Falcon wing doors vs roof racks

Falcon wing doors vs roof racks

I like the look of the falcon wing doors, but many people buy an SUV because they are into outdoor sports. If you put kayaks, surf boards, skis, etc. on top, you would not be able to open the rear doors.

speyerj | March 3, 2015

As far as we know, you're correct. If you search the forums, I bet that others have noticed this as well.

jordanrichard | March 3, 2015

That is true, but Tesla said that they are working on a rack that will mount/attach to the hitch.

proven | March 4, 2015

I may be wrong, but I think there are a large number of people interested in the Model X as a minivan/crossover replacement (myself included).

Sure the lack of a roof rack is a negative, and will turn away the sporting/SUV crowd, but not everyone is looking at this as an SUV, but rather as a family vehicle.

Besides, I imagine with the huge amount of storage inside the car, you may be able to put down one side of the 2nd and 3rd row seats to pack it full of long(ish) items like skis and surfboards. I'm looking forward to seeing how the seats all work.

MountainVoyageur | March 4, 2015

I'm looking forward to seeing how they propose to carry things like a pair of sea kayaks, or a pair of tripping canoes (without needing a trailer).

ian | March 4, 2015

I wouldn't hold your breath on the X carrying that stuff. Just sayin'.

Brian H | March 4, 2015

X = crossover. Not an SUV, i.e. a big car, not a small truck.

EQC | March 5, 2015

It is pretty rare to see any vehicle with anything as large as a pair of sea kayaks on the roof. Even though tons of cars and SUVs come with roof racks, most people never use them. The small fraction of people who do use them only use them a small faction of the time. Is a hitch rack or trailer option really that bad for dealing with what really is an edge case of vehicle use??

Much more often, I see insecurely attached mattresses tied to the roof. Personally, I plan to tie a king size mattress to the roof with a single rope going through the falcon wing side windows and around the mattress. I'll then complain that the wings can't open (even though this rope method would render most doors inoperable).

At highway speed, the wind will catch under the font of the mattress, bending half the mattress up to a vertical position. I will floor it to 85 miles per hour, and then complain to anybody who will listen about the terrible range I get. I will declare EV's unfit for normal driving.

MountainVoyageur | March 5, 2015

"It is pretty rare to see any vehicle with anything as large as a pair of sea kayaks on the roof."

How else do you carry a sea kayak? Or are you just asserting that there are not very many sea kayakers and canoe trippers?

How many you see depends on when/where you are. Whenever I go visit relatives in Montana (in warm weather) we end up with 2 or 3 canoes on the car roof, as do the friends we go on the river with. I'll bet our Minnesota friends are used to seeing canoes on car roofs. I remember seeing canoes on car roofs back East during whitewater season. I do not really expect that MX will provide for this, but note that it may well be a deal-killer for the affected minority.

"Is a hitch rack or trailer option really that bad for dealing with what really is an edge case of vehicle use??"

I'm not sure how a hitch rack would work to carry canoes, so no comment. As to pulling a trailer -- some will like that and some will not be comfortable pulling a trailer. Depends on the individual.

cliffmccormick | March 5, 2015

Also - important not to underestimate the impact/possibility of unprecedented (potential) interior volume.


MountainVoyageur | March 5, 2015

"X = crossover. Not an SUV, i.e. a big car, not a small truck."

That's what you say. Here's what Tesla says:

"Model X is designed from the ground up to combine the space and functionality of a sport utility vehicle with"

lee | March 5, 2015

My current car is an SUV because I need 4WD and snow clearance. One half of the year the car has a ski rack on the roof, the other half I swap it for a bike rack. The falcon wing doors on the X are a purely a gimmick that I would rather have as a optional extra that I wouldn't order. Elon Musk wants to save face and cant afford any negative publicity if he doesnt deliver, so the falcon wing doors have become a point of principle. Having said that, in lieu of anything else even similar to the X coming on the market any time soon, I will live with it and try and find a solution! I am assuming I will use a towball type bike rack in summer and am still scratching my head a little bit on the ski rack solution - I'm sure I could fit the skis in the car, but half the point of the rack is keeping the skis out of the car when they are snowy and wet..

proven | March 5, 2015


I don't think the falcon wing doors are a gimmick. He said at the reveal that they were trying to improve on the minivan door. Clearly they are targeting different people than the SUV crowd that has skis or bikes on the top of the car for most of the year.

The minivan/crossover market is much bigger than the large sporting equipment hauling market. Regardless of how many canoes and bikes we see on top of SUV's, the majority of them never have anything on top.

You can't please everyone with one vehicle, and I don't think the Model X is aiming to please that particular market unfortunately.

vandacca | March 5, 2015

Stop the insanity. The Model-X will have third-party roof racks, and they will available when the vehicle ships. Elon said so, and I've actually seen leaked images from third-parties.

I don't know what limitations there will be yet (e.g. one Falcon door cannot be opened) but I will take Elon at his word that they will be ready upon launch. | March 5, 2015

Falcon wing doors are a gimmick but I like gimmicks. Stop with the kayaks. Rent a kayak. That's what I would fo if I had a Model X and wanted to go kayaking. Actually falcon wing doors are two gimmicks, a right gimmick and a left gimmick. One could, if sufficiently motivated, put a roof rack over the left gimmick and stack the kayaks two high after invoking the left gimmick inhibition software option. Now I'm demotivated about kayaking after all this kayak angst. I think I'll go play shuffleboard and think about the fact that I have neither a kayak nor a Model X and only one of those things is my fault.

FelixMendeldog | March 6, 2015

I find it vastly preferable to transport kayaks on a trailer for reasons which others may consider when discussing this Model X issue:

1) It’s far easier to load and unload—especially if you’re alone.

2) It’s less likely you’ll dent or scratch your expensive vehicle if you’re not hoisting little boats above your head.

3) One place I often launch must be approached by passing under a low bridge. ‘Roof rack people’ must take their kayaks down just to put them back up again—else walk them a long ways to the water.

4) At home, they can be quickly detached and remain on the light aluminum kayak trailer which is incredibly easy to wheel around the garage etc.

5) You can much more easily attach a trailer to any vehicle with a hitch (very common) than appropriate roof racks (much less common.)

6) Security: hitch locks work very well. And you can lock the boats to the trailer too without risking locks smashing your roof in the wind.

7) Aerodynamics—for Tesla, this may be the biggest one. The range difference between kayaks above the roof and kayaks on a trailer is likely to be considerable at typical highway cruising speeds.

vandacca | March 6, 2015

+1 @FelixMendeldog, all extremely good points. I may just go out and buy a kayak when I get my Model-X now. Is there anything else you can do with a kayak, besides put them on a trailer?

FelixMendeldog | March 6, 2015

@vandacca, thank you, boating has long been a favorite hobby of ours, so we’ve seen a lot of people doing great things with boats in and around the water. (And sometimes, spectacular examples of what notto do!)

A quick web search will yield many companies which build lightweight aluminum, customizable trailers for small boats. We bought our kayak trailer from this company: — perfect for one or two kayaks, gear, and even bicycles. They answer their own phones and talk with you about your specific needs before they build your semi-custom trailer.

To get the kayaks off the garage floor during the interminable New York Winter, we attached pulleys to the rafters in the garage. When the lake freezes, we hoist them up and tie off the rope to a small cleat. It takes one minute per boat, per year!

Red Sage ca us | March 7, 2015


cmcnesst informed us, "The vast majority of SUVs get used as minivans by people who think they are too cool to drive a minivan."

Precisely what I've been telling people for a year. The Tesla Model X will be extremely popular in Los Angeles County, where the grand majority of SUVs have never been, and never will be, driven on sand, gravel, dirt, or through mud, snow, and bogs. The furthest 'off road' duty they will see is the front lawn. Most owners don't even know what the initials S-U-V stand for, and couldn't care less. It has more to do with personal style, command of the road, and perceived status than anything else for such people. Those I call: POSERS.

proven | March 7, 2015

I drive a minivan and proud of it. What a great, useful vehicle. I will love it dearly until the day our X shows up :) | March 8, 2015

I thought that my Honda Oddysey was a well conceived minivan, reasonable mileage, reasonable comfort, room for 8 real people, safest minivan on the market but it is no more. I am now driving an S waiting for the X. The market for SUVs breaks down into 3 segments: MX, MX with adjustments for roof rack and towing limitations, something other than MX. I'm thinking that Tesla will have their hands and robots full just trying to satisfy the first two. I wish they would hurry up already.

jjs | March 8, 2015

george. They already got you to buy an S. Now they are just on vacation basking in the glow of an effective master plan completed and well executed. So it is to you and you alone we owe further delays. Thanks a bunch. | March 8, 2015

The S is great but the plan is for an X ASAP. That settles it. I'm going to Fremont in May to kick some butts.

ghillair | March 8, 2015

George, be sure and wear steal toed boots, I understand those Fremont robots have some really HARD butts. | March 8, 2015

I haven't met a robot I couldn't intimidate. Well, I have to qualify that. I haven't met a robot yet but I have some WD40 in a spray can. Maybe that will do something.

jjs | March 8, 2015

You know how to "butter up" the right workers.

Brian H | March 9, 2015

steel-toed, unless you have larceny afoot. | March 9, 2015

Oh Brian. That caused my iPad to reboot.

Paddlegirl7 | March 23, 2015

I'm your canoe-toting minority. Currently driving my S85 everyday, with carbon fiber canoes on top every weekend. (Hitch rack would not do.) Holding on to the X reservation just in case Elon has a magical rack solution (such as 'racks allowed and they disable the falcon wings while in place') If not, our next car may not be a Tesla after all.

AlMc | March 24, 2015

I think it is safe to say that while TM may lose some reservations/sales if there is no roof rack they will remain supply constrained, not demand constrained for at least until the Model3 comes out. Ultimately, their mission statement is to get wide adoption of EVs so a sacrifice of the outdoors group where a roof rack is a 'deal breaker' will be of minor concern to them.

They may come up with an acceptable way of offering a rack option.
Yes, one falcon door can not be opened if a roof rack is detected by the sensors OR a door that could open 'falcon style' or mini van style if a roof rack is present (my favorite way and engineering possible).

Brian H | March 24, 2015

No, rack-lack won't make that much difference. Plenty of suburban market.