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Falcon Wing Doors = Achilles Heel?

Falcon Wing Doors = Achilles Heel?

I hope I'm wrong, but seems to me these doors are still problematic. They open/close very slowly and according to reports from the unveiling, there are issues with the doors sealing properly. And what is the benefit of being able to open these doors with 12 inches of clearance if the driver can't get out? I would have preferred conventional doors that would allow for roof racking.

Had the falcon wing doors been ditched two years ago I would be driving an MX now, and Tesla would likely be cranking out 100,000 vehicles a year. As it stands, I suspect more production delays and further negative news about these blasted doors.

Elon was hell-bent on making these doors reality, but I fear the reality will be disappointing. With so much of Tesla's fortunes hinging on the MX, these doors may turn out to be an unnecessary risk of form over function. But I hope I'm wrong.

Ankit Mishra | 10. oktober 2015

I strongly believe that you are wrong. In my opinion those doors are going to give Tesla an exceptional advantage. And great things take time. But that's my opinion. Agree to strongly disagree.

carlk | 10. oktober 2015

What's your reservation number? I'm sure you will love it when and if you got your car. I know I will. If you listen to every FUD (like yours) you hear on the internet you will not buy anything in the world again.

DTsea | 10. oktober 2015

Yes you are wrong.

JeffreyR | 10. oktober 2015

I think this is a reasonable position not an attempt to spread Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD). Elon and Tesla are trying to break the mold. They realized that getting little ones in and out of a car can sometimes be a challenge. A trade off was made between:

Quick entry, an existing well understood solution, and conventional approaches to roof storage;

and

Easier entry, an exotic, head-turning design and tow-hitch accessories instead.

I agree w/ the OP that if the Model X had conventional doors and everything else was the same we would already see them on the road.

Tesla has bet their future on early adopters being more interested in novelty, exceptional design, and passenger comfort than conventional utility. We already know there are some folks that feel the extra wait, the lack of easy interior/roof storage, and higher price are causing them to cancel their reservations. We also know that there are plenty of reservation holders willing to wait another few months, accept no second-row folding seats and towing their bikes/skis instead of racking them on top.

We will never know what the Model X reservation/production numbers would be like now if it had conventional swing doors, a Panoramic roof (like Model S), cost $5K less and was available last Fall.

I think the Model X would have sold just fine in that configuration, even with its sculptural second-row seats. They could have put Falcon Wing Doors (FWD) on the second Roadster/Sportscar (since a roadster does not have a roof like that) instead.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roadster_(automobile)

I think this argument hinges in two places:

1) The FWD are the primary reason for the Model X's delay
2) The delay has put Tesla and the Model ≡ at risk

First, I am not sure if the full story of the reason for the Model X's delay will ever come out. I am certain that the FWD contributed to the delay, just not by how much. Second, Tesla has kept demand and sales of the Model S increasing during the Model X's delay. Things like All-wheel Drive (AWD), Insane/Ludicrous Mode, and Autopilot (soon) have helped.

The Gigafactory and Supercharger network (to a lesser degree) have also contributed to Tesla's big spending. Both are necessary even essential to Tesla's future. Even if the Model X had been released last Fall w/o FWD, Tesla would still have had to spend enormous CapEx on its line.

Yes, Tesla left several thousand sales on the table by delaying the Model X release. But they replaced many of those sales w/ Model S ones instead. Everyone expected the FWD to part of the Model X reveal. The only big surprise was the lack of folding second-row seats and that had already leaked.

I think the future still looks bright, even if a little delayed.

Ankit Mishra | 10. oktober 2015

In my opinion Tesla is far more insightful than me and also people doubting FWD now. There are only a limited amount of people that are going to buy EV over ICE. Some people are overestimating Tesla's success. The car needs to be much better than an ICE car to compensate for the perception it has among common people. A normal car isn't going to pull people towards it and they buy an ICE. Elon understood it and that's why he made Model S into a sexy car with crazy acceleration. That's why he told autopilot will come, free SC, no dealership sales etc. Elon has a long term plan while some people are just interested in 1-2 years. (I am no hotshot. Just my insignificant opinion)

Chunky Jr. | 10. oktober 2015

I think the model X is very compelling. However, Elon has said that it is a very difficult car to manufacture. Maybe they will make a derivative of the X that is easier to manufacture (e.g no FWD) and the X becomes a more upscale niche product?

Ankit Mishra | 10. oktober 2015

No. There won't be X without FWD. And Elon said FWD will in Model Y. So they are here to stay. (my interpretation)

carlk | 10. oktober 2015

@Chunky Jr. Elon said it's a difficult car to manufacture but I think he pretty much got it all figured out by now. He said one of the next two cars, presumbly the smaller CUV, would have the FWD too. Don't know if that would be standard or optional though. I actually think the FWD will be the standard issue for all higher end CUV's, just like the sliding door is to minivans, in the future.

Tâm | 10. oktober 2015

Apparently, you've not taken the poll:

http://my.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/poll-any-love-falcon-wing-doors

It says Falcon Wings Doors do not hurt sales and far many people would buy current Model X than wouldn't!

ernie | 10. oktober 2015

They Falcon Wing Doors resonated with me. A moderately important item and very useful on ferry boats and other tight quarters. Some have said that even with the 12" you could not get out. If so, perhaps a little too much body weight would preclude some from exiting, but most will be able to manage to get through.

Think I will lose a few pounds just to ensure.

TonyInNH | 10. oktober 2015

Most people, including myself, were interested in the S because it was the only EV that had power, range, and space.

Tesla should have just stuck with the basics, they'd be selling X like hotcakes by now and would have all the time in the world to develop a next generation model with the FWD, panoramic windshield, etc.

Chunky Jr. | 10. oktober 2015

I think FWD are very cool. I wonder if they are too hard to manufacture. Something is keeping Tesla from cranking out Model X's by the hundreds every week. FWD seems like an obvious culprit, but perhaps it is something else, or a combination of FWD and other things.

Hopefully @carlk is right and they got it all figured out and they will start rolling off the assembly lines.

I see dozens of Model S every day. It will be great to see a bunch of Model X driving around as well.

Mark Z | 10. oktober 2015

The Falcon Wing Doors were the attention getter that got our Signature vote with a deposit on 2/9/12. Seeing multiple DeLoreans at a Tesla rally only added the desire for futuristic design and ease of entry.

Wait until the buyers report their enjoyment with the Model X before writing off the design as a problem. Even if there are some issues, just as the Panoramic Roof had, Tesla Motors will engineer a solution to make the Model X better each time there is a hardware or software update.

aesculus | 10. oktober 2015

I am happy with the FWD because they are cool and I will used them infrequently. Someone who uses them multiple times a day may have a different opinion.

So this comment is sort of the opposite side of the second row folding seat issue. Most claim we don't need them because they would be used so infrequently. Just live without them.

So while I don't need the FWD, I see no reason to deny the feature for those that do. I would expect the haters of those who want the folding seats would see it the same way. Why deny folding seats just because you don't see a need for them. Nothing wrong with the existing seats folding too.

And don't post that you think there are technical reasons that the folding seats don't exist. There is no evidence for that and you can see other posts of mine claiming why.

deeageux | 10. oktober 2015

FwD is Tesla's Ace in the Hole.

NumberOne | 10. oktober 2015

While I might feel a little uncomfortable with the attention I will undoubtedly get with the falcon wings, I will get used to it and at the same time I will be able to share the benefits of BEVs like Model X, and tell people that they will soon be widely available and have a much smaller total cost of ownership (TCO) than standard gas powered vehicles.

rossRallen | 10. oktober 2015

Where's @vperl when we really need him?

georgehawley.fl.us | 10. oktober 2015

I don't think the FW doors are any slower than the rear doors of a Honda Oddysey. You don't want them to be much faster because kids could be running in and out.

Red Sage ca us | 10. oktober 2015

OP: No.

vperl | 10. oktober 2015

You losers do not like the X, sail away.

Buy a KIA.

GET off this forum, join the KIA forum.

Ok, losers slither away, gone, never to return.

Heard you losers are waiting for the mythological iApple car. Party on Garth.

mdssk1 | 10. oktober 2015

Well I don't profess to have any insight or inside knowledge but I was at the reveal and I have toured the factory. My take on the delay is based on a few things going on over and above the FWDs.
first until the battery production is moved to the new plant there is a fair amount of space being used that is needed to add a second production line.
Second there was a time when they were going to teach the robots to do more than 1 function but that has been abandoned and additional robots were needed.
Third I think that a fair amount of time was spent on the new sensors that can "see" through the aluminum shell so there would be no external sensor (puck) that would be seen.
Forth I believe that with all the additional technology they were creating and implementing it was hard to stop long enough to say this was a final product. Consequently the model S has benefited greatly from what is now standard on the Model X.
Fifth the electric motor production portion of the factory is being tasked with making twice the amount of motors than ever before as the X has 2 and it is now an option on the S and they also manufacture for other car companies as well.
I am sure there are many other factors as well relating to raw material being sourced in a large enough consistent quality to make this first ever car be manufactured without interruption.
I'm just say'n...

Ross1 | 10. oktober 2015

The Chinese market is bigger than the American market.

It is even VWs biggest market.

FDs are more for high end chauffeur driven (and driverless/ invisible chauffeur) than for rich children to amuse themselves

Musk is ESTABLISHING the need we didn't know we had.

Oh, also for getting horses into.

Ross1 | 10. oktober 2015

Do you really think the opinion of you lovely folk on the fora, with all your woes, foes and prose are representative of the general populace (including other countries)?

vandacca | 10. oktober 2015

I already wrote up my thoughts on why no one will be able to say whether the Falcon wing Doors (FwD) is a success or failure for a few years in another thread.

It's entirely possible that without something extraordinary like the FwD, the Model-X may not have gotten enough attention to succeed.

But until we get to use it day in and day out, we cannot say for certain how "useful" they are or how successful it will become.

Recall that when Steve Jobs revealed the iPad, it was considered a flop because nobody could understand the use case.

It ended up being too successful for it's own good. People were so content with it, that they didn't feel the need to upgrade it year after year, thereby affecting sales later down the road.

carlk | 10. oktober 2015

Or when the iPhone without physical keypad first came out. No one believed how that thing could work. The thing is most people think inside the box and can't relate to what they have never experienced before. It takes visionaries to show us the way. Jobs has said he just have to tell people what is good for them. That's basically the fallacy of market test as some asked earlier (whether Tesla did that). You are not going to design a product that is better than what your customers could figured out.

Elon always say he does things by the first principle not by analogue. I'm pretty sure he did the FWD that way and he has thoroughly thought through it. We just have to see.

AlMc | 10. oktober 2015

The EWD (Elon Wing Doors to delineate them from FWD..Front Wheel Drive) doors are a major attraction of the X for many people. All things considered I would prefer the EWDs over conventional doors if it had not been what has been the biggest delay, and perhaps a major R&D expense, in the X production (IMO).

I think the doors will eventually work without issue and will be a defining feature for the X. I was at the reveal and waited for a 'test ride'. I would point out that two of the Xs were pulled at one time because of problems with the operation of the doors. One came back quickly, the other never returned and I was there for the entire night. Maybe the other one was OK and they did not need it but the queue for test rides was quite long and slow moving during the time it was absent.

Great new features will attract attention/define a vehicle but they also have a cost in time and money to produce which is my primary point. I like the EWD. I just question the wisdom of having them at this time in TM's history.

They will help generate sales in the long run but 'may' have slowed TM down a bit from completing their mission statement. A mission statement I support.

michelcub | 10. oktober 2015

Let's imagine for one moment that all cars are electric since 1900 and ice is invented in 2015. As complicated as ice are,nobody would belive that they would be successful .Imo after resolving problems, the EWD (i like it)will work just fine.

Claudedohrn | 10. oktober 2015

I don't know what caused the delay and like the FW doors, although we probably won't use them much. However, if you ask me whether I would choose to get my X a year or two ago with conventional doors, or wait another few months (res #6,xxx) for the X with FW doors, I would have been driving the X now rather than trying to keep my stinking Range Rover driveable while I wait. Just my 2 cents.

Iowa92x | 10. oktober 2015

I will feel like a geek picking my kid up at school with the clown doors showing off. Reservation #16k.

Ross1 | 10. oktober 2015

If you feel like one you are one then.

Is geek in the eye of the beholden?

carlk | 11. oktober 2015

@michelcub Good point. ICE drive train is million times more complicated than the FWD yet offers not benefit at all.

AlMc | 11. oktober 2015

@michelcub: Totally agree. Only problem is that ICE has been around for years and EWD are the new tech to master.

Al1 | 11. oktober 2015

I am supportive of Tesla mission as well. I don't think however falcon wing doors R&D stood in the way of Tesla mission.

Tesla can most likely produce a car at a price comparable to Volt or Leaf, just better. The questions however are

1. how many of those can be produced?
2. where will they charge?

If the current battery production can only support production of 50 thousand units, than its better to first focus on each unit priced at 120.000 than on ones priced at 35.000.

Similar rationale goes for charging infrastructure.

GM has got 11 billion essentially for the same mission. Result? Thousand Volts a month.

Nissan has got 6 billion pretty much for the same thing. Result? Probably two thousand Leafs a month.

Ford has got comparable amounts for similar thing. Result? Fifteen hundred C-Max and Fusions a month.

None of the three is really making much money on electric cars. Electric cars combined make less than 1% of new car sales in the US, but charging even that little amount is a mess.

carlk | 11. oktober 2015

@Al1

I am supportive of Tesla mission as well. I don't think however falcon wing doors R&D stood in the way of Tesla mission.

Elon already twitted the FWD will go into other future products. That's part of the long term plan to sell more better cars not just a one time gimmick. It's very likely other car companies will eventually follow suit with their higher end CUV. Just like every new car announced now are having larger screen but Tesla is still the clear leader there. Elon said he wants to lead not follow in everything. To follow is too easy everyone can do it.

LauraTesla | 11. oktober 2015

It was my understanding at the launch demonstration of the few doors.....that it was just that a demonstration of the extreme conditions that the doors can open in. I think the Tesla engineers know people can't get out of the front doors with a 12 inch opening.....it was just a "demonstration".

LauraTesla | 11. oktober 2015

Fw doors.

Roamer@AZ USA | 11. oktober 2015

You people can't be pleased. If they didn't open them in a tight space everyone would be complaining that the doors need too much space to open. So they demo them in a really really tight space and people say how are you going to get out of the drivers door.

Bi-polar much.

danej | 11. oktober 2015

The doors are an advertisement.

eric.zucker | 12. oktober 2015

The Falcon Wing doors give the Model X a touch of style and modernity, a bit of exuberance, which I find most welcome. Something different and new, that further sets it apart from the rest. It should not require more maintenance than any electric hatch door as found on many other cars.

OK, it does stand out. Some will want more discretion, but all things considered, there's nothing wrong driving a non-polluting car, eh? What is there to be ashamed of?

This will help build awareness of the brand. We are there to help Tesla. And best of all it will prove hugely convenient.

proven | 12. oktober 2015

I keep seeing people commenting on how the Falcon Wing Doors are too slow. I was at the launch event for the X and the doors are not as slow as people are making them out to be. They actually have a variable speed depending on if there are obstacles nearby. When there is no obstacle the doors open pretty quickly, only a bit slower than our odyssey sliding doors. It's when there is something close to the car when it slows down--presumably to make sure they don't hit anything.

eric.zucker | 12. oktober 2015

Just summon the car out of its spot with the smartphone app. Park in the tightest spaces, need just enough clearance not to scrape the paint.

flyjeffva | 12. oktober 2015

yea @eric.zucker, if 2 Model X's park on either side of any car with regular doors, you "lock" them out of their car.

David N | 12. oktober 2015

Original Poster: No
Tesla has said that production may be based on suppliers ability to provide what Tesla needs on a timely basis.
I would imagine those door sensors that "scan through aluminum" are not off the shelf components. That oversized airfilter w bio grade filtering I'm sure is a special manufactured piece. Manufacturers may have contracts for production already active for other jobs, perhaps Tesla needs to wait until these companies can do Teslas run. It goes on with the special seats, the special glass roof, the special mount for the rear view mirror and visors, the motors that open the front door, on and on and on.
Who knows what other custom parts are needed.

David N | 12. oktober 2015

FWD doors?
Just wait until Moms start dropping their children off at school in some of the affluent districts, other Moms are going to want the MS.

carlgo | 12. oktober 2015

Tesla will be able to sell FWD cars for a premium and in the end will make more money by selling cars with falcon doors than they would with cars featuring regular doors.

Roamer@AZ USA | 12. oktober 2015

The only negative I see is the doors will attract people who want to see them and ask questions. Back in 2013 everytime I parked my S people would come over to ask about it. As more cars went into service this finally slowed down. Now with the X it will start back up for a year or two.

I enjoy introducing people to Tesla products but have to admit I got tired of answering questions while standing in parking lots.

I see the attention the doors will draw as the only negative.

georgehawley.fl.us | 12. oktober 2015

The other drawback is that when two Model X cars park next to each other, the adjacent FW doors will attempt to open but will stop after sensing the other door trying to do the same. There will then be a door gridlock with each polite door saying, electronically. "After you." " No, after you.".....

1LuckyGuy | 12. oktober 2015

Falcon doors will be the single biggest draw from everyone who sees the car. Why are so many acting shocked that they did what they said they were going to do? They rock. If you don't like it, buy a Prius.

carlk | 12. oktober 2015

My wife even jokes that she wants to be an Uber driver when she got her X. That will make her the highest earning Uber driver in the world.

AlMc | 12. oktober 2015

@1luckyGuy;

I don't believe people are shocked that TM did indeed follow through on the EFDs. The discussion centers around whether it was a good idea vs conventional door(s). The pluses: attention getting/high-tech/brand identifying VS. minuses: use of scarce engineering and monetary resources/delay in release due to
the design/*possible* increase in repair costs.

I like the EWD. But I also want to see TM realize their mission statement asap. So, in the short run, the EWDs caused a delay in
production and use of funds and engineering expertise that may have been directed to the model 3....My hope is in the longer run
it will cause enough cash flow increase and brand recognition to more than offset any negatives.

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