Roof Rack System possible?

Roof Rack System possible?

Would Falcon Wings work with a Roof Rack System?

(It's $519.00 for Model S):

If a roof rack can be installed on the Model X, I hope there's a sensor system that disable the Falcon Wings when there's a luggage on the roof.

On the other hand, by looking at the Falcon Wings design, probably, Model X is not designed for Roof Rack System.

In that case, Model S is more of a work horse as it can carry mattresses and luggage on its Roof Rack System.

Can any one speculate on Model X Roof Rack capability please?

ian | February 9, 2014

Highly doubtful with those doors. Definitely a big complaint amongst prospective owners that like doing outdoor stuff.

Brian H | February 9, 2014

Only the front doors would be usable with that design.

Malibu_Two | February 10, 2014

A Tesla rep told me that he thinks the falcon wings might be optional.

Samuel H. | February 11, 2014

Are you seriously thinking of using a $100,000 car to carry a mattress on the roof? What is your problem?!!! The point is to convey the occupants in style, with lots of comfort, cool features, and entertaining technology; NOT tote junk.

The Model S is not a station wagon, SUV, minivan, or a truck. Those are vehicles suited for doing such deeds.

The Model X is like the Porsche Cayenne or Range Rover Sport. People don't actually use those to haul stuff in. They are fast, large luxury conveyances for the well to do.

The drag caused by large objects on the roof of the Model S or X would drastically reduce the range making long trips impossible. The 60kWh Model S already gets 208 miles per chare. The Model X 60kWh which will be 10% less efficient will only have a 187-mile range, not counting reductions.

Malibu_Two | February 11, 2014

Samuel - An $80,000 SUV that can't carry a surfboard, kayak, or skis is impractical. Now I have to buy another car if I want to carry my kayak? The $80,000 SUV should be able to handle all my needs. If people want to reduce their range efficiency by hauling something, that's their choice, except that with the design of the X, it actually ISN'T their choice, and it's going to negatively affect sales unless they come up with a solution for it.

The falcon wings should be an option for $10K more or something. I'd rather have regular doors with more versatility for less $$$.

trones.mittet | February 11, 2014

I think at this point, regular doors will cost 10k more.

Tâm | February 11, 2014


I hate "luxury" cars because I thought they are impractical.

I am fan of Bjørn's youtube that showed he was hauling pretty much everything in his Model S in the cold winter of Norway.

He's featured on Tesla's site:

He was sleeping in his Model S and also hauling live pigeons with feathers flying all over :)

I want a practical electric car, not a luxury electric car.

Until Tesla can produce an electric truck, I am not going to complain about the practical aspect of Model S and X :)

Iowa92x | February 11, 2014

Elon talked about this recently, skis can be mounted on the roof on the thin strip between the falcon doors or stuff them inside. Assume the same is true for a kayak if slotted sideways.

Brian H | February 14, 2014

Hmm, maybe a hinged rig that lifts somewhat with the doors? Ingeneers are engenious. Or SLT.

David N | February 14, 2014

As Iowa92x mentioned above, in a recent town hall discussion ( I believe in Norway) , Elon assured the audience that he is well aware of the need, and he said it will be possible to transport ski's on the roof.

Tâm | February 16, 2014

@Iowa92x and @David N

Thanks. Does it sounds like Elon has partially solved the the demand for roof rack system by allowing the option as long as it does not interfere with the function of Falcon Wings?

Does it sound like the rook racks will be a very thin strip between the wings which will not accommodate any thing wider than skis only. And of course, the size of the skis has to fit.

Could any one analyze the photo and see whether the inter-wing space is plenty for all sizes of skis (kids as well as adults?)

ian | February 16, 2014

No. It is not enough room for skis. Maybe Nordic skis but certainly not alpine skis that are nearly as wide as snowboards now. Even if the rack folds up with the doors there's not enough room for bindings in there.

I remain very skeptical regarding this roof rack that Elon says they have and I will remain so until I can actually use it myself or see a detailed demonstration. I just don't see how they can make it work.

ian | February 16, 2014

Oh and I don't want one side of the doors disabled to use the rack. That is entirely too inconvenient.

LeonardD | February 16, 2014

I believe the skis are intended to go onto the roof in a vertical position (On the side rather than flat. If two are strapped together they will fit.) Also, the dimensions of the top of the doors may change slightly for the final production model.

ian | February 16, 2014

Without pictures it's hard to visualize what you're describing exactly. Let me put some numbers to it though. I just measured my skis. My wide pair is about 5.5 inches across at the tips and just shy of 6 inches at the brakes (when deployed because there's no boot in them). And they are not the widest on the market. Also, with both skis strapped together base to base the wide part is at the binding heel and the narrowest pair is about nine inches across at this point.

If I had to estimate using the picture above I would say that gap between the fully open falcon doors is 5, maybe six inches.

Snowboards are even wider still but maybe with the bindings folded flat are thinner in that dimension.

I just don't see skis fitting up there in any way.


Tâm | February 17, 2014

An actress could have easily ordered a delivery of an purchased item instead of hauling things in her vehicle.

However, as you can see, actress Hayden Panettiere was activating her Porsche Cayenne's fob as her brother was carrying a mattress to the SUV.

Who says luxury SUV must be impractical?

Iowa92x | February 17, 2014

Folks, if Tesla can invent the Model S and X, they can surely find a solution for hauling skis on/in the X.

justineet | February 18, 2014

Problem with in the middle of falcon doors solution is that it allows only for one set of skis at maximum. Most of the time ppl carry more than one set.

Brian H | February 18, 2014

TM engineers started a rumor some time ago that they had a brilliant secret solution.

Alex K | February 18, 2014

A hydraulic roof rack system was proposed by some in the Tesla Motors Club forum:

Alex K | February 18, 2014

And this too which lifts straight up:

Czech | February 19, 2014

I am looking at getting a MX and did not think of the roof rack problem because I never intended to use one but I might still want the option. The roof rack that rises up is the first thing I thought of when I heard about this potential problem. I think this would be the most simple

holidayday | February 19, 2014

I think a hitch with a cantilever platform would work better than a roof rack.

I don't recall the last time I actually saw an SUV with a roof rack. There is huge amounts of room inside. (especially the X, with the frunk!)

If there was a Tesla designed hitch/platform, then they can design it with aerodynamics in mind to reduce the drag that usually is produced.

uvi | February 20, 2014

I currently own a BMW SUV and yes I use my vehicle for outdoor activities such as kite boarding, towing my boat, transporting my kevlar canoe on the roof and carrying 2 x 4 lumber every now and then. I am looking very much forward to upgrading to a Model X later this year but it better have the basic skill set my my current SUV has, which includes a roof rack (just like very SUV currently out in the marketplace). This is just a very obvious requirement, otherwise count me out.

davidherness | February 20, 2014

A roof rack and towing capacity(even if greatly reduced) are a must have in my opinion. We have had our model S for about 6 months now and the mileage driven on our Cayanne has dropped dramatically, however it is our go to vehicle for ski trips.

cvalhalla | February 21, 2014

They will need to figure this out if the want to fully tap into the SUV market. SUV's are almost half of Porsche sales.

Tâm | February 22, 2014

Thanks Alex K for great hydraulic roof rack proposal.

For those who wonder why not just drop the subject and start thinking about towing:

1) There's no info on Model X towing but Model S manual says "Not Permissible"

2) Even if it is permissible, it is a special skill that I do not want to risk as a new learner with increased risk of accidents because the following skills are very different:

a) Backing up
b) Turning with wider turn
c) Acceleration and Passing
d) Following distance
e) Grades--steep hill
f) Braking
g) swaying/instability controls...

Malibu_Two | February 24, 2014

Tam - I agree. I'd rather sacrifice range for a camping trip than tow a heavy trailer.

EQC | February 24, 2014

I like Alex K's ideas, *except* the hydraulic/motion feature is ONLY serving to move away from the falcon doors, and might cause extra issues if obstacles/ceilings hinder the motion of the rack (and therefore the doors).

I'm thinking Tesla may implement a powered version similar to this design:

The X roof rack could slide backwards, onto and maybe past the lower back end of the X. It may pivot further down if it moves past the liftgate. This way, it gets out of the way of the falcon doors AND brings the rack to an easier loading height.

Suddenly, the design accommodates the falcon doors and is more usable than anything you could attach to a traditional high/square-backed SUV. Double win for Tesla.

Admittedly, there is one obvious drawback: you won't be able to open the rear hatch and the falcon doors at the same time if a rack is installed....small price to pay, I think, since both the rack and the hatch are for cargo.

dave | February 27, 2014

Folks, I am really amused at the number of people who seemingly didn't look at the picture of the X when placing an order. Personally, I did and love the look of the FW doors. If you really want an SUV with a roof rack and/or can't see a way to put skis inside the X, sounds like you should buy a different SUV. Sabre-rattling about cancelling your order if the FW doors preclude a roof rack at this point in the process is unlikely to generate a major change in the X design. (I'd love it if you would cancel 'cause that would move my reservation number up in the schedule.)

Tâm | February 27, 2014

Unfortunately, I hate to admit that you may have a point.

It would be unreasonable for me to demand a roof rack for DeLorean time machine, but hey, this is Tesla :)

jm.tully | March 6, 2014

Yes the falcon winged doors are California cool. However, they are a liability as they limit the MX in its utility. Many sport enthusiasts want to occasionally haul skis, kayaks, bikes and other items and the gull winged doors prohibit it. They also eliminate the sun-roof option that the MS offers and will cause problems hitting rollup doors in many garages.

A simple solution is right under our noses. The solution would still allow for a greater opening and it would incorporate some roof opening for easy assess. A slide opening door similar to those used in vans would be far more practical. Think about it!

AlMc | March 9, 2014

If we believe that TM employs some of the best engineering minds of our time I can envision a solution that has a sensor for a mounted roof rack. If the roof rack is attached the doors slide like on a conventional van. No roof rack sensed, then they open like falcon doors.

TFMethane | March 10, 2014

I know that the Falcon wing doors are programmable to not open fully, depending on the height of your garage. This is the same as the hatchback on the current model S. With that capability, a couple of options open up. I'll mention one:

Have two locations for skis: one on each of the the outside edges of the roof. If you only open one door at a time, it can open fully. If you insist on opening both doors at the same time, the proximal (central) segment of the door simply opens up to 75 degrees instead of 90. The rack, being located basically at the intersegmental hinge point, would have a minimal impact on the total door opening, and you would easily be able to carry all kinds of skis. Simple. Requires no additional hardware of any kind to be installed.

Surf Dog | March 24, 2014

The simplest solution would be to offer an optional alternative type of doors.

I need to carry kayaks and canoes on my roof and might want to also tow a pop up trailer at the same time.

Elon Musk has said he is a great fan of optionality. The Falcon Wing Doors create more problems than they solve for many SUV owners.

Look in any parking lot. Full Width Roof Racks come on many vehicles and many others have added them.

Skinny racks for just a pair of skis just won't cut it. We need to be able to take all of our toys with us.

I don't need Falcon Wing Doors. Pop out and slide back doors will work great for me.

Please Offer Optional Rear Doors!

Brian H | March 24, 2014

Buy a Highlander.

ian | March 27, 2014

Or a Honda Odyssey.

It may sound easy to offer many door options but each variant would have to be crash tested and approved. That takes big bucks.

It's simpler to just offer one door style and let folks decide for themselves if they work for their lifestyle or not.

Pungoteague_Dave | March 27, 2014

There's no way that a door on a car or SUV can ever be deactivated from opening (except for child safety - and those must still be operable from the outside. Think legal issues and crash safety, fire exit, etc. Disabling any door functionality will NOT be an option.

Also, this of you who suggest a moveable roof rack might want to reconsider. I have roof racks on several vehicles. All of them are firmly attached for a reason. No form of roof rack latching mechanism can be strong enough to meet the requirement of several hundred pounds of load plus wind action. That's why the Model S roof rack is BOLTED ON with eight separate bolts. Tesla's engineers are geniuses, but they cannot defy physics. Roof racks have to be bolted securely to permanent fitment points unless they are clamped onto rain gutters/rails, which do not exist on most modern cars, including the Tesla.

The last thing we want is things falling off our cars for our buddies to strike with their batteries, causing fires... Elon says they are going to figure out the roof rack conundrum, and there truly is no such thing as a competent SUV that cannot handle skis, snow boards, and kayaks, but the Falcon doors are a pretty big hurdle.

carlgo | March 28, 2014

The front shifting hydraulic one is interesting, but one that comes up from a trailer hitch location would be more practical. Load stuff at street level and then it just rotates up to the roof.

You could have specialized holders for skis, kayaks, mattresses....

EQC | March 28, 2014

I posted a youtube link to this in action earlier, but found a few pictures that might show it better. I know it doesn't solve all the problems (the front-to-back rails still block the falcon doors), but something similar to this would allow you to slide the load backwards onto or past the rear lift gate. An additional engineering tweek to fully accommodate the falcon doors might be as simple as having 3 segments to those side rails: on the front of the X, on the falcon doors themselves, and just behind the falcon doors. In this way, you get falcon doors + roof rack + easier/lower loading of stuff onto the roof rack.

This was known "No Boundaries" roof rack for the Ford Escape, and the whole rack slid backwards and rocked down to clip into the bumper. It could then double as a bike rack, or simply make loading/unloading light items easier.

Red Sage ca us | March 28, 2014

Just wondering:

1) Did no one actually watch the video of Elon Musk introducing the Tesla Model X?

2) That rack on the Ford Escape has continuous, fixed side-rails on either side.

  • Those side-rails would block the Falcon Wings from opening.
  • There is nothing to prevent you from installing a rack that covers the forward moonroof instead.
  • There could also be a 'piggyback' rack that covers the rear hatch.

3) I rarely see anyone cover their entire roof with haulage.

  • If you will be regularly transporting a mattress, kayak, or canoe, don't get a Tesla Model X.

Any questions?

EQC | March 28, 2014

I agree that the X is probably not intended for people who regularly carry large loads on their roof. I also consider roof racks a bit of a pet-peeve in a sense: so many vans/SUVs/etc. come with them as standard, and I would bet most never get used. While some people do use roof racks regularly, an un-used roof rack just means slightly higher upfront cost and slightly worse gas mileage for the life of the vehicle.

I also agree that the Ford Escape rack wouldn't work as-is...but it does show that the idea of a very simple sliding rack has been done before. Something "similar," but with some engineered modification to accommodate the falcon doors is plausible.

Gwgan | March 28, 2014
oyvind.hestnes | March 29, 2014

Here in Norway people regularly transport objects on the roof of the car. Everything from furniture and kayaks, to skis/skiboxes (skibox with luggage), building materials +++.

Model X is probably supposed to be the "best SUV in the world" when it arrives. With it`s serious roofrack limitation it won`t, at least in Teslas second largest market - Norway.

And to you guys marginalizing the problem and state "buy another car": covering up peoples everyday needs like that is pointless. Why is it so important to argue that we need to live with this door solution that is so impractical for ordinary families? 100K cars are ordinary middle class cars here in Norway.... Yes if I hadn`t had the need for carying things on the roof on my car every now and then (on average maybe once a month on trips etc) I would gladly take the falcon doors! They are stylish, and I don`t think snow will be a problem anymore. But they`re just a too big of a problem for the average norwegian family to be overlooked :( I have the Model S now, and when I`m not forced to use the skibox for skis/snowboard or extra luggage I`m glad to leave it behind, but on some trips it`s absolute necessary. And it will be on the Model X as well if I`m not forced to cancel my reservation.

Red Sage ca us | March 30, 2014

I live in Los Angeles. Honestly, I have rarely had to deal with snow in my travels. I've never lived anywhere that it snowed with any consistency. Though I did have a few 'snow days' when growing up on the farm in Mississippi. So a lot of the things people elsewhere have to deal with regularly, from salt on the roads to snow chains, are absolutely foreign to me.

There is also the fact that in the past 25+ years that I've lived in Los Angeles, the grand majority of people who purchase four wheel drive trucks or sport utility vehicles do not actually use them for their intended purpose. If you have seen the movie 'Cars' (2005), there is a sequence that happens during the credits. Sarge, the Military Jeep, is running an off-road boot camp for city slicker SUVs, whose tires have never been off of pavement or asphalt. They literally have never actually gone off-road a day in their lives.

That is what I see every day in Los Angeles. Big, huge, bulky, gas guzzling, so-called off-road sport utility vehicles that are never used to transport anything heavier than their overpriced stereo systems and 24" chromed wheels on low-profile run-flat tires. In all the time I've lived here, this has also seemed foreign to me, because in Mississippi, such vehicles would be covered in so much mud and grime you could barely see out of the windshield, let alone remember what color the truck was painted.

What I'm saying is that, unfortunate as it may be, the Tesla Model X is not an actual Sport Utility Vehicle. It will be, as are the grand majority of SUVs in Los Angeles, a poser mobile. It will certainly be capable of going off-road. It will certainly be capable of handling inclimate weather. It will certainly be capable of people hauler functions. And for the most part, it will be very capable for hauling cargo. But in practice, it will be driven -- HERE -- by show-offs with more money than brains, far more often than not.

The 'Sport' function will not fully accommodate the needs of skiers, kiyakers, canooers, hang-gliders... etc. The 'Sport' description refers to how it will perform while driving, on and off road. Not so much to the activities one will do once they arrive at their destination. Sorry.

Brian H | March 30, 2014

Hm, "poser mobiles" owned by ...

tryengel | April 1, 2014

I say ditch the falcon wing doors, or offer them as an option. Any disadvantage to not having these doors is insignificant. Living in Colorado pretty much every vehicle, including numerous Model S's, have a roof rack. How am I going to carry my mountain bikes, skis, kayaks - especially for a family of four? I love most everything about the Model X but I can't even consider one without the ability to mount a roof rack. Forget the receiver hitch idea - too limiting.

LeonardD | April 2, 2014

I have good news for everyone who does not want Falcon Wing doors! No, this is not an April fool's joke. In a few short years, Tesla will be producing a less expensive SUV that will have standard doors! Model X however, will not be changed. Live with it.

When there is a need to move furniture one can always rent a truck. I have never carried anything on the roof of my car, although I have an F150 that has a bike rack built into the bed. Pretty handy, but I plan to sell it when I get the Model X.

scoosba | April 3, 2014

This is not a hard issue. Simply have one door stay closed and put the rack on that one side. This way you could still carry the vast majority of gear without issue and the falcon door on one side would still allow ingress and egress with ease. Hitch mount rack for everything else.

toby_wan_kenoby | April 3, 2014

Why is there so little trust here. Don't you think that the company that puts the most advanced vehicle on the road is able to design the best roof rack system there is?

It could slide upwards, it could slide forwards, possibly it could slide to the sides, whatever they come up with it is not rocket science. And as you know they could even handle it if it was rocket science.