I like the article and I love the Falcon wing doors. If they work well, maybe we will see those on other vehicles. The rear most seats appear to have zero leg room or is that just an illusion? I wonder if that 17" screen will be too distracting for the driver?
I noticed that image 5 in the series appears to be a Model S instead of the X, but I could be mistaken.
NiteOwl, I agree with you that the screen will be distracting. Perhaps a cover for all but the top three inches or so would be good. You could slide it down when you needed to do something involving the rest of the screen. It does seem to have an instrument cluster as well, so this probably is not info needed for driving.
One problem you might run into with the doors is clearance. I don't have enough information to know if this would be a problem, but it could.
I agree...a touchscreen is clever and probably very helpful, but definitely seems like it would distract the driver. The falcon-wing doors, though, are very cool...although i do wonder about opening the doors with a car next to you. The idea is that you can, but I know from experience with my VW Transporter van that opens upward in the back, if a car is parked too close you can't open the door. Perhaps there is something about the movement of the Model X's wing doors that prevent such a problem.
I think photo number 5 is the Model X (did you update the photo since the original comment?). The shapes are so similar that a squished photo of an S would take on the taller appearance of the X. The tell-tale is the lower black trim, which doesn't appear on the S.
You're right about having clever designs, and that worries me. Or not. If they're that confident that their EV will be the equal of a regular car, then the bells and whistles they're touting here will help them.
I'm worried that they're using the nifty features to mask the failings of the actual EV.
I suppose it depends on how you define "equal," TJ McDermott. If we're talking about acceleration, performance, comfort, etc, EVs are already there. In many cases they have surpassed conventional IC-based vehicles. If we're talking about range, refueling time and cost for comparable performance in those areas, however, there's nothing out there to indicate that the EV will catch the gasoline-burning car in the near future.
@TJ--I agree there are features that seem a stretch, and the doors are near the top of the list. Doesn't anyone remember the DeLorean? I'm not sure I'm convinced about "walk in". If you don't cut out the floorboard, then you still get to the door frame and have to get in. And, you have that door above your head. On my ancient Toyota, the rear hatch pnematic assist has gotten tired and sometimes I bang my head because it is open but not all the way up. If they forego pneumatic assist, it will mean electric motors and more battery drain and more stuff to fail. I also wonder how you get out in certain emergencies?
I can understand a big touchscreen if the icons are larger etc. Would make it easier for the driver to do things without taking their eyes off the road as much. I'm not sure it will really be distracting if done right. However, 17" starts to sound like they have hired designers from Sony (or from Texas?).
The one cool thing to me is the extra motor for the AWD. Now that is something a conventional SUV can't do, although it is starting to appear on hybrids.
Tekochip. I'm on your same wavelength. Of course Tesla is not the first car company to take on the IC engine - but they really have been quite clever and innovative in doing so. If nothing else - they provide an alternative that gets us all thinking.
Yes, it's around $50K, Jenn. In November, the base starting price went to $59,900. After the $7,500 federal rebate, it comes in a little over $52K. The price of the Model X is likely to be battery dependent. If it uses a bigger battery than the base Model S, then the price could be higher.
I have already started saving up for this vehicle. The 17' screen is already present in the Tesla Model S. I truly believe in this company and as far as I am concerned, they are are already successful. They pushed the EV envelope and demonstrated what is possible that was thought impossible. They have a solid business plan starting with the roadster as an elite niche vehicle that was "Proof of concept" and are now getting gradually more mainstream with the Model S and upcoming Model X. If I cannot save up enough for the Model X I would consider shooting for the more affordable Gen 3 unless it is FWD, that would just be dumb!
Tesla is a company that has posted losses for years, is behind on their guvmint loan, discontinued the Roadster and can't get Model S's out the door - and they're working on another one? So they think styling/features are what's going to convince the masses to pay $25K more for a car? At some point, they're going to have to sell something.
Let me preface this with making my bias clear and saying that I am a big fan of EVs. Yes, Tesla has posted losses since they started up.... that is because they ARE a start up. It takes years to develop and build out a factory capable of producing tens of thousands of vehicles a year, not to mention a HUGE pile of cash. They SHIFTED production from the Roadster over to the Model S. They have never had a problem paying their Government loan. In fact, they have stepped up the repayment schedule. They have delivered more than 3500 Model S' to date and their factory production is at 100% now that they have successfully ramped it up. This means they are on track to produce > 20,000 cars in 2013 and potentially turn their first profit. Please do not bash a company based on misinformation. There are plenty of actual concerns watching this company mature without blatant distortions and outright fabrications.
Just a thought on the "distracting" 17-inch screen: If you load up the screen with lots of tiny font information or download a Netflix movie, it will definitely be distracting. The display in the pictures looks like some marketing glitz to show off the screen. However, large-font critical information compatible with more "mature" eyesight would be faster to comprehend and actually less distracting.
TRhe reviews I have seen outside the EV worshipping community seem to think that the fit and finish of these cars would make the Yugo look like a luxury car... In a day and age when we are seeing wages decline and costs of everything go up, does another $60K car that we have to support with our already scarce tax dollars make any sense? It seems that most of these ideas (electric with short range, hydrogen fuels and the energy costs to obtain hydrogen...) are so much in the feel good area that we are supposed to forget that most people can't afford one, and the long term viability isn't there. Or we can look to folks like good old green Al Gore who preaches that we should sacrifice while he and his wife fly around in a grossly inefficient Gulf Stream Jet.
The EX does not run without polution, and no-one wants to talk about the real energy and polution cost to drive one. Mostly it seems that it is cool because the governemt is subsidizing them. So I can't afford one, but I have to help someone with considerably higher income buy theirs.
I just watched the company video at: http://vimeo.com/36534892
At 16:19 you can see the Falcon Wing doors opening. It's not true that these doors will not open outwards. So I replayed that sequence of door opening and clearly the door moves upward at first, and then angles outward about 30° from vertical, before swinging back inwards a couple inches.
There's also a 'click & drag' feature on the Tesla site: http://www.teslamotors.com/modelx
In the garage while parked next to another car. Here you can see that it really looks too close if you park at the doors opening clearance limits. But the camera position is not chosen to show the clearance accurately, but to dramatize the apparent clearance. The camera really needs to be placed looking squarely between the two cars.
This is a reaonable clearance because if you were to park so close to an obstacle that the door is almost touching while it opens, then you will be shuffling sideways to get past the vehicle. So these Falcon Wing doors use about half the room of the front doors, plus the needed clearance is up high. If you park with a reasonable looking amount of room, then there shouldn't be any issues with getting the rear doors open. A sliding side door will use more space as that kind needs to hang outside the car body, using up valuable inches.
As for how you close these doors, this video shows that they are powered down: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T67oOf4JqwI
There's a warning bell that starts before the doors open or close, like a backup alarm. The warning bell shuts off when the doors stop moving. Obviously, Tesla thought of the situation where a child in the rear seat is unable to close their door, an adult in the front can still do so using a remote door switch. I imagine that will also work for opening.
But I still would prefer to see the Jatech Rotary Drop Door used.
Excellent Post Charles. Does anyone know if and when the Federal "rebate"; i.e. energy allowance comes off? I am assuming it's not forever. I think Model X has several very innovative features. The time for zero to sixty is impressive. It will be very interesting to see the specifications when we get closer to launch date. I have noticed several times that advertising provides the hype while the product itself is more in line with performance and cost realities. Will be interesting.
I don't know when the federal rebate will disappear, bobjengr. When it happens, though, I assume it will have a greater effect on the low-cost EVs (like the Leaf) where the rebate represents nearly 25% of the overall cost.
Lithium-ion battery prices will drop rapidly over the next 10 years, setting the stage for plug-in vehicles to reach 5%-10% of total automotive sales by the mid- to late-2020s, according to a new study.
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