By on February 10, 2012

The Tesla Roadster is one of the most enjoyable vehicles I’ve ever driven – the problem is, Tesla hasn’t done anything since then, and is releasing new models before their long-awaited Model S sedan is even on sale.

The Model X is a crossover based on the aforementioned Model S. Unveiled at an event in Los Angeles, the Model X has a few quirks that make us question if Tesla is really going to move 15,000 of these vehicles  – assuming any get built in the first place. First up are the quirky gullwing rear doors, which are supposed to look cool and allow for easy loading of people and cargo. Here’s one problem; how the hell are they going to open in a place like an underground garage or parking lot with tight spaces? In a lot of urban areas, this is a real issue. I personally know someone who passed on an Mercedes SLS because the gullwing doors wouldn’t give him enough room to exit the car within the tight confines of his condo parking spot. Yes, a very #whitepersonproblem to have, but in the income segment Tesla is hoping to compete in, it’s a potential problem – looks like the garage in the Tesla promotional photo doesn’t have that issue though. The doors are apparently double-hinged and able to open without necessitating too much space, but I’d like to see them in person before any definitive judgement is made.

Tesla will let customers order a second motor mounted up front to give all-wheel drive capabilities, and buyers will have the option of different battery sizes, whether 60 or 85 kWh, which will give the vehicle different range capabilities. Look for range to be slightly less than a Model S, due to the 10 percent weight penalty, so between 200 to 270 miles depending on battery type and a whole host of other variables. The three-row crossover supposedly accelerates to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, but who really knows. One slightly cringe-worthy feature is the so-called “frunk”, a front trunk where the engine would go. That sounds like an unfortunately similar slang term that will surely be picked up on by more juvenile observers. Expect the Model X to come in higher than the $67,400 pricetag of the Model S – if either of them ever come to market.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

49 Comments on “Tesla Debuts Latest Vaporware Dubbed “Model X”, With Impractical Gullwing Doors...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Just as Fisker was a sop to Joe Biden with the Delaware deal, Tesla produces an ode to Nancy Pelosi at the old NUMMI plant. Maybe, LOL.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete

      For what it’s worth, the other day I ran across a Fisker dealer in Fairfax, near the intersection of 50 & Waples Mill.

      http://www.fiskerva.com/Fisker_of_Northern_Virginia/Welcome.html

  • avatar
    JCraig

    The rear doors are actually “Falcon wing”, not gullwing. They are hinged so you can open them in the same space as traditional doors. They claim this makes the back opening more practical than a minivan’s sliding rear doors. You don’t have to duck to get in the 3rd row.

    Edit: I remembered reading that they were double hinged but upon second glance they are just hinged at the top of the door.

    • 0 avatar

      I saw that, but like most claims, I want to see for myself before I believe the hype…

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      I believe they are in fact double-hinged, but in the fully open state they look like normal gull wings.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The doors are nothing. They don’t exist. This is vaporware. It isn’t production. Concepts like falcon wing or gull wing doors have a way of ending up on the cutting room floor before production and when it comes to Tesla, IF IF IF it is every produced is a huge question.

      As we’ve seen with Fisker (or if we take a page from history Delorean) getting to production doesn’t mean squat.

      Tesla remains a cash burning money losing enterprise, only have a $1 million profit for one quarter a long time ago. Its primary revenue stream continues to be selling electric car credits to other manufacturers; credits that soon many of them will no longer have to buy.

      Nothing to see here people, just an attempt to stay relevant in the news. Keep moving along, move along…

      • 0 avatar
        chaparral

        Of course Tesla’s losing money! Their volume product hasn’t gone on sale yet, so since they’re spending money, they’ll show a loss.

        What you should be concerned about for better or worse is the cash-run-out date vs launch date and their ability to raise additional cash before launch. First is looking close, second shouldn’t be too difficult with a few runs in beta cars.

    • 0 avatar

      Folks, it’s an long standing tradition here to call all future Tesla products vaporware. Farago did it for years with the Roadster, my dear son Ed did it with the Model S (he was adamant they’d never be able to build it), and now Derek is keeping the tradition going.

      The Model X is anything but vaporware, inasmuch as it’s essentially a jacked up Model S. As other commentators have pointed out, it’s purely a matter of whether they sell enough when the time comes.

      Here’s the thing: unless you live(d) in Silicon Valley, you’re going to have a hard time understanding Tesla. Do you have any idea of how many new millionaires SV mints daily? Just think facebook, google, etc… These are the folks who are going to buy Teslas, the Model X for the ones with kids (or not). Why do you think its range is 200-270 miles? Enough to get to Tahoe!! Or Napa valley. Nobody in that crowd drives much further than that anyway; they’ll take a plane.

      Tesla will build the S and the X; it’s just a matter of volume: maybe enough; maybe not. Stay tuned. But don’t fret otherwise. You’re not likely to buy one. Doesn’t matter.

      Oh, BTW, that falconwing door is pretty cool. The buyers of these have garages big enough.

      • 0 avatar
        healthy skeptic

        Tesla hits the trifecta in the Silicon Valley. It’s a wealthy area, it has a strong environmental streak, and it loves the latest technology. Teslas are practically made to order.

      • 0 avatar
        wcpfour

        Paul,
        Thank you for this comment. Before I got to this, I was about to go off on a rant about the whole ‘vaporware’ thing. I’m no Nostradamus, but I had a feeling Fisker would have trouble making it and a feeling that Tesla would manage to prove the doubters wrong. I still feel the same way, and the Model X is another step in the right direction.

      • 0 avatar

        I live in SV and totally agree with you. People from Detroit and other UAW states have no idea how SV operates and how it is different from world controlled by unions . SV succeeds in things that rest of world considers as can not be done. SV has a can-do attitude and Elon Musk is person who cannot be dismissed easily. If he says something can be done – it will be done. Elon built a rocket and spacecraft. If anything built by private company can realistically bring astronauts to space station and back – it is a Falcon/Dragon combo and for much less than official NASA or ESA hardware.

  • avatar
    charly

    It is not the extra weight that is the problem. It is frontal area as the car is just bigger

    • 0 avatar
      toplessFC3Sman

      Good call, I was going to post the same thing. In a hybrid or electric, you can recuperate some of the losses from accelerating a larger mass through regenerative braking, whereas you get absolutely none of the energy that goes into aerodynamic drag back

  • avatar
    colin42

    I don’t get how having a door hinged on the roof makes it any easier to get in or out especially if you’re over 6 ft tall and wtf is a falon wing vs gullwing?

  • avatar
    BryanC

    The thing that I found most amusing about this launch is that the Tesla website suggests their 4WD option can be used for offroading. Dunno about you, but I think offroading with a 60 kWh battery pack mounted a few inches off the rocks would be a little too exciting…

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      Unlike a gas tank filled with highly explosive gasoline?

      • 0 avatar
        BryanC

        There are two main differences:
        1. A gas tank is not that big, if you look at Tesla’s website you’ll see the battery pack extends across the entire underside of the car. It’s just a lot of area to expose.
        2. If you puncture a gas tank, gas drains out. It’s flammable, but not explosive. If you puncture a lithium ion battery pack, it’s liable to spontaneously burst into flames.

        Not that I think Tesla owners are going to be offroading, I just thought it was amusing that their website even suggested it.

      • 0 avatar

        I cannot be certain about it, but you may be wrong about the associated hazards. Firstly, although explosions are Old Wive’s Tales, jeeps burn down on the trail all the time. Secondly, the containment of battery breach is supposed to be Tesla’s special known-how.

    • 0 avatar

      I am not too concerned about batter specifically, considering what I did in RAV4.3 (put a lot of scratches at its plastic gas tank and evoked messages of admiration by jeepers over CB radio). And the low-end torque of electric motors should be super awesome for off-roading — with the appropriate electroncs, of course, which remains to be seen.

  • avatar
    forraymond

    Regardless of anything else, it is not vanilla. Isn’t that the most common complaint about current vehicles? This company has taken risks in design and in power trains – I think that deserves a bit of respect. I don’t see traditional car companies pushing boundaries.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      I agree, they have made a couple of great looking cars now and they actually have real useful range and performance.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I can’t see what risks Tesla has taken with this one at all, about everything on its has been tried before.

      The most common complaint about modern cars is they’re no fun to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      Lynchenstein

      Exactly. Also, the reveal of this vehicle has had the desired result – people are talking about Tesla.

      As a niche product manufacturer, Tesla is making bold choices, both in design and engineering. Who knows if they’ll be around in 5 years, but they’ve already made an impact that will be long-lasting. They’ve shown that you can still start a new car company in the US, that electric cars can be fun has hell to drive, and that you can make an electric car look GOOD!

      I’m not in the market for an electric car – I’m still paying off the 2007 Civic, but if I had the means I would definitely consider a Tesla.

  • avatar
    BobAsh

    Gullwing doors take less space on the side to open than traditional doors – anyone with at lest a little bit of imagination would find that out.

    They can be a problem in low garages, but in the tight parking spaces, they’re much better than traditional doors.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    In the picture, the garage door opener slides in the “v” between the doors. How many people who can afford a $60,000 to $90,000 vehicle have a one-car garage? In a 2 car garage, the falcon door would slam right on the garage door unit. Sorry Tesla, sliding doors rule, falcon doors drool.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      An expensive car in an area where people don’t drive that far. It will be bought by people who live in gentrified inner cities were praking is a problem

    • 0 avatar
      danman75

      I was thinking of this same problem when I thought of my two car garage. I think Tesla’s cars look great and I’m rooting for them to succeed, but these falcon wing doors look really impractical.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the doors didn’t make production. Concept cars always have fancy doors because they make it easy to see the interior without allowing people to touch the car.

  • avatar
    carguy

    It’s not like you can take this on a ski vacation as it barely has enough electric range to get out of town. Given the range restriction how can an electric car be anything but a short range commuter?

    • 0 avatar
      nickeled&dimed

      What town do you live in that’s 200 miles across? A lot of places that’s enough to get you into the next state. 200-270 miles of charge would last about a week of my commute.
      So if you’re going on an overnight trip and can’t recharge you’re considerably more limited, but still can get you target buyers will just take their other luxury car. By the time the technology comes down in price range won’t be the thing we’re worrying about.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    If you follow the link to the video that BryanC posted, it looks really impressive (including the doors). Fits 7 adults + luggage and has green-cred. They should be able to sell all they can produce in California alone.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I object to the term ‘latest vaporware’.

    The Model X may qualify, but the Model S certainly doesn’t.

    You can’t dub any vehicle not yet in production as ‘vaporware’. ‘Vaporware’ describes things that exist only in artists’ renditions. There are real Model S prototypes driving around, with a real pricing structure and release date established, and real people have paid real money in anticipation of real cars. Tesla’s not selling trips to the moon.

    If you want to throw that term around freely, then apply it to the upcoming Jaguar station wagon, Dodge Dart, and Hyundai Elantra Coupe. I can’t buy any of them yet.

  • avatar
    Invalidattitude

    A 70k car from an unproven company with an unproven technology, people will flock to buy it…

    • 0 avatar
      protomech

      Tesla surely is not on the same level as the Fords / Hondas / Toyotas, but the Roadster has been produced since early 2008. They sold around 2000 total $100-130k roadsters in fairly limited distribution.

      That was when they were truly an unproven company with unproven technology.

      The Model S goes on sale this year. By the time the Model X is available in 2014, the Roadster will be eight years old and more reliability data will be available. The Model S will have been sold for two years, charging infrastructure will be a little more advanced, and most of what early kinks do show up in the Model S architecture will have been identified and hopefully addressed.

      In 2014 Tesla will either no longer be in existence, or they’ll have reasonable sales of the Model S, will be shipping Model X’s, and will be announcing their new mainstream model. New, as a car company? Sure. Unproven? No.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      “Unproven” – that’s why Toyota chose to partner with Tesla for the electric Rav4; they kinda dig the guesswork and adventure of it all. Gimme a break.

      • 0 avatar
        JCraig

        Yeah the fact that Toyota has invested and help set up the company tells me they will be around for a while. Toyota isn’t known for sinking money into companies without good reason (unlike a couple of other auto makers I can think of).

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Remind me again why I’m providing 7500 dollars for an electric sports car for the well heeled?

  • avatar
    28-cars-later

    Wow I don’t hate the look of this, I could even see this style as the next Cayenne… Cadillac take note for your next SRX.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    About your whiteperson friend and the problem with a Mercedes SLS and his condo parking spot. My father always told a story about a whiteperson he knew of who, back in the ’50s, bought himself a new International Harvester pickup truck and got it home to find that it wouldn’t quite fit through his garage door as it was just a bit too tall.

    This particular whiteperson,possessing a bit of that long gone ingenuity that made America great (or not-so-great depending upon your viewpoint), gathered together all of his many children and told them to get their hammers. (Strange, but I don’t recall having a hammer as a child, but then I was deprived.

    Long story short, after about an hour or so the truck fit in the garage. Problem solved!

    Your whiteperson friend probably just needs some of that good old American ingenuity. Or maybe he just needs a hammer.

  • avatar
    axual

    Tesla could be doing so much better if they would stop building cars for the 82 Hollywood stars who will by this ridiculous vehicle and Elon Musk … for a total of 83 vehicles.

    Turn off their government funding. They are not doing anything worth the hundreds millions of tax dollars they are getting.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States