Are The Falcon-Wing Doors Holding Up The Tesla Model X?


In last week’s quarterly report, Elon Musk admitted that Tesla Model X production might be pushed back. Are the falcon-wing doors holding up the Model X? Or is the extra weight of the Model X and its all-wheel drive system reducing range too much for customer expectations?

No doubt, the falcon-wing doors are one of the coolest features of the Model X, able to open up in the same amount of space as standard doors, but with better accessibility. However, as members of the r/teslamotors subreddit are quick to note, the falcon-wing doors stand in the way of utilizing roof racks that buyers of SUVs are want to utilize. While many members of the tesla subreddit are quick to point out that roof racks also adversely affect aerodynamics and thus, range, the whole point Tesla is trying to make is that its electric cars are no-compromise vehicles.

It isn’t just roof racks that are causing issues with the Model X. Elon Musk has gone on record as saying that getting the falcon-wing doors to properly seal against wind and rain is proving difficult, and that it is “damn hard” to design a beautiful-yet-functional SUV. Then there’s the issue of weight. The Tesla Model S is a hefty car, coming in at between 4,400 and 4,700 pounds (give or take), and even with an aluminum body and chassis the Model X is likely to tip the scales at close to 5,000 pounds. Even with a 85 kWh battery pack, the Model X might be struggling to exceed even 250 miles of range. Add to that the extra weight and decreased efficiency of the standard all-wheel drive system, and the Model X might be suffering from range anxiety of its own.

Of course that’s nothing that a larger battery pack can’t fix, though the roof rack thing might be a bigger issue to resolve. Still, the fact that the Tesla Model X has been conspicuously absent from the auto show circuit this year isn’t exactly encouraging news. As it stands, volume production is tentatively slated to begin the second quarter of 2015, with the first design prototypes completed by the end of the year. Hopefully this is the last delay before Tesla’s next big vehicle debut, as there are a lot of people waiting for their Model X.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.