Gull wing / falcon wing Doors

Gull wing / falcon wing Doors

I share opinion that these funny looking doors are not practical. There is no need to stand in the car, roof storage is important to all of us who are used to wagons and suvs, and if it is that good why do all doors not open as falcon wing? Just like in an expensive Mercedes. I am concerned about picture at Tesla site where a model X is with open doors in a garage and if not centered right the door opener in the ceiling would have hit one of the doors. Reminds of some of commercials by insurance companies where roof items hit the garage doors.


babstude | 14. august 2014

snoop around in this forum there are a couple of lengthy topics on the doors ...

jdb | 14. august 2014

You have option to choose any other vehicle from any other car company you want, all have regular doors. Why bother those of us who who not only like the falcon wing doors but have deposits and are looking foward to delivery?

Iowa92x | 14. august 2014

Tesla invents things that consumers don't even know they need. The funny looking doors will be successful. You could also ask why does no other company in the world create a 200 mile electric car.

Tesla is different. | 14. august 2014

Stuff on roof = big added drag.
BEV's currently don't have the luxury of excess battery capacity to tolerate the added drag that would result in significantly reduced range.
Therefore, funny or not, falcon wing doors are OK in this vintage of design.
Maybe ten years from now with multi-hundred kWh batteries, a future revision of the MX will appear with a roof rack and conventional rear doors.
I happen to think the falcon wings are fun and kind of cool.

Goose | 15. august 2014

a few years ago i didn't know i needed an ipad - now i have 2 and one is always nearby

i like the doors and agree with the points made by georgehawley

and it sounds like a fundamental question, but i do wonder if the falcon wings can open individually ... the only photos i've seen always have both doors open

Svenssons | 15. august 2014

@tomprout: Of course they can open individual. Exists pictures and films showing this if you do not believe me. For example this:

Goose | 15. august 2014

@Svenssons: thank you for the link - i had not seen that one ... unfortunately, it also shows both rear doors open

in my OP i was asking if there are images of one rear door open at a time

i assume they will operate that way and i've put a deposit on the X, but i find it odd that i can't find an image of one door open at a time

Goose | 15. august 2014

@Iowa92x: perfect! thank you

as i said, i assumed that was the case but wanted to see it

hopefully the betas will be in the showrooms soon

gfb107 | 15. august 2014
Svenssons | 15. august 2014

@tomprout: Take a closer look at the film I linked to at 0:15, just at the begining. Left passenger door is open och right is closed.

Brian H | 15. august 2014

Looking into the frunk, I notice there's no "microwave" space. No more qvetching about cargo nets!

David N | 18. august 2014

I understand the purpose of the Falcon doors were too help with in/out of the 2nd and 3rd row, especially when parked too close to car/wall, thats fine, but how is the driver supposed to get out if parked too close? (that traditional front door still has to swing open)

Brian H | 18. august 2014

He crawls into the 2nd row! Or swivels his seat 180°.

Remnant | 18. august 2014

Rotary doors, which open by rotating under the floor (in the MX, this would be just above the battery) might be a better solution than the falcon doors.

David N | 19. august 2014

"but how is the driver supposed to get out if parked too close? (that traditional front door still has to swing open)"
Crawl under the dash and use the new emergency frunk exit

Remnant | 20. august 2014

No, there is nothing left to swing.

The front and rear doors are joined together into a single door that rotates under the floor.There is no pillar between them any longer. The roof can now be used on its entirety and the sunroof no longer requires fragmentation.

Check the info under "the disappearing car doors".

Remnant | 21. august 2014

The website for rotary "disappearing doors" is:

lancewwlaw | 21. august 2014
bevguy | 30. august 2014

I am not worried about lost sales for people that need to carry a lot of stuff on their roof or haul house trailers. Let them buy a 16 mpg truck based SUV and hope that can afford to fuel it with $5 /gallon gas.

The Model X should appeal to plenty enough drivers to sell lots of cars. I think it will outsell the S .

vperl | 30. august 2014

Bevguy, ditto X 9999^

toby_wan_kenoby | 31. august 2014

why is everybody talking about $5 gas?????

That is completely unrealistic. Why would gas prices all of a sudden jump 25%? There is more than enough gas to go around. When have you ever arrived at a gas station and there was no gas there for you to buy?

Most people can not fathom what is coming.

toby_wan_kenoby | 31. august 2014


Brian H | 31. august 2014

Gas has been over $5/gal in Canada for a long time.

toby_wan_kenoby | 31. august 2014

Hi Brian H,

HTML does not seem to be your strong suit.

Brian H | 31. august 2014

Pretend closing tags make you an HTML jenyus? A very low bar.

toby_wan_kenoby | 31. august 2014

If you can read closing tags and you can read english and still don't get the sarcasm then you don't have a low bar.

bevguy | 31. august 2014

"Why would gas prices all of a sudden jump 25%"

Maybe you are too young to remember 1973.

toby_wan_kenoby | 31. august 2014

I give up

Brian H | 31. august 2014

You take yourself way too seriously. We GET that you were deliberately overstating and spoofing. My $5 comment was a rueful observation about living with what seems extreme to Americans. But you didn't get it, and made an arrogant assumption and put-down attempt. Bark orf. | 01. september 2014

Funny doors are all the rage:

vandacca | 02. september 2014

I understood your sarcasm and I find it ironic that an argument arose when everyone is in total agreement with each other. :)


NumberOne | 02. september 2014

I disagree to agree to disagree and perhaps then we will agree.

Mark K | 06. september 2014

The falcon doors define the X.

TeoTeslaFan | 07. september 2014


In the other Tesla forum recently I wrote a few messages suggesting that the falcon wing doors could be a danger to cyclists. They didn't like that and I was banned. It is a shame they can't handle opposite views at TMC forum.

Before somebody gets a wrong idea about me, I'm big Tesla fan. I like what this company does. I like Elon Musk's vision. In various news blogs I have been defending Tesla against ignorant authors and commentators. You can read some of my messages supporting Tesla on my disqus profile here:

I think the following are meaningful questions we can try to answer:

#1. Can a cyclist hit the open falcon wing doors?
#2. Car doors are already a danger to cyclists. Why are the falcon wing doors different?
#3. Why should a Model X driver or passenger be worried about risks to cyclists?
#4. What can Tesla do to reduce the risk to cyclists?

I'm sure your answers might be different than mine. That's perfectly fine by me. I do respect other people's opinion. I would like to read your answers too. Please feel free to add what you think.

I will try to answer them each in a different message to keep information more organized and readable.

Brian H | 07. september 2014

Dumb. The falcon wing door rises up, first, then swings out about 7' above the ground. You should be banned. ):<

TeoTeslaFan | 07. september 2014

#1. Can a cyclist hit the open falcon wing doors?

I want to divide this into two questions:

A. When the doors are open are they low enough to hit?

I'm 5'11" but on my bicycle I'm 6'5". I ride a medium size hybrid bike with flat handlebars. So I would say yes the doors are low enough. I would most likely hit them. Somebody my height with a larger bike would hit them too. Somebody taller than me would also hit them even with a road bike when riding upright with hands on the hood even though that is not as upright as a hybrid bike.

If you want to do your own measurements I suggest standing on your bike under a door frame.

B. Do the doors stick far enough from the car to hit.

In the following video Elon says "We designed falcon wing door such that it only goes out about a foot."

I did some tests. I rode under a door frame without hitting the frame from the sides and my head could hit any object if it sticks out more than 9 inches from the side of the frame.

Elon says "about" a foot. To me it looks like 14 inches which matches Elon's statement. Because it is more than 9 inches I would hit it when riding close to a parked Model X.

So my answer based on these two measurements is yes a cyclist can hit the falcon wing doors if the car is parked at the side of the road with both doors open and the cyclist happens to ride close to parked cars.

TeoTeslaFan | 07. september 2014

#2. Car doors are already a danger to cyclists. Why are the falcon wing doors different?

For three reasons:

A. In a regular car you never leave the road side door open unattended. In Model X you do. Imagine a driver getting into the car but first she has to fit a baby chair. How do you do that? You press the button on the key fob. Both doors open. Then you go into the car from the pavement side door. The road side door also opens but that's fine because it is not a danger to cars passing by. They don't drive close enough.

However cyclists do because they want to avoid passing cars. While somebody is inside the car fitting a baby chair or having a conversation on the pavement side or loading some bags to the frunk, the road side rear door stays unattended. This doesn't happen with regular cars.

B. With regular cars you don't hit the door that is already open. Regular car doors open for seconds. Therefore mathematically there is little probability to hit them.

A regular car door needs to open within 2 seconds for a cyclist to hit. If I'm riding and a door opens 3 seconds in front of me, I will maneuver around it. It needs to open 1 or 2 seconds in front of me for me to hit.

With the Model X, somebody might open the door and fit a baby chair for 2 minutes or have a conversation for 2 minutes on the pavement side. During any moment of that 120 seconds the cyclist can hit the door. The mathematical probability is 60 times greater.

C. When a cyclist hits a regular car door the point of impact is either he front wheel, the handlebar, cyclist's knees, the pedals or the frame of the bike. Here the impact is cyclist's head.

In regular dooring accidents the cyclist might fly of off his bike to the ground. Arms will stretch out to protect the head before hitting the tarmac. There is time for reflexes.

With the Model X, there is no warning, no time to protect your head. The first thing that happens is a sharp blade hits the cyclist's head without any warning.

This is much more dangerous than hitting a regular car door. Imagine running inside the house and smashing your head against the top of the door frame. It would hurt a lot.

Now imagine riding your bicycle in a park and hitting the top of the gate with your head. That is much more dangerous. However falcon wing doors are even more dangerous because the impact surface is much smaller.

For the park accident to be comparable the top of the gate needs to be made of 3mm thick metal. Imagine hitting a 3mm metal with your head instead a bigger and flat surface. That is about as deadly as it gets. The shape 3mm blade like edge of the falcon wing doors can be seen here:

TeoTeslaFan | 07. september 2014

#3. Why should a Model X driver or passenger be worried about risks to cyclists?

There are two reasons:

A. Legally it is the person's fault who opened the door, not the cyclist's. In the US, Australia and UK, and probably in every other country as well (those three are the countries I checked) there are laws about this. Search for dooring accident law.

Personal injury claims are a big industry and you should expect a lawsuit against you for compensation. Because dooring accidents are legally your fault, it makes sense to research insurance cover now.

B. The cyclist could be a family member of relative. Dooring accidents don't just happen to some stranger. It could be you, a member of your family or somebody close to you to gets injured. These doors are deadly to cyclists. Therefore it makes sense to pay attention where you park to car and make sure that a cyclist can't ride close to it. Also talk to every cyclist in your family or relatives to make sure the know not to ride close to the car.

TeoTeslaFan | 07. september 2014

#4. What can Tesla do to reduce the risk to cyclists?

A. Add a sound to the driver side rear door when it's open. This will discourage people from leaving the door open for long time. It would also discourage from opening both doors instead one. It would also warn a cyclist.

B. Add flashing lights to the depth of the door so that a cyclist will see doors at night time that are already open when approaching the car from a distance.

C. Add reflectors to the depth of the door as a backup to lights and to improve visibility during daylight.

D. Add separate buttons to the key fob so that drivers don't open both doors needlessly when the car is parked and they only need to use one the door on the pavement side.

E. Do some tests of your own whether a cyclist can hit the open doors.

F. Add content to the manuals and videos on this website, warning owners against cyclist head injuries.

G. Add sensors to the passenger rear door that detect an approaching object from 10 meters. This should trigger an alarm and flashing lights on the doors.

Red Sage ca us | 07. september 2014

I like bikes. I've been riding bikes since I was a little kid. There have been times while riding that I had to pass by trees or shrubbery. Occasionally, they may not have been well pruned. So while riding by, I ducked.

I presume I would probably do the same if I were riding a bicycle in the bike lane and saw the gull wing door of a Mercedes-Benz SLS or Tesla Model X in the fully deployed position nearest traffic.

But then, I am a fully aware cyclist with superb reflexes and stuff.

vandacca | 07. september 2014


If someone opens a Falcon Wing door to put in a baby into their seat, there is no reason why they have to open both doors simultaneously. I would assume they only open the curb-side door to do that, thereby eliminating your issue of the road-side door being open for several minutes.


TeoTeslaFan | 07. september 2014

Red Sage,

I'm talking about an accident where the cyclist doesn't see the already open door. I'm not talking about the door moving and you ducking. The door is already open. It doesn't move. Therefore you wouldn't realize them. Sometimes you look at things and don't see them if they don't move and if they are where you don't expect something.

In other cars you can not leave the road side door open for a few minutes unattended. It never happens. With the Model X this will regularly happen.

You might say, why wouldn't I see the doors if they are already open? There are many possible reasons. Here are a few:

1. If the doors are already open, there is no movement at all. You don't expect car doors to open above the car and stick outside where you can hit them but at the same time they don't move at all when you approach them from a distance. It is a combination of a lot of wrong things. You might as well attach a horizontal metal bar to road sign at head level. It doesn't move either and just waits there for somebody to hit. That is something similar to the falcon wing doors.

The main reason why you wouldn't see these doors is because if they are already open they don't move and they are located where people wouldn't look for obstacles.

2. It might be getting dark and you wouldn't see them against a dark background especially if they are not moving at the time.

3. You might be focused on the road surface to avoid potholes and if the doors are already open you wouldn't see them.

4. You might be riding a road bike with your hands on the drop bars. Your visibility would be limited. Then if you suddenly rise up and move your hands from the drops to the hood your head will be high enough to hit the doors.

I have been riding bicycles for over 30 years too. My main objection to the falcon wing doors is that they stick out 14 inches from the car. Not too far to obstruct traffic but enough to hit cyclist's head (9 inches or more is enough according test).

Also leaving those doors open while you take care of other things looks like the natural standby mode for these doors.

You would close them only after whatever it is you were doing which could be loading/unloading bags from trunk, fitting a baby chair, having a chat with somebody next to the car on the pavement side and hundred other things. You would not close the door, then open, then close again. Each time takes 30 seconds. A regular car door takes 1 second.

Another thing I don't like is the fact that if you hit them you are as good as dead. Riding close to parked cars is not deadly. I can ride 20cm close, 10cm close, 1cm close still not deadly. Then I can hit parked cars but still it is not deadly. It doesn't kill if a cyclist rides too close and hits parked cars.

Here the situation is completely different. I'm riding 30cm close to parked cars. Now I'm riding closer. 25cm. Then 21, 20 and you are dead. Because they are at head level they are deadly. Nothing on the road should be so deadly as moving a few cm closer to the cars suddenly killing you with no warning.

If a few cyclists die because of these doors, this will create huge problems for Tesla. There would be a lot of lawsuits, bad press and poor sales. In a few messages above I wrote suggestions to Tesla. I hope they implement those.

Unfortunately I believe that a few cyclists will die because of these doors. This is very obvious to me.

In regular car accidents maybe 0.1% dooring accidents are fatal. Here the fatality rate is 50% at least. That is 500 times difference. Also the time they stay open versus regular car doors was 60 times more. Therefore if you are a cyclist a falcon wing door is 30.000 more likely to kill you than a regular car door.

Look at the picture above with the sharp blade edge and tell me if you would be OK if you hit that at speed. I think the most likely scenario is that the door will hit your eye first and crack your skull and cut through your head. I don't see how any cyclist can survive.


One possible reason is when you press the button on the key fob both doors will open. Another reason is, when getting out you don't close the door as you get out. The driver would close the door when he decides to do it which could be a while.

Let's say you are the driver. You have two kids in the back seat. You park the car at the side of the road and press two buttons. The trunk button and the doors button. Everybody gets out. The trunk is open. The doors are open and they remain open until you empty the bags and are ready to lock and leave the car. That's the time you close the doors not before.

As you see, if this was a regular car your 10 year old would have closed the door when leaving. Here the doors stay open which could be a few minutes if you have things to do.

For this car for the doors to remain open for a while is a natural state. It is like a standby mode. They just wait without disrupting the traffic. The only thing they endanger are cyclists which is an overlooked risk by Tesla.

Iowa92x | 07. september 2014

Situational awareness, if a cyclists hits a car/door, perhaps it is their fault.

TeoTeslaFan | 07. september 2014

Iowa92x ,

Legally you are responsible. I would love to see your face after your lawyer tells you there is a law in your country holding you responsible and you have to page 200K in a personal injury claim.

Indeed there is a law like that in almost every country. Just search for dooring accident law as I suggested.

TeoTeslaFan | 07. september 2014

I'm re-posing this because for some reason my previous message is invisible to others.


Legally you are responsible because there is a law in almost every country about that holding the driver or the person opening the door responsible. It means if the cyclist survives you will face a personal injury lawsuit. If he dies, a wrongful death lawsuit. Either way I hope you have a good insurance or an expensive house so you can sell your house.

I have check the law in the UK, the US and Australia. I expect to see a similar law in other countries too.

Red Sage ca us | 08. september 2014

1. If the doors...
2. It might be getting dark...
3. You might be focused...
4. You might be riding...

Each of these hypothetical situations is something that I severely doubt would ever happen to a seasoned, experienced cyclist. We'll find out if I'm wrong around this time next year, if there are a rash of decapitations among them. | 08. september 2014

I found out the hard way that Japanese taxi drivers are required by law to open back doors with levers in the front seat area because bicyclists like to try to ride between the curb and parked vehicles. I almost dislocated the poor guy's shoulder. Cyclists exist and are street legal. There will be incidents involving falcon wings and cyclists, probably not fatal if the cyclist is wearing the required protective headgear. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Here are some further thoughts.

1. Alert cyclist sees street side door opening. Cyclist veers 20 cm.
2. Alert cyclist sees open door ahead ducks a couple of inches.
3. Driver opens door just as cyclist is passing by. Door sensor detects cyclist and reverses.
4. Possible MX feature: blind spot detectors on both sides of car that prevent opening doors in presence of advancing cyclist or other moving vehicle.

TeoTeslaFan | 08. september 2014

I think the idea of transferring the responsibility to the cyclist falls apart if you think that your own family members could be at risk. If an accident happens to your loved ones I guarantee that you won't say "The cyclist was inexperienced".

According my measurements a cyclist riding 6 inches close to the car will hit the door. Such a risk is unacceptable in my book. It is a design flaw. They should have cleared off those last 6 inches by reducing the amount sticking out.

I see this risk similar to an exposed electric wire that kills when touched. Touching the couch, the table, the chair, the wall is fine but if you happen to touch the wire it kills you. That wouldn't be acceptable in your living room.

Riding 6 inches to an Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Model S is fine but if there happens to be a Model X between those cars you are dead. That is not acceptable.

Cars are meant to be parked outside your house. Children should play and teenagers should cycle around them without getting seriously injured if they look the other way for a moment or if it is dark outside.

The fact that the impact surface is so thin and deadly should be alarming to the design team. You can hit that sharp edge with only 20 mph speed and still die.

Imagine a cyclist riding around a Model X in the front yard, very slowly, even at walking speed. Still you can hit the door and lose your eye because the height is about right. However lets wait and see. Hopefully I'm wrong.

NumberOne | 08. september 2014

All I can say is that where I live it is way too dangerous to ride a bike and even more dangerous to open the rear doors with that side of the car exposed to any kind of traffic. There was an incident of woman belting in her preschooler right at an elementary school, where she was sideswiped and killed on the spot. Most people are not going to open the back doors, and when they do so, it will be unlikely to be in a situation where a bicycle will come speeding by. In My area there are few parallel parking spots. Where those exist, it is safer for passengers to get out on the curb side of the vehicle.

I look for cyclists when I open regular doors. Why would I not do the same for Falcon wing doors? I really do not see the point.

Riding your bike so fast past a bunch of parked cars is reckless especially as close as 6 inches away. That is what is unacceptable.

You are bound to hit a mirror, which can throw you under the cars next to you. Who's fault it is, is of little relevance when you are dead. The person who is blamed may have insurance and will pay, but you are still dead.