Sources: Three Challenges Behind Tesla Model X Delay

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

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.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • 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.)

  • Eliyahu CVT needed for MPG. Outback is indeed the legacy of, err, the Legacy.
  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.
  • Crown Seems like they cut some cylinders too.A three cylinder...where are they planning on selling that??
  • Slavuta "There’s also the problem of climate change, and the more intense weather that comes along with it"How could one even write something like this? We don't have more intense weather. We have better weather. When Earth started, it was a fiery ball. We don't know what weather was in 1700. And even if we know some of it in Europe, we don't know what was happening in Africa, South America, Oceania, etc. We have people living in places where they did not live before. We have news that report weather related events minutes later or during. This did not happen before. There is no evidence that we have an increase in intensity. I looked into historical records in the area where I live - there is not much movement at all between 1970 and now. And remember - none of the previous weather predictions have materialized.
  • VoGhost Very soon, every home will have a 240v outlet in the garage, which can function as your electric charger, just like a modern home has 120v electric outlets and light switches inside the house. This is where the market is going. You all would see that if you didn't have those oil soaked blinders on.