Sources: Three Challenges Behind Tesla Model X Delay

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
sources three challenges behind tesla model x delay

The oft-delayed Tesla Model X is currently set for a Q3 2015 launch, two years after it was originally supposed to enter showrooms. How did this happen?

Green Car Reports offers three reasons for the gull-winged crossover’s delay from its anonymous sources, the first being the bane of all electric vehicles, range. Tesla had hoped to pull 250 miles from the 85-kWh model by using side-view cameras in lieu of door mirrors. However, doing so would require some changes to safety standards, standards that are currently under-study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. With nothing on the horizon, the automaker will have to find those miles elsewhere for now.

Another issue is the rear “falcon” doors. While keeping the elements out has been solved, side-impact protection and structural issues remain. With expectations of safety to be equal to the Model S, the doors would need strong interlocking beams to protect the rear passengers, at the expense of increased weight and possible consumption of precious interior space. In turn, the doors’ torsion springs have to better spread the weight through the narrow spine of the aluminum roof, lest warpage occur. The automaker may end up using more expensive titanium to get that it needs out of that part of the crossover.

Finally, the dual-motor powertrain has to be able to tow “a trailer with a couple of motorcycles or personal watercraft.” Doing so would require extensive cooling measures to ensure the electric motors can sustain the output needed to two for miles/hours on end, which means foregoing the glycol-coolant system in the Model S P85D for refrigerant to actively remove the heat.

While Tesla claims the Model X is “on track for a Q3 launch,” Green Car Reports‘ sources point to production beginning as late as 18 to 24 months from now, a timeframe that would overlap the low-cost Model 3’s projected production start.

Join the conversation
3 of 33 comments
  • Jdash1972 Jdash1972 on Feb 10, 2015

    Is the Model S profitable on a per unit basis? Or do they actually cost more to produce than they sell for? I thought the X used a lot of S DNA with mainly just a new body set on top of an existing drivetrain and battery. If they're losing money with each sale then the Model X isn't really delayed, they're just managing expectations to keep their stock price from going in the tank. Is this a car company or just an expensive hobby? Deadlines always slip, a little. But a two-year delay, and now possibly four, is something else. They are either idiots or they are lying, pick one.

  • Wmba Wmba on Feb 10, 2015

    Tesla's gullwing type doors are just another sign that people who live in the sunnier climes have as yet been unable to even imagine what living in a snow zone is like. If gullwing doors were any good for anything, we'd have had them as front doors on our houses hundreds of years ago. Google has the same kind of imagination problem, and is even admitting their autonomous crap doesn't work in snow. Join those two companies together, and watch what happens when two clueless outfits combine to produce vehicles of ultimate uselessness. With built in WiFi and LTE. Ooh. And a cappuccino machine and energy drink bar. These days, frippery substitutes for solid design. It's been a hundred years and nobody has even managed to come up with a decent windshield wiper. Now there's something worth striving for. Today's approach would be to design an app to join the millions of useless ones already available, so let's make windshield wipers electronic at once. And as a bonus, maybe the solution would keep the myriad sensors of an autonomous car clean as well. At the moment, a rear view camera around these parts is an utter joke!

    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Feb 11, 2015

      A good point. The doors look so cool that if they were useful and practical, they'd be on normal cars by now. The S-Class would certainly have them. Instead, every car that's had them has either been a complete failure or a halo super car (I count the SL gullwing as a halo.)

  • Probert There's something wrong with that chart. The 9 month numbers for Tesla, in the chart, are closer to Tesla's Q3 numbers. They delivered 343,830 cars in q3 and YoY it is a 40% increase. They sold 363,830 but deliveries were slowed at the end of the quarter - no cars in inventory. For the past 9 months the total sold is 929,910 . So very good performance considering a major shutdown for about a month in China (Covid, factory revamp). Not sure if the chart is also inaccurate for other makers.
  • ToolGuy "...overall length grew only fractionally, from 187.6” in 1994 to 198.7” in 1995."Something very wrong with that sentence. I believe you just overstated the length by 11 inches.
  • ToolGuy There is no level of markup on the Jeep Wrangler which would not be justified or would make it any less desirable [perfectly inelastic demand, i.e., 'I want one']. Source: My 21-year-old daughter.
  • ToolGuy Strong performance from Fiat.
  • Inside Looking Out GM is like America, it does the right thing only after trying everything else.  As General Motors goes, so goes America.