the hinges or damaging the door and the roof, there is a second physics issue alluded to, and that is gravity - that snow, which becomes ice or water, needs to come down. And it will, right into the cabin of this SUV and on to the entering and exiting occupants.

And, as has been pointed out above, the top of the car is where people put their skis, snowboards, and bicycles. Not likely here. Some one should have done some market research with existing owners of SUVs.

It's too bad, because it's a great-looking vehicle. I have to hope they'll scrap the very silly door idea.

flar | February 10, 2012

One of the blogs briefly mentioned the emergency escape issue with the Falcon doors. Apparently the hinge in the middle could be released in an emergency situation to provide a different means of escape. It mentioned the design as being a little less radical than Mercedes explosive bolts for their gull wing doors.

The snow issue is a good point, but it is hard to really understand how much of a problem it is without seeing the doors closer. I don't see the snow tumbling down in the middle as the tilt of the roof panels will direct that snow away from the opening. I do see that if the snow is in a nice undisturbed layer after being parked in a snowfall then as the sections tilt up they will shear the snow and depending on how it falls and how much of a drainage channel is along the side of the gap some might tumble in from the sides of the door, though.

The 3rd row accessibility is now depicted by a graphic on their Model X page that shows the 2nd row seat slid forward. It looks much much easier to navigate than getting in to the back seat of a 2-door coupe because of the more upright position. I've never owned a minivan, but the few times I've ridden in one there was a lot of awkward climbing to get in the 3rd row - probably a bit more than would be involved here.

Finally, for skis you might be able to run them along the flat floor. Many of the press pictures showed a large gap under the 2nd row seats that left a lot of room for passing long items through...

Brian H | February 10, 2012

How about "optional"? Falcon wings for those who want a sedan-crossover, and doors for those who want an SUV-crossover.

Brian H | February 10, 2012

OK, the page now has lotsa details. E.g., the dual motor AWD is optional; there's a RWD version with one motor. And the batteries are 60 or 85 kwh.

There's a little "draggable" falcon door pic; made me wonder if you could drive with the doors half-open for extra lift!

Brian H | February 10, 2012

Oh, it's also stated that prices would be similar to those of a comparably equipped Model S. Wonder how that translates with the dual-motor configurations.

There's also some interesting wording, "our current vision for this ground-breaking vehicle". Sounds like the doors might be negotiable?!

Eyeballing the drag-and-flap animation, it looks like they require only about 6" clearance each side to lift. But probably 18" vertical inside a garage at full cock.

Brian H | February 10, 2012

No hints or info about the console/front-seat-gap area. Don't remember getting much of a glimpse on the presentation video, either.

Brian H | February 10, 2012

And no X Design Studio or full spec listing yet.

Timo | February 10, 2012

Falcon doors prevent things put to roof, so that's a bit disappointing. That photoshopped picture about that touch screen looks like it is now even bigger, which is just plain ugly. 15 inch screen would be more than enough. Drivers really don't need the distraction. Front end needs redesign.

Compared to Model S this is a big disappointment. More cool than functional, so not a big seller for people needing a SUV (those that really need SUV buy different brand, and those that don't buy an S).

Missed the webcast I didn't see the real dash, but based on the picture it looks like X got even bigger screen, which is just plain stupid, 15 inch screen is more than enough for all the needed functions, and would blend in the design more nicely. It also works as distraction just like RobQ says, if you can't have tangible knobs and switches to feel (looking away from the street is dangerous. Really dangerous). I hope all the necessary controls you need during driving are in the steering wheel or stalks behind it (this applies to Model S too).

Brian H | February 10, 2012

Looks like the screen base now curves into the dash, with a knee-rest spot.
And the steering wheel is oval, which is interesting!

Peak Oil bruin | February 10, 2012

For those in snowy climes, might there be a subtle heating element keeping the roofline a few degrees above 0 celsius to avoid any accumulation? They'd have to design some adequate water gutters no doubt...maybe copper?

As far as the quibs about hauling skis, etc. above, I think that's a small affected demographic, e.g. Denver. There are skis that fold in half for transport right ? Nevertheless, around Chicago the only material I see people haul on SUV roofs are mattresses.

Timo | February 10, 2012

@Peak Oil For those in snowy climes, might there be a subtle heating element keeping the roofline a few degrees above 0 celsius to avoid any accumulation?

That would be one huge energy eater. Trying to keep -20 - -30C (or -40+ as it turns out this winter) to +0 with decent wind and snow coming all day would eat your battery quite fast. Or get yourself a huge energy bill.

Crow | February 10, 2012

The roof rack issue is not a small demographic for an SUV. Look at the ones on the road now. Virtually all have built in racks. Of course the issue is easily solved with a trailer hitch rack system. I have one for my wife's car because she is not tall enough to get her skis and bike on and off the roof. It works great.

nickjhowe | February 10, 2012

Like ronlitvak I'm a stock holder and Model S reservation holder, but Model X is a bit fat fail for me. The falcon doors are ugly as well as having the problems listed above. The 17" screen looks like a bolted-on after thought. Overall the Model X seems like it was designed by a back-room engineer rather than a designer.

Had such high hopes for Model X. V. V. Disappointed.

andrewmfallon | February 10, 2012

You guys are a tough group! Until I actually see the car and the doors in action in person I'm going to reserve judgement. As far as the ski racks are concerned, I'm sure minds more nimble than mine will be able to design double decker racks or something similar to carry all the skis we would normally carry.

If there is a big snowfall the first thing I do is brush off the windshields, side windows, etc so I can't imagine a couple extra swipes along the rooflines being a big deal if that is indeed an issue.

I personally like the idea that a company is pushing the envelope on design and trying to bring innovation to a field that has been boring over the past few years. I'm talking about the big box SUV's which all look pretty much the same.

There is nearly two years between last night's unveiling and the first deliveries. Lets watch the Model X evolve!

S Sig 998

DanD | February 10, 2012

Wife stayed up to watch the event with me. She was actually considering Model X. She currently loves her Pilot.

With the failed streaming, she found pics on NY Times. Didn't like it and by the time the web site recovered, wasn't interested enough to watch the video.

I'm concerned as a stock holder.

Thumper | February 10, 2012

Looks like a lot of people didn't get enough sleep last night. Frankly I'm surprised by the anything-new-and-different-is-bad-and-won't-work comments. These are the kinds of things we hear from the anti EV crowd.
I like the X and expect it will sell well. As far as snow goes, most modern car doors curve into the body at the top. If you open them without brushing the snow away, they dump snow into your car. It looks to me like this would be less of a problem with the falcon doors. Either way, you can't blame the car if you don't remove the snow. The falcon doors will also protect a parent who is strapping in an child from rain. I suspect Tesla will have both a ski rack that fits between the open falcon doors and a generous between the seats ski solution by production time.

Timo | February 10, 2012

"between the open falcon doors" is about three inches. Not much space for a rack there. You need other solution for that kind of activity.

I was expecting a bit more functional car, instead I got a very big city toy, kind of blown up version of Roadster, that is why I'm disappointed.

Also it just feels wrong for Tesla to sell SUV. That's like Jaguar selling Land Rover. Imago suffers.

Volker.Berlin | February 10, 2012

Also it just feels wrong for Tesla to sell SUV. (Timo)

I disagree. Tesla wants to change the industry, not the Roadster niche. You could as well say it feels wrong for Tesla to sell a sedan.

BMW's image did not suffer when they invented segment after segment (X5 was first real SUV, X6 was first performance cross-over). And Audi's image did not suffer when they followed suit (Q7 after X5, A7 after CLS). Offering a Q7 works great with A6 and R8 in the same portfolio, as does offering an X6 with 5series and Z4 all under the same brand. Even the Cayenne worked for Porsche. No problem as long as they are all built to comparable standards. Selling a Ford C-Max under the BMW, Audi or Porsche brand would probably hurt that brand -- but that's not the case here with the Model X.

ronlitvak | February 10, 2012

Johns258 says "you guys are a tough group". Hardly. Those of us who are here are almost universally supporters of and emissaries for Tesla. I know I am. If you think this is a tough crowd, wait until Tesla tries to sell a $70,000-$90,000 vehicle to someone. That's the group that counts, and this morning, over a million shares have traded Tesla's stock down by over 5%. That's people voting with their money.

And Thumper's comment ("surprised by the anything-new-and-different-is-bad-and-won't-work" statements) is interesting: falcon-wing doors are anything but new. They've been tried in vehicles for over 50 years. (I'm remembering the deLorean; those better versed in automobile history will have other examples that go back to at least the 1950s.) As cool as they may look, there are very good reasons they have never caught on. And I recognize the response: "Well, Ron, electric vehicles have never caught on, either, but you've bet the time is ripe for them now." Yes, I have. There has been sufficient fundamental progress in battery capacities and cost to bring EVs to market, at least at the luxury end of the market. There has been no change to falcon-wing door technology.

I won't dignify the remarks anyone makes that imply it's the consumer's own darn fault if they don't sweep all the snow off the top of their vehicle. That just reflects a lack of understanding of the American consumer.

I'm with Brianh: Tesla needs to make the falcon-wings optional and put the hinges where they belong for the rest of America. My guess is standard doors would outsell falcon-wings by 10 to 1.

mvbf | February 10, 2012

First off I agree with John 258's comment "tough group" and how to deal with the snow "a couple extra swipes". I live in vermont so have plenty of experience with snow. It also seems the preheating routine of the car could add some defrost to the roof/doors and this would alleviate any issue with doors being frozen shut (hopefully). In terms of skis and snowboards, I agree with whoever suggested using the tow hitch to attach a rack to the back. That is how I do with my current suv. It swings out of the way when I need to get to the luggage in the back. There is no need for a box up top because this car has loads of storage even with 7 adults and even more of course with 5 or less.

The utility of this vehicle is insane: 7 adults plus ample luggage, AWD, clearance, low center of gravity, and all electric going from 0-60 in less than 5 seconds! For me this a dream car come true. I wish it were cheaper and sooner, but at least it does not cost more than the S. Also it will have the advantage of a 1.5 years of testing and improving the model s platform which the x is built upon. For me the utility far outweighs the compromises. I am singing up today.

andrewmfallon | February 10, 2012

@ronlitvak - today is a perfect example of "buy on rumor and sell on news". An excellent opportunity to take profits after the big runup over tbe past few weeks. Plus the entire market is under pressure thanks to our friends in Euroland.The big answer will be after a few days and we get to see a tally on how many reservations have been made.

And you certainly don't have to dignify any remarks!

Having strapped numerous small children into those Impossible to use safety seats, I welcome anything that makes it a whole lot easier to get the toddlers safe and sound!

stephen.kamichik | February 10, 2012

I think the model X is going to be the most beautiful CUV/SUV on the road. My only criticism is the 17 inch screen sticking above the dashboard. If I needed a vehicle to carry seven people and their luggage, I would have reserved by now. The model X is perfect for young families, hotels/motels that offer shuttle service and car rental companies.

My model S will more than satisfy my needs. I am looking forward to driving it. My wife is waiting for Tesla's $30k car.

Schlermie | February 10, 2012

Although I like the falcon doors, I'm not sure I get the comment that they're "functional first". They're only 10% wider than the front doors, and it seems like the top cutout could have been accomodated by a door that swings laterally as well. I don't understand what was functionally compelling that drove the falcon design.

jbherman | February 10, 2012

I think the X is a smart looking car and appears to push the envelope in terms of technology and functionality. I'm not sure what people were expecting, but I personally think expectations appear to have been unreachable. Many out there seem like they would have only been happy if Elon trotted out a flying car. It's just a beta (or is it still an alpha?). Give it and TM some time. I bet you'll come around. The X will only get better. For me, the S is still the best fit. 10 years ago, with younger kids, I would have been all over the X.

harryjsommer | February 10, 2012

If I read the website currently, this will be priced the same as a similarly priced model s. Well since the base car is a 60kwh battery, that makes the entry level price 67k, and by the time this delivers, here is no certainty of the 7k tax credit. I don't know about most of you, but 60k for the model s was at least 50% more than I would normally spend on a car. Tough to see spending 130-140k every 6 or 7 years for my wife and my two cars....

olanmills | February 10, 2012

You only will have two feet of snow on the roof if you leave it outide. When that happens to me in my current sedan, if I need to access the trunk, then I brush off the snow. Even for opening the doors, I brush away the snow around the top of the door frame so that snow doesn't fall in.

I realize that the X is tall so maybe brushing off the top will be hard, but surely, the doors and roof are designed so that water doesn't spill inside when the car is wet. Maybe this will address smaller amounts of snow as well.

Sudre_ | February 10, 2012

A heating element for keeping the rear window clear does not draw much power. A heating element for the roof does not have to run all the time. You will be able to use your phone to tell the car to warm things up 30 minutes or more ahead of time. If the roof pitches away and down a little heat and a large snow collection will slide off before it all has to be melted.

As far as driving your car around with 1 to 2 feet of snow on top. I think that should be illegal and in some states it technically is. We do not get large amounts of snow fall in my area but when we do and my car happened to be outside I clear the entire car. I've seen two accidents on the highway caused by snow/ice sheets flying off the top of a car and causing everyone behind the driver to swirve. The second time the other vehicles windshield was shattered. Of coarse the driver of the SUV had no clue and just kept on driving.

I agree that most Americans like to pile stuff on top of their roofs when they are traveling. That is typically because there is no room inside. I have a pod for my current car for long road trips, back when gas was cheap enough to make long road trips. I will wait and see what Tesla's answer is for storage outside the vehicle. I know I HATE trying to get things on and off the top of my car.

adamgreen | February 10, 2012

I agree the doors were wobbly and not synchronized, there should be an automatic link to allow second row seats to move forward if there's no child seat in place, they should be easily completely removed or tumbled down, they should be much thinner seat backs and swabs -- there's a laundry list of engineering challenges and only two years to bring it all together.

Utility vehicles need to tow at least small trailer ratings (say 7700lb for equivalent vehicles from all the major brands.) All purpose family vehicles benefit from AWD and that begs the question of variable height suspension and multiple settings for damper and anti-roll bar rates like Porsche with PASM and PDCC.

I like the comparison to a Porsche for the sprint to 60 mph, but it's one thing to exploit the torque of a pair of electric motors in a race on the drawing board to achieve theoretical acceleration, it's another thing to then change direction, brake, steer, accelerate, and repeat while making the whole experience safe and enjoyable for the driver and occupants. The Cayenne is a high mark for the Tesla X. It's fun to set a benchmark with a Porsche, but the comparison begins and ends with a 0-60 launch.

I think the comparison to the Audi land yacht was telling -- the compromise in the Q to make it a seven seater sandwiched into the Cayenne/Touareg platform resulted in zero cargo and the diesel needs a big urea tank instead of a spare or audio system or any space at all (pick one.)

Still and all the same, I see these as achievable goals for features and functionality. The primary value proposition is zero emissions, zero toxic chemicals and a vehicle that presents itself as appropriate for the first half of the 21st century instead of a legacy of the middle of last century but with a Bluetooth handsfree kit stuck in the sun-visor. : )

The thing I'd like to see in the dual motor, dual drive system is dual steering. If there is one innovative technology that brought revolutionary advances to the handling of a four wheel vehicle, it's four wheel steering. Honda had it on their Prelude in Australia in the early 90's. GM had it in the Quadrasteer Suburban. It was too expensive and it was always put behind the disincentive of paying an extra 10% or so on top of the price of the car. What a blunder. If only Tesla could simply take the front power-train with steering and simply replicate it in a sort of push-me-pull-you symmetry so that they're building literally only a single assembly and fitting it front or rear, then arbitrarily releasing parasitic drag for gliding, etc. I delighted in having a four wheel steering car and still consider buying a nearly decade-old car just for that single feature, from high speed stability to low speed cornering, especially for a larger vehicle maneuvering in the close quarters of city and urban driving. If Tesla highlights the advantage of entry and egress in tight parking spots, they neglect to mention the ten point turn required to then drive out of that parking spot ... four wheel steering with appropriate cameras augmenting visibility is a compelling advantage over existing competition.

BruceR | February 10, 2012

I think they went after the SUV market that thinks they need an SUV but don't really need one. People haulers rather that material haulers. In that respect they hit a home run. Now if it will appeal to the high end SUV market is another matter.

I say high end because if they price using the Model S logic than it will be in rare territory indeed. $67K base model, 77K for the 85kWH model to achieve any decent range because of size. 87K for the AWD model, 102K for the performance model. Throw in a couple options and all these base model prices go up another 10 to 20K!

Only car above this price range is the G wagon. And they sell only handfulls of these each year. BMW X5M and X6M are closer in price but actually faster and also cheaper. Tough area for TESLA to sell many IMO.

(Keep in mind the marketing that TESLA and all companies do. AWD, sub 5 second, and 85KWH are in the same paragraph, but do not mean they are in the base price! Just thought I would point out the obvious in case it wasn't clear to some.))

mvbf | February 10, 2012

BruceR, I am very enthusiastic about the model x, but have to admit price is the most difficult part for me. I hope the 7k incentive is still alive when the model x is ready. I also hope the AWD option does not up the price 10k, but more like 3-5k. Without the incentive and 3k for the AWD, it will still cost 70k - pretty hard to stomach for most of us...

xhawk1011 | February 10, 2012

I agree with the tough crowd sentiment. The falcon doors are fantastic. For the relatively small segment that would need to haul a box or skis on top, consider that you could place to one side and only open the alternate side door and problem solved!

However, you must realize the folly in placing on top and not an aft hitch is YOU LOOSE AERODYNAMICS and range...however, placed at the aft of the vehicle you wouldn't loose nearly as much.

I am impressed, but not in market for crossover. I have S reserved.

rd2 | February 10, 2012

The critics of the Model X need to chillax. First of all, the ski rack is POSSIBLE! Check out this Tesla Motors Club thread with inside info:

Apparently there is a Model X compatible ski rack in development. Not sure about a box, but let's at least give them the YEAR AND A HALF to develop the car into a final product with final specs before throwing them to the wolves.

If Tesla and Musk have shown us anything, it's that they are extremely smart people. I think the market upside to the X is sky high, particularly considering how many people buy luxury SUVs in this country at the same price range or more. Time will tell.

Timo | February 10, 2012

It would be one miracle rack if it works with falcon doors.

I don't personally care much about roof racks, and falcon doors with snow is not a problem if you just swipe the snow off (that should be standard operation to everyone, falcon doors or not). My peeve is with the front. It needs redesign. It looks a bit like what Ford did with their fiesta-derived crossover. Just add a block to the bottom to fiesta and pretend that it is now a fully developed SUV.

Also for SUV when there is Model S to compete with Model X isn't giving enough advantage. There might be people buying Model X just to get that AWD drive. Put that in Model S and even those go away. I don't think that will sell much. It is not "utility" enough, even that "sports vehicle" is achieved. I was expecting a bit more radical design, something like in MB Bionic Car design.

I don't think battery/charger tech is there yet for SUV:s. You get way less range with heavier low-aerodynamic vehicle than you do with lighter high-aerodynamic one. To get (really) useful range battery cost will be very high, and charging times long. Range anxiety is a real thing for larger BEV:s.

jbherman | February 11, 2012

+1 rd2

Peak Oil bruin | February 11, 2012

Timo, Your falcon wing rooftop heating element dismissal and reference to -20 or -30 celsius temps. is skewed. The average overnight winter temp in Chicago in January doesn't come close (-10C, +14F), never mind the distinct warming trend this past decade.

I was never a model X suv/crossover prospect, but I think Tesla will find a good niche within the space. Of course US gas prices closer to $5/gal in 2014 will greatly assist!

Timo | February 11, 2012

@Peak, you said For those in snowy climes. No mention of Chicago. Tesla sales world wide, it get that cold and colder on some rather large parts of the world at winter.

I hope that Tesla isn't planning to sell much of these crossovers. OTOH, if they make money with them with even small number of sales, then even small number should be a nice bonus. It isn't out of Model S sales, not much anyway, because Model S is way superior to that IMO (and would be even more superior with that double-engine drivetrain).

Anyway, I predict there will be stock hit and several reservations canceled when they announce projected operation range. It will not be anything close to Model S, just the size of the car makes that impossible (unless they found a way to make car quite a lot lighter than Model S without increasing costs). I'm guessing at least 20% drop in range (60kWh would give you 190 miles and 85kWh 250 miles). Bigger loss at higher speeds. I will be (positively) surprised if loss is less than that and not really surprised if it is more.

stephen.kamichik | February 11, 2012

In two years there will be better lithium-ion battery cells. I am sure that these will be used in model X battery packs.

Klaus | February 11, 2012

@Timo, why guess. Tesla has already said about 10-12% range penalty. I believe them, don't you?
at 2:35 of the video.

Robert.Boston | February 11, 2012

To collect responses to the concerns of the OP:
The mid-door hinges release in an emergency, allowing egress from a rolled vehicle;
Brush off the snow. The X's roof is not so high that most adults can't do this easily, though a long-handled brush will be helpful. Driving around with snow on the roof is dangerous for other drivers and reduces your mileage.
The second-row seats of the X will roll forward in the production vehicles, even though they did not in the prototype.
Model X dash is markedly different than the S's. The X has the display thrust forward, with a large gap between the upper half and the dash. The S, by contrast, at least has the entire display embedded in the dash. The X also has a big slab of wood across the entire length.

Personally, the X doesn't do much for me, but I'm not the target market. To my eye, the X has most of the weaknesses of the S's design, while relatively fewer of its virtues.

gagliardilou | February 11, 2012

See my comments under "the genious of model x".

jackhub | February 11, 2012

I've said this in another thread, but it is worth repeating since there seems to be so much angst over the failure of the Model X design to deliver SUV features. The Model X is NOT an SUV. For those of you who have not listened to Tesla or Elon, they have been saying for months that the Model X is not an SUV. No matter how often you say it is an SUV, no matter how much you woiuld like a Tesla SUV, the Model X ain't gonna morph into one. It is a crossover built on the Model S frame (stretched 4 in in length).

jackhub | February 11, 2012

If the Model X is parked within 12 inches of another car, I don't believe the Falcon doors will be the issue. The driver won't be able to get out of the standard door! If the door is about 3-4 inches thick, that leaves 8-9 inches to squeeze through. How many of us have the svelte build for that?

When I was hauling 4 kids and a dog around I had a VW Microbus (plenty of functionality, little performance). When there was only 12 inches clearance to the car next to me, and the sliding door was open, it was very difficult to get in and out.

I Don't need a crossover, I'm buying the Model S, but I think the market segment the Model X addresses is going to go for it. IMHO that ain't going to be the guys.

stephen.kamichik | February 12, 2012

jackhub....If there is no center console, then one can get to the driver's seat from the falcon door opening by walking between the front bucket seats. This is only a guess, but try it when you see the prototype.

Timo | February 12, 2012

@Klaus Tesla has already said about 10-12% range penalty. I believe them, don't you?

In this case, no I don't believe them. Not until I see the real results for beta testing cars. If it is that low they have managed to again make small miracle in car design. I would be really impressed.

Robert.Boston | February 13, 2012

@stephen.k: there is a center console, it just doesn't extend very far forward between the two seats. If you're athletic, you could wriggle over it. :-)

Brian H | February 13, 2012

As I posted on another thread ( ) playing with the drag-and-drop on the X page is informative:

The geometry of the falcon doors is such that you need (I guesstimate) only about 6-8" clearance for them to get up and out of the way. Then the constraint/bottleneck is your own required clearance. And even then, the fact that the interior is now available to you, once past the outer doorframe, that increases the clearance for access to the driver's seat at least another 6-8".
I note that the max extension of the door is when it is already above the roofline of the S parked beside it. The closest it actually gets to the S is at just above the side-mirror level, and that's still several inches away. Now imagine opening the S' door. Far less room available for that.
Bottom line: the X is much easier to enter and exit than the S.

The space available will be somewhat less if the next car is another SUV or other tall vehicle, of course.

Brian H | February 13, 2012

Doh. Just realized that the driver (front) door(s) are standard. So they require the same kind of clearance that any other car does. So opening the falcon door and the driver's door partway would be about the best "tight quarters" plan, I suppose.