What is the performance/maintenance issue with building the X on the S platform?

What is the performance/maintenance issue with building the X on the S platform?

Hi - I am really interested in purchasing an X. What gave me pause recently is the media articles around Elon admitting to mistakes with the X. One of the mistakes being building the X on an S platform is like fitting a shoehorn into something that doesn't fit. What implications does this have to the X performance, maintenance, longevity? Feedback would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

wang5150 | 8 juin 2017

I personally think the X is the naturally evolution of the S to give folks like me that want a higher ride and haul lots of people (without using awkward rear-facing seats like in the S). I think the design of the 3rd row fits nicely with the falcon wing doors for easy ingress/egress. Most others here will tell you that there's plenty of performance catapulting off the line while carrying 6 or 7 people.

As for maintenance and longevity, I'll be coming up on 1 year in August with mine and I've only had 1 minor issue with the A/C that the service center fixed right away.

I think you should attend the local Tesla social events, speak with actual owners and decide for yourself about what's being reported in the news.

Jenson_so | 8 juin 2017

@Wang5150 Appreciate the response. Can you clarify what you mean by "plenty of performance catapulting off the line while carrying 6 or 7 people"?

Agreed I do not put much stock in the media reviews, just wanted to better understand what Elon meant by regretting building X on the S platform and how, if at all, it would impact the performance/longevity of the X.

dmm1240 | 8 juin 2017

I just ordered an X. Both the S and X are great cars and it was a tough decision. In the process of pestering the guys at the Tesla showroom, I asked quite a few questions and received what I consider straight answers. The X got a bad rap early on because the Falcon wing doors had problems, there were some finishing issues, and other mostly minor issues. The Falcon Wing door problem was fixed with a software update that smoothed the opening/closing, sensing objects in the way, and speeding opening/closing up from 5 to 4 seconds. The other problems, from what I can tell, are mostly related to birthing issues. The Tesla guys said they're seeing few people come in to fix problems with vehicles manufactured in 2017. They claim the production line problems are now in the past as Tesla's manufacturing process continues to improve.

The S platform mainly shows up in cargo space and foot room with the 6 or 7 seat configurations. To be honest, there is scant foot room in the third row. It's pretty tight back there. The driver and passenger seats are terrific, the second row good whether you go with the 5 or 6 seat configuration. The problem with the 6/7 seat model is only the third row folds down for extra cargo space. You get enough room for luggage for two to take a trip folding down the third row but that's about it. With the 5 seat option, the second row folds down flat and the interior becomes a cavern to haul stuff around.

One note -- I ordered the enhanced autopilot but passed on the full option ($3,000) for now. It's simply not ready yet and probably won't be truly usable for several years as the software improves and regulatory safety requirements are met. You can go ahead and order it but I wouldn't trust it right now. The enhanced autopilot works fairly well -- a huge update supposedly coming this month -- but it's better to think of it as cruise control on steroids versus true autopilot. Drivers who ignore that can get themselves into trouble they don't want. Fully autonomous cars are just around the corner but we're not there yet.

wang5150 | 8 juin 2017

I have a X75D which can launch off the line to hit 60 mph in about 5 seconds while carrying 6 people. The X100D can about half that time.

Also, I can tow using my X up to 5000 lbs so extra gear/luggage can be in a trailer or 3rd party luggage accessory rack. It was fun towing a float in my X75D... although Tesla got more attention than the parade float that I was towing.

burdogg | 8 juin 2017

I think what Elon was referring to, and complete conjecture, is they were stuck with the size due to the platform. So some complain of space, leg space and storage space. That I think is what he is referring to, as the platform dictates that. SO if you are using the platform as the issue for the other things - then there is nothing there. The performance is not dictated by the platform, nor longevity etc...

Now, as for the Falcon Wing Doors - who knows on longevity of those babies, but I love them :) Maintenance? Again, just the FWD could need a touch more maintenance but Tesla so far has been great at taking care of those under warranty.

SO If you are simply talking about how the platform hurts the doesn't. I think it just constrains what they could have done as far as space and making it more of a true full utility crossover.

MXFan | 8 juin 2017

I was going to say the same thing as burdogg. So instead I'll summarize:

The S platform only hurt the X in regards to the third row seating spacing and potentially the battery size which could have been larger.

burdogg | 8 juin 2017

MXFan is my translator :) (For those that fall asleep reading what I write :)

Saxman | 9 juin 2017

I think of MXFAN as the Cliff Notes to Burdogg's Tolstoy. Both are a great read depending on how much time you want to devote, at that time.


Uncle Paul | 9 juin 2017

It has been traditional for many automakers to build their SUV's on an already existing sedan chassis.

Saves them tons of time and money. Just raise the suspension, make the body taller...instant (and very profitable) SUV.

After doing the same thing, essentially turning their popular Model S into an equally popular Model X, Elon realizes that this is not the best way to design a new vehicle.

It is better to start with a clean sheet of paper, and end up with the an even better vehicle at the end.

He has already indicated that the new, smaller SUV will not be just a modified Model 3, but be a new vehicle, standing on it's own chassis to optimize the design.

Karan | 9 juin 2017

Hi, I have just reserved one from the new UK inventory MX 90D (customer order cancellation I believe) which went into production in March 2017. Anyone who has been using it since March can please confirm if any issue observed since then? If there are still issues reported from the MXs produced in March 2017, I will place a fresh order now.
Any comments from the respected Tesla owners are highly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Karan | 9 juin 2017

Just one more thing to mention, the price of the inventory (brand new, not registered, not used, 50 miles) is around 5000 cheaper than the fresh order with exactly the same features/specifications. I was told from almost everyone I spoke to in Tesla that no discounts are given in Tesla on any car but still the price for this inventory shows a discount of around 6900. Anyone has any idea why Tesla might be selling this inventory (with the same features/specification) around 5-6K cheaper than the similar fresh order? They could actually fetch more (or at least the same) for it given it is available in Heathrow for the immediate delivery. I am somehow speculating that there might be some production issue with the inventory car for which they have put on the discount. Would be great to hear from the existing Tesla owners if they faced the same situation or if know any details in this regard.

MXFan | 9 juin 2017

You should be fine with this car. The 90 batteries will soon be retired and I think that is why you are seeing a discount for them.

Tâm | 9 juin 2017


I don't think there's any problem with performance nor maintenance because the X is built upon the S factor.

The problems are:

1) Design Difficulty and Limitation: Designer's freedom is limited on how to convert a sedan into an SUV with very little wiggle room to spare.

Its size is dictated by the battery size form factor of Model S. I think as a result, second row AND third row cannot be folded at the SAME time. There is not room enough.

Again, this in no way affect performance nor maintenance but it does affect design freedom.

2) Cost and Manufacturing Simplicity: By adhering to older way of Model S parts and assembly, Tesla just can't use 48V instead of 12V battery system. It can't cut down the length of wiring...

Uncle Paul | 9 juin 2017

Tesla is also learning as they go.

From every current model, they are learning ways that their next vehicle can be produced better and more efficiently.

bijlee | 15 juin 2017

I wonder if he is referring to possible unforeseen mechanical strains that result from using a low vehicle platform on a high vehicle, especially one that is heavier and otherwise built for performance. For example, the acceleration shudder is a phenomenon that I don't think exists in the S but has shown up in the X. Have they been replacing half shafts in the S? I think there is a reason why you are less likely to have shudder with low suspension (X behaves more like S) than normal or high suspension.

bijlee | 15 juin 2017

regardless - I'm getting delivery of my X P100D tomorrow afternoon!!!

carlk | 15 juin 2017

burdogg got the best answer. Elon probably meant X could be better designed if it is longer/shorter/wider/narrower but it has to be put on that fixed platform.

inconel | 16 juin 2017

I had the shudder on my S

Perkins53 | 17 juin 2017

Elons comment made me wonder also. Have an S and recently an X. Twice now with the X someone or something has meandered into my lane at about 60 mph. Swerving suddenly and correcting back caused enough cabin rock and roll to worry me even though I know the center of gravity couldn't be much better. From the little I know I would guess in a dedicated SUV platform they would look at suspension and cabin utility for multipurpose use among other things. | 17 juin 2017

I got a different impression from Elon's statement - he was referring to how difficult the engineering was with the Model X and it ultimately took much longer to get into production that they had planned.

I don't think there is are any significant issues with maintenance or longevity with current production over the Model S. Many parts are identical between the S and X and includes the battery, motors, charger, displays, audio system, TPMS, Autopilot, and I'm sure many other components. This means the X gets the advantage of 4 years of improvements that have been made these parts since the S was first released. | 17 juin 2017

I believe that the utility of the Model X and the legroom for third row seats could been improved by making the inside of the car just an inch or so wider and 4 inches longer. The second and third row seats could have been foldable and still have FW doors. For example, I have to remove the driver from my golf bag because the rear storage space is 1 inch too narrow for it.

carlk | 18 juin 2017

FWIW Elon has said the same thing about Roadster too. He said later he would not be using the Lotus platform if he's going to do it over again.

Uncle Paul | 18 juin 2017

Elon also mentioned that he would like to make the model Y (small SUV) on it's own chassis, rather than just build it on the Model 3.

He also intends to make it in a different factory, or assembly line, as he believes they can super speed up the production line by optimizing robot speed, and have multiple robots working at each station.

Tesla is advancing the art and science fo auto manufacturing at a higher rate than any other manufacturer.

Gwgan | 23 juin 2017

I think the reveal prototype had a longer wheelbase and I suspect it had better third row legroom. Constraining it to the MS platform would have forced compromises with space and layout.

Uncle Paul | 23 juin 2017

Not sure that making the X bigger would make it more popular.
It is already a pretty large vehicle.
Love mine. Would not change a thing.

Tropopause | 25 juin 2017

Elon is a quick learner. Going to be fun watching the new kid on the block show the big boys how a genius reinvents automobile manufacturing.

psusi | 30 juin 2017

@Uncle Paul, no, SUVs are built on *truck* chassis. That reason car makers started pushing them is because they were built on a light truck chassis, they were subject to fewer safety regulations than sedans and so were cheaper to make. Crossovers are built up from a sedan chassis.

I don't understand what Elon was smoking before that interview. You don't save capital expenditures by starting from scratch with a whole new design. You save capital expenditures the way they did with the X: by reusing the existing parts and capital already spent on the S.

Uncle Paul | 30 juin 2017

Thought the larger SUV's were built on pick up truck chassis, like Ford Expedition and GM Suburban.

Jeep Grand Cherokee also is considered a Truck chassis, even though it is a modified Unibody chassis.

Usually see truck frames on vehicles that pull much over 5,000 lbs.

Uncle Paul | 30 juin 2017

It is the Crossover's that are built on Sedan, unibody, construction.