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Published on January 3rd, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan


1st “CleanTechnica Car of the Year” Is…

January 3rd, 2016 by  

Voting for the 1st annual CleanTechnica Car of the Year closed the other day, and it’s time to count the votes and reveal the winner!

CT_cotya _2016

Luckily, we live in an age in which there’s no need to count up the votes — computers do that for us. We’re also quite lucky to live in an age when an SUV can be about twice as efficient as a Toyota Prius, can still accelerate to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, and can transport 7 adults + a lot of cargo (though, acceleration is surely a bit slower than 3.2 seconds when the vehicle is packed with people and cargo). And how about those falcon-wing doors?!

I think you’re getting the point, so I’ll just get to the results…

2016 CleanTechnica Car of the Year 1st


It was very interesting to watch the results change as votes rolled in. For the first few hundred votes or so, it was a very close race across the board — it looked like any of the models had a solid chance of winning. For much of that time, the Tesla Model S 70/70D was actually #1, the Model X right behind it, and the Leaf or Volt right behind the X, but the positions did change a few times in the first half of the voting. At some point in the second half of the voting, the Model X surged into #1, but it held only a slight lead for a while (i.e., fewer than 10 votes more than the Model S). As the voting grew (and as Model X deliveries and production started to ramp up, allowing us to see more of this beautiful machine and better imagine its potential), the X ran away with the title.

There was some concern expressed about two Teslas being on the list, as they could split Tesla voters somewhat “unfairly.” (I’m sure Tesla haters wouldn’t have minded that.) However, what it came down to for us when choosing the finalists was quite clear: which new or significantly revised model will have the greatest net effect and prevent the most emissions? And even with two Teslas on the list to split the Tesla vote, voters put them at #1 and #2.

model-x-white-800In the end, I’m happy to see that many people agree with me that the Tesla Model X will have the greatest net effect, because I strongly believe it will. It will bring so many more eyes to electric vehicles. It will make so many more people learn about electric vehicles. It will keep so many gas-guzzling SUVs off the market. It will show so many more people the benefits of electric vehicles (e.g., excellent acceleration, smooth and quiet driving, greater convenience, greater safety… + no tailpipe emissions and oil independence). It will again transform opinions of EVs, and will help bring general EV awareness to a large number of people, perhaps stimulating the purchase of one of the other EVs on the market (if they can’t afford a Model X, or simply prefer a different type of vehicle).

There were strong arguments to be made for each model on the list. If there wasn’t a strong case to be made for the model, it wouldn’t have been named a finalist. In a year or so, we can finally take a look at one year of sales of each of these models and get a better sense of how they stack up (when it comes to cutting emissions). In the meantime, congratulations to GM, Nissan, and Tesla for creating competitive electric products that make our world better.

As indicated in the initial article announcing the competition, CleanTechnica will present Tesla with an official award in the flesh. (However, due to unexpected circumstances, the date of delivery may be a bit later in the year — quite fitting for Tesla and the Model X, I guess. 😀 )

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • MarTams

    The Tela fans made robotic programs that spoofed cookies to jack up their votes. Zach has commented last week that the voted were very close but the percentages showed otherwise in the final. So it only meant that Tesla fans or their employees or hired hackers has cooked this one. There is no other explanation. Unless Zachary himself was lying last week. It shows that the last few days, Tesla made sure they won because of the neck to neck anybody’s could win as testified by Zach last week. Tesla have resources to cheat this so. The real winner is the Chevy Volt.

    • Bob_Wallace

      “The Tela fans made robotic programs that spoofed cookies to jack up their votes. Zach has commented last week that the voted were very close but the percentages showed otherwise in the final. So it only meant that Tesla fans or their employees or hired hackers has cooked this one. ”

      Or that the Volt supporters voted early and lots of Tesla voters showed up later.

      • MarTams

        If you know just a hint of statistics, it would be improbable scenario. It isn’t likely to happen. The statistics would show only small deviations in the last minute choices of late voters. And we know if Tesla made the landslide count in the last few days of submitting votes, most likely it was cheating. It would be good if Zach can honestly tell us what the neck the neck percentages are last week and how many voted and then compared to how many voted for Tesla days before the final tally. We would detect a cheating scenario with highest probability.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I know a little about statistics. I taught statistics at the university level.

          That aside, I also understand how the world works and I don’t find your conspiracy argument convincing. It’s more likely that someone linked the poll to a site where a lot of Tesla admirers hang out and a bunch of folks came over to vote.

        • ROBwithaB

          I don’t think it’s necessary for anyone to deliberately “cheat” the system to get a skewed result.
          Many other ways that bias could have been introduced into the system, as Bob has rightly pointed out.
          This is CleanTechnica, after all. Zach has written a few articles singing the praises of Tesla, if I recall. And he’s “long”.
          Many commenters are actually Tesla owners.

          Nobody was expecting a randomly selected representative sample, were they?

    • you’re probably right. I detected some hanging chads…..

  • Benjamin Nead

    I didn’t vote. A quick review of comments I posted on threads related to this
    topic these past few weeks indicate that I think the EV of the moment is the 1st generation OEM (think 2011 Leaf, etc.) that is now readily available used and that people with normally proportioned wallets can actually afford.

    It was only a few short years ago that an “affordable” EV was a home-modified 1990s vintage GEO Metro with lead acid batteries taking over the entire back seat and trunk. It got 30 miles or less per charge and was composed of a mishmash of 3rd party electrical components that may or may not have worked very well with each other. Today, the same amount of money – or less – can buy you a clean, used purpose built factory electric car with lithium cells hidden under the seats . . . a reliable turn key option that can get a typical consumer off gasoline forever.

    I agree with many of the comments here regarding the winning results. Tesla makes high quality stuff and represents innovative engineering. I wish them well. But the Model X has the feel of the right vehicle for the wrong time. I really wish they would have put their energies into following up the Model S, instead, with
    the Model 3. But you can’t repeat history.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I’m not sure moving faster with the Mod3 was an option. The manufacturing capacity for batteries didn’t exist. Tesla could expand their luxury range options while they were building the Gigafactory. I doubt the X took any steam out of the 3 project.

      • Benjamin Nead

        Probably true that Tesla couldn’t have gotten the 3 to the market at the same price point and earlier without the Gigafactory. I understand all that. But I still think the X isn’t anything to write home about. If they made one without any rear side doors – falconwing or otherwise – and a notchback rear instead of the sweptback one, I’d be intrigued. I’m thinking an electric 21st century version of this . . .


        • Bob_Wallace

          I find it interesting that so many people hate on the falcon wing doors without ever trying them out or waiting to see if there will be reliability/snow problems.

          I think the big problem is that so many of us can see the near inevitability of a sub-$25k long range EV and we want it now. We don’t want to wait for battery prices to work themselves low enough.

          • Benjamin Nead

            It’s the doors that kept the finished product delayed for so long. They were obviously a pain to develop and will be the first thing to fail. The whole snow/ice issue will probably be marginal, though, since typical owners on cars in this price range will be able to keep them garaged when not driving.
            If encountering such weather while the car happens to be parked outside, the butler or the chauffeur gets to deal
            with it. :-/

            The sub-$25K long range EV? Sure . . . that’s what everyone
            is waiting for.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “will be the first thing to fail”

            Even you are getting ahead of the data… ;o)

          • Benjamin Nead

            Gentleman’s bet, Bob (I’ve got upcoming monthly payments on the i-MiEV, so don’t even have the upfront pocket change for real wagering these days.) But,yes, I predict a bumpy future for these things. Let’s compare notes after a significant numbers of them are on the road and have logged a few miles.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Had Tesla put a hatchback door on the X no one would be talking about it failing. Had Tesla put a top opening door like a hatchback on each side of the X people would think it weird and a bit impractical but I doubt we’d be hearing about failures.

            The falcon wing door is a hatchback door with one extra set of hinges.
            I’m not predicting a greater or lesser number of problems with the falcon wing doors. Just somewhat amused at all the people who predict failure based on apparently nothing other than four extra hinges. How often does a door hinge fail?

          • ROBwithaB

            It’s quite a bit more than a few extra hinges, Bob. Think about what the doors are being asked to do, and the loads that the various components are being asked to handle at each point of the cycle, and the “decisions” that the software is being asked to make. Take a good look at the doors in operation. Imagine what is required to get them to do that elaborate dance, without risking little fingers in the gap, or keys left on the roof, or a neighbouring vehicle, or a kitty trying to hop in at the last moment. A LOT more than a few extra hinges. And a lot of it is basically brand new tech, never tried before in this application.

            But the doors themselves aren’t the only concern. Look at that big H-frame in the roof. Imagine the torsional loads on that, and the stresses at the intersection points. (The “crossbar of the H.) Now imagine that the doors are going to be opened and closed about 100 times more often than you would a regular door, because EVERYBODY wants to try it, even complete strangers. And kids are going to try swing on them like Superman or lift Fido off the ground or all sorts of other weird stuff that a kid can imagine way more easily than an engineer.
            Obviously, I assume that they’ve over-engineered everything in anticipation, and I hope they’ve gotten it right. I really do. But…
            Even Elon admitted that these things were a bitch to get right. And he’s a really smart dude with a whole bunch of other really smart dudes working for him…

            Clearly, we have lots of smart people, with lots of engineering savvy, and they’re at least smart enough to appreciate that it’s a particularly complex problem. Great!

            Let’s assume they probably got it at least 90% right, first time. Perhaps 95%? Such smart engineers, maybe even 98% or 99% of everything that could go wrong, they’ve considered and addressed. In a way that will operate flawlessly for eight years.
            But ask yourself: What are the chances that they got it 100% right the first time? Completely perfect home run, first swing of the bat?
            Think about other ground-breaking technologies you’ve encountered… How often did they nail it perfectly on the first product out the factory?
            Then think about the consequences if that ONE thing that they got wrong starts to crop up in a few years time, when tens (or hundreds) of thousands of Model X vehicles are on the road….

          • Bob_Wallace

            I quit after your first paragraph. Keys on roof? Kitties leaping?


            BTW, check out the video that shows how one can open and get in/out using the falcon wing doors in spaces too tight to open a regular door.

            We’ve got motorized doors on other vehicles.

            Extra set of hinges….

          • ROBwithaB

            The point is that the doors are going to be subjected to a wide range of real-life situations that would have been very difficult to predict in the design stage.

            And it really is a bit more complicated than an extra set of hinges. There are some technical challenges, and one can’t afford to get them wrong. I’m tempted to try explaining some of the first principles, but if you didn’t bother to read the first time I probably shouldn’t bother to repeat myself.

            Anyway, you don’t need to take MY word for it. There’s this chap called Elon Musk. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He’s pretty smart by all accounts. And apparently he has some inside insight into the design process. And he’s probably a bit more eloquent than I am….

            Well, he’s on record acknowledging the staggering complexity of the doors. And suggesting that… well… I’m sure you can find the relevant interviews.

          • neroden

            You’re completely nuts. It’s trivial to model all the possible situations for this door. This is really bloody easy engineering. There were some technical challenges in the coordination, solved in software.

            Musk actually said that the doors were fairly simple compared to some of the other systems in the car.

            ….like that damn windshield. 🙂

          • neroden

            Stuff and nonsense. Go away and stop talking nonsense.

          • neroden

            Bet you that you’re wrong Benjamin. I’m betting on failures of the oversized windshield being the first.

          • neroden

            No, it’s not, Benjamin. We have direct confirmation from inside Tesla Motors from multiple sources that the doors caused NO DELAYS.

            What caused delays were apparently the second row seats, and the enormous windshield. (Now THAT is going to be the first thing to fail. Heavy snow, cracked windshield, it’ll suck.)

          • Benjamin Nead

            Who is “we?”

          • Brooks Bridges

            I’m not sure that many people hate the doors. I see about 2 people, one posting 20 times, who feel strongly.

            I couldn’t care less. I suspect they’ll work beautifully. If they don’t, it’ll be the first big Elon failure.

            As for the expense, who knows? Production costs could be quite low. With CAD they should be trouble free. I’d be astounded to find it never occurred to Musk that someone might actually have to deal with snow.

            All the negatives I’m hearing are nothing but personal opinion based on 0 actual knowledge. They’re pure supposition. I’ll take Elon’s engineers over that any day.

          • Bob_Wallace

            IIRC, some of Tesla’s earliest charger installation dealt with making it possible for Tesla drivers to get from Silicon Valley to Tahoe for the skiing.

            Cleaning the snow off the top of one’s car is becoming a regulated requirement. Regardless of what kind of doors, you’re going to have to shovel off. I just shoveled over a foot off the top of my pickup yesterday in preparation to bug out.

          • Benjamin Nead

            I’m assuming I’m one of the two people who you refer to “who feel strongly” about this issue? Actually, I could give
            a hoot if an extremely expensive car like this has such a door or not. I’m not buying a Model X. It’s somebody else’s problem. But if someone spends their money and the doors fail, I hope they get properly compensated.

            I predict the doors on the X will be troublesome, since I have seen ambitious and complex electro-mechanical devices fail over the course of my lifetime and through the lens of historical documentation. That’s intuitive thought based on past observation, not blind supposition.

            What I do feel strongly about is that electric cars should proliferate and I’m of the opinion that the more companies are involved, the better. Like others – and I’m sure there
            are more than two – I would have much rather seen Tesla put similar time and resources expended on those doors into technology that actually makes electric cars go further per change, add reliability and reduce cost.

            But the Tesla fanboi base – rather thick here on Clean Technica – gets so upset when anyone says anything disparaging about their favorite cars. One can’t even balance a Tesla criticism here anymore with praise for the general direction of the company. No, there’s no middle ground. You’re either all in or not. If you say anything critical of a particular Tesla feature, you’re tar and feathered with all who simply disparage electric cars in general or advance truly pointless criticism of a
            company’s entire EV efforts.

            Hence, many don’t bother to comment at all any longer, fearing instant retaliation from the fundamentalistic true believers. Then, it essentially becomes an echo chamber of unlimited praise for all things Tesla, with thoughtful give-and-take on more nuanced topics regarding the car’s features going out the window. Truly sad that it’s come to this.

        • dRanger

          I’m starting to get the feeling that you don’t much like the Model X falcon doors…

          • Benjamin Nead

            Yeah, it’s true. But since I’ll never be able to afford an X,
            it’s not something I’m going to bark about too loudly. That’s already been done far more thoroughly, above, than I care
            to indulge in.

        • neroden

          You can just leave the rear doors closed, you know. Just like having no rear side doors.

          :people is crazy:

      • TedKidd

        Funny how many “opinions” there are about how Tesla strategy, from people completely clueless and uninformed about the state of technology, costs, or the marketplace.

        Ya, lots would love a $35k model 3 right now. But some recognize that if they built it right now it’d be $55k.

  • Freddy D

    Nicely written article. The 2016 candidate list is interesting, because 2 of the 4 candidates are a half-decade old cars which have increased in range at an 8% annualized rate. These would have been great candidates for the Cleantechnica 2011 Car of the Year list, IMHO; nothing wrong with them, but this is 2016. The winner has raised a lively dialog about the merits of the doors for everyday use (the 1955 300SL still turns heads). The winner does really move the needle on the state of the marketplace. Not only for consumer perception and expectations, but in the boardrooms and roadmap meetings of every other automaker on the planet.

    OK, so the 2016 list of candidates was simply very short – I eagerly await the lists for 2017, 2018, 2019 with all the cars in the pipeline. Oh, and I eagerly await seeing Model Xs in the wild, yes with the doors and all.

  • crevasse

    I’ve got to agree with everyone here. The doors are a liability. Seems Elon has never been to the snow belt. Even my regular doors on my cars suck snow inside and onto the seats, this after I religiously brush the snow away from the door edges. Most people are too lazy to bother to brush off the snow from their roofs. They are going to be pissed once they experience a real live snow globe in their X. I just don’t see the point. If Elon is trying to make Tesla an everyman’s car, gull wing doors are not the way. What happens in Dallas when there is a sheet of ice on the car? I grow disillusioned the more I think about Tesla.

    • Frank

      The X? An every man’s car? You must be joking. The mod 3, is on the premium end of everyman cars at least on purchase price. As to the doors, I don’t know. Still have some winter left. Maybe we’ll find out.

    • neroden

      You’re imagining things.

      • crevasse

        I hope I am. I would love the doors to be flawless, but I don’t think they will be. Certainly not as reliable as standard Tesla doors, most definitely not as flawless as standard doors with standard door handles. I get the need for premium/mystique, but IMO there are a dozen better options. I do believe they will be snow globes on wheels. Like I said, I am rather particular about brushing off the snow before I open the door. Well, the second door. The snow brush is in the back seat! I have to open that one first. At least some people or their children will accidentally open the falcon doors and groan to themselves that this wouldn’t have been near as bad with standard doors. I guess at least the kids will learn their lesson after getting to sit on the Snowseats™.

        I have a few more thoughts. Where will X users put the ski rack? I actually see a lot of Teslas in Breckenridge with ski racks on them. I’m guessing most of these owners will be near first in line to trade up to an X. Also, will the doors open up inside a garage? Are there enough sensors to [dis]allow opening up in a tight space both side and above? This one I assume they have under control, but will be interested to see the first videos in tight spaces.

        I do believe the mechanisms will be OK on the doors. It’s no different than most hatchback/minivan trunks which have power opener/closers. I don’t hear a lot about those failing. But they are in the back and do not come up halfway onto the roof.

        My FIL has an S. I rather like it, he does too. I’m looking forward to seeing a Model 3 in the flesh. I may ditch the CT200h for it unless it comes standard with X doors and the snowseat requirement.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    The X will probably be “The Family Car” everything else is compared against for many decades. Lets hope Tesla has made it to last forever.

    • Maloo

      i have searched for specs on cubic feet cargo capacity for the X and cant find any info. would you happen to know the specs? so far ive heard big and biggest no actual numbers.

      • There are threads on the TMC forum with measurements. This probably shows the important ones: http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/59639-Model-X-FAQ-%28wiki%29

        • Maloo

          thank you very much. still no luck though. quite surprising that a manufacturer would offer something for sale and have virtually zero hard data available for those interested in comparison shopping. but i suppose its even more bizarre that people would put so much money upfront for a vehicle they have no information about.

          • John Moore

            I wouldn’t say “no information”. Comments like this make people like me question your motives.

          • Maloo

            like any thoughtful consumer my motives are to get as much information as i can. do you know of any other manufacturer where consumers have to rely on a fan website, like the one Zachary Shahan was kind enough to point me to, where people have to ask vehicle owners the questions that the manufacturer should already have answered on announcement of the car going on sale.

          • neroden

            Tesla Motors is horribly, horribly bad at communications. It’s their absolute weakest point.

  • milliamp

    The X has sports car performance in an SUV size with the storage and seating capacity of a van.

    Some people don’t like the design of the doors on the X but good news for those people is there are a couple hundred other vehicles on the market for them to choose from. As someone that actually owns an SUV and a van with 3rd row seating I understand the problem the the doors solve and that rear seating in many SUV’s can be very difficult to comfortably reach and that car seats can be a fairly difficult process. Even many very large SUV’s do this poorly and most people just don’t want to drive vans, hence the need for an SUV with a large rear opening.

    Because the 3rd row seating in my ~20 MPG SUV is so small and difficult to reach I generally don’t use them at all. Add a mostly permanent car seat to the 2nd row in the back and my SUV now fits only 3 adult sized people. With 2 kids we traded one of the cars for a large SUV, at 3 kids we traded the other car for a van instead because the SUV didn’t cut it for times when we need to bring everybody.

    This is the problem the X set out to solve. The doors aren’t cheap to design or build but It’s an innovative approach to a difficult problem. Rear seating is more roomy/accessible than my SUV and that’s a major success.

    • Maloo

      i was in need for a 7 seater that could transform to loads of cargo space for large objects and was lucky enough to discover the buick enclave. the 3rd row seats are 1 step 1 handed easy access to all 3 seats in the back from the side doors. 3rd row also 1 step disappears into the floor and so do the 2nd row captains chairs giving me 115 square feet of cargo space. when the salesman showed me how easy they were to operate i was sold. add to that the nice styling, beautiful quiet smooth ride and all the tech gadgets a very nice people mover for the price.

      • milliamp

        Yep, the GMC Acadia and the Buick Enclave are pretty similar. They are among the handful of SUV’s that offer 2nd row captain’s chairs and I found them to be pretty good as far as SUV’s go. If Tesla ever made an X without the gull wing doors I think 2nd row captains chairs are definitely the best way to go.

        Technically that means a seating capacity of 6 instead of 7 but it’s a whole lot better than trying to climb over a 2nd row bench to get to the back.

        Most the SUV’s that offer this are pretty large/expensive though. The AWD Buick starts at $45k, the tow package is another $500 so it’s not completely unheard of to spend up near $50k for one. It does offer a half decent alternative to a van but it’s not cheap either and almost none of the SUV’s with accessible 3rd row seating are. It also gets 16 MPG city.

        Having only seen it and not having actually tried it I would say reaching the 3rd row is easier with the gull wing door than even captains chairs though and the gull wing allows a full 7 rather than 6 passengers. My SUV with bench seats only realistically seats about 4 people if one of them is in a car seat.

        There is probably a market for a 6 seater X with regular doors but the S is already as roomy as some crossovers so that might be splitting hairs between the S and the gull wing X. Some people have asked for an S wagon as well but they are a company with a 1 car in their lineup so there are a lot of scenarios for platforms they don’t yet offer.

        Is the X still a good idea? I think so.

        • Maloo

          the chevy traverse is also the same chassis as the enclave and acadia. not sure if they still offer it but you could also get an 8 seater enclave which meant seating for 5 and still enough room for five 18 gallon totes in the back.
          maybe instead of trying to cram 7 seats into a mid size suv which is what the X is, they should have taken the more traditional and affordable route with 5 seats with more comfort + some cargo space.

          • milliamp

            >maybe instead of trying to cram 7 seats into a mid size suv which is what the X is, they should have taken the more traditional and affordable route with 5 seats with more comfort + some cargo space.

            Yeah but the S already offers 63 cubic feet of cargo room and optional jump seats for 7 people. That’s a ton by sedan standards so I think the goal of the X was to being Van sized seating capacity into a mid sized SUV with sportscar acceleration and the funny doors were a necessary part of achieving it.

          • Maloo

            well its great that we have so many options to suit all our different needs and tastes.

          • ROBwithaB

            Sure. I’ve been following the process pretty much from the beginning, and Elon did a good job of setting out the design parameters.
            Basically: “How do we make a minivan that is so cool that nobody would even think of calling it a minivan?” And they’ve succeeded brilliantly. The upmarket suburban soccer moms are going to LOVE this vehicle.

            Along the way, they’ve ALSO created a vehicle that has the potential to be a pretty awesome SUV/crossover. A thing that I could actually take into the mountains for a climbing expedition. Or load up a few buddies for an impromptu ski trip.
            Something that could tow a sailboat or load some kayaks, windsurfers, hang-gliders. etc.
            An actual SPORT utility vehicle, in other words.
            But I wouldn’t actually want to take the current “Flying Electric Minivan” offroad. I’d be worried about putting cracks in that giant windscreen, for a start. And I don’t really need the HEPA filter where I’m going. Call me old-school, but I prefer to drive with the window open and smell the fresh air. And it would be difficult to fit the kayaks onto the roof, to be honest. Also, I don’t want to wait 15 or 20 seconds to grab a climbing bag off the back seat, especially if it’s raining. The falcon doors are trying to solve a problem I don’t have. And creating a bunch of new problems to worry about.

            For a typical family with two or three kids, a five-seater X is already an attractive proposition over the S, due to the raised seat level and a whole bunch of storage space. With no worries about little fingers getting caught.

            The fact that there are use cases other than the seven seat minivan is something that Tesla has already conceded by providing a number of different seating configurations. And anything other than the seven seater renders the falcon wings effectively obsolete.

            If the seats can be optioned, it only makes sense to option the doors too.

          • The Model X is offered with 5, 6, or 7 seats.

          • ROBwithaB

            Exactly. Yes!
            What is the compelling argument for the falcon doors in the five seater version? Or the six?
            The main reason for the revolutionary redesign of the rear door of an automobile (as we know it) was to provide easy access to the third row seats.
            If there IS no third row, we don’t need the radical doors. It’s just not necessary. The car would be a hugely profitable, easy to produce, market dominating piece of motoring history even WITHOUT the fancy doors.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What I see is very easy to enter and exit rear seats. Great for older people. Should be excellent for taxis. Excellent for children’s car seats.

          • ROBwithaB

            Old people. Agreed!
            Car seats. Agreed! (Although the raised platform itself already makes it much easier than a regular sedan. And with big enough “regular doors” I don’t see much of a problem.
            Taxis. Agreed! Absolutely 100%. This thing is going to make an amazing limo/taxi. Especially with free supercharging for life 😉
            For those special use cases, the falcon doors are a great solution, and will no doubt prove to be very popular. And the people who appreciate the additional utility will surely be prepared to pay a premium.
            That looks like GREAT market segments to serve, at the right price point.

            But, the majority of people seldom even use the rear doors of their vehicles. Just check the average commuter arterial route. How many single occupants? Most? Some couples? Sure. Even the occasional eco-conscious carpool. What are the real ratios? I’d suggest that, for most people, at least 95% of trips have an empty second (and third) row of seats.
            Except for specific subsets of the market, rear doors are an afterthought, almost irrelevant.

            I’m not saying they should get rid of the falcon doors.
            I’m suggesting that they should offer them as an option.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Tesla offers an option.

            It’s called the Model S.

          • ROBwithaB

            Brilliant car. Great platform. Revolutionary drivetrain.

            Now if only they could make something that doesn’t look quite so, errhh… sedan-ish.
            And lift it a little higher off the ground. For the car seat and all, and maybe occasional camping trips on dirt roads.

            And make it a little bigger…

          • Bob_Wallace

            Well, that would be the Model X.

            And the ModX has these really innovative doors that you really get at the stuff behind the driver’s seat…. ;o)

          • ROBwithaB

            Okay, okay. You win…

            For now.
            In the meantime I’m just going to try to contact Elon directly…

          • Bob_Wallace

            Some of us are going to have to wait to get the EV that really fits our personal needs.

            That said, I’ve never found a perfect fit with ICEVs. I need a sports car that has 4wd and good ground clearance. And can haul half a yard of gravel. And has interior space for a month’s groceries and propane. And a lumber rack. And….

          • TedKidd

            The non-critical nature of these doors is part of the brilliance.

            It’ll allow getting to 1b openings, and some failures, without rendering the car inoperable.

            That track record will allow it to go from back door to only door.

          • neroden

            If you don’t use your rear doors, why do you care whether they’re falcon doors or not? You’re not making sense.

          • John Moore

            ROB, let me know when you are finished complaining about the doors. Your first 20 posts on the subject are about all I can stand. It’s clear that you don’t have a very good idea what the X is, or who would be interested in it, or why.
            If the rear doors make you lose your mind, well, ok. But most people don’t feel the same way. Most people like them. Dude, they are selling out. They are faster than a Ferrari. They are so incredible, in so many ways. You know that the S broke the Computer Reports grading scale and all, right? Well this is the next stone cold killer from Tesla.
            And then I see people on here compare them to a Yukon or Enclave or some such, and I want just to vomit.

          • ROBwithaB

            I’m sorry if I offended you in any way. You’re perfectly welcome to skip any of my posts, as many probably will.
            Other than the initial heartfelt comment, mostly I’ve just been replying to people who have interacted with me, or have mentioned the doors. Some have different opinions, some have additional facts to bring to the party. Some may ask to be convinced, some may insist that I not even try. It’s called a conversation, and nobody is forcing you to listen.
            That silly picture of the dude in the hat is pretty easy to recognise. You’re welcome to ignore him completely if you prefer. When you see that picture, just scroll down to the next person in line. No hard feelings.

            Truth is, I actually agree with you on the awesomeness of the Model X. And Tesla in general. And I’ve got a significant chunk of change invested in the company that’s riding on the success of the new offering.

            I really want Tesla to succeed. It is precisely because of this passionate desire that I’d like to see them mitigate a risk that has the potential to kill the company, IMHO. (And yes, that’s an opinion. Yours may differ. That’s cool.)

          • Maloo

            perhaps better to say most fans like the gull wing doors. most dont visit specialty sites like this

          • neroden

            These doors will open more easily under ice than normal doors because they’re power operated.

            Before Model S came out, we were very worried about opening the doors when the retractable handles were covered in ice. The handles fire out with high force and break the ice.

            The door motors for the falcon doors are undoubtedly more powerful than that. I don’t think you have to worry. The falcon doors will break the ice right off. You might have trouble getting in the driver’s door, though!

          • TedKidd

            Makes me feel gratitude towards all those rich people who will happily pay a premium for unnecessarily expensive back doors, willingly being Guinea pigs so I might have them as the ONLY doors on my affordably priced model 3.

          • neroden

            I’ve explained the compelling reason for the falcon doors in the five seater version in other comments. Sliding doors are not a possibility. Swinging doors would swing out too far.

    • Well explained. Thanks!

    • neroden

      I suspect the doors actually are cheap to build. Design was undoubtedly hard, but apparently not as hard as the second row seats.

  • ROBwithaB


  • ROBwithaB

    Now we need to see a version with “normal” doors as a matter of urgency.
    Sure, those falcon things will attract a lot of attention. And by all means let them be a feature of the upmarket, fully optioned top of the range headliner.
    But to send out thousands of vehicles with a time bomb of future reliability problems (that can;t be cured by OTA updates) is just stupid.
    I know I’m squealing like a stuck pig on this one, but I’m genuinely concerned. I see it as the single issue with the biggest chance of actually wiping out the company.
    Before too many vehicles go out, they need to offer a more “sensible” version; an upmarket electric SUV that everyone can buy with confidence. One that can be a reliable cash cow for the company and its shareholders (myself included).

    The flying doors aren’t necessary for the average person. For many people, the car would be even MORE awesome without them.

    • Frank

      After all your complaining, I’m going to go look at one after they get one in the Tesla store and look for myself to see what I think of it. That said, I just want to remind you that reasonable people don’t blow their entire fortune on an investment into a startup electric car company, AND a startup rocket company, both of which were likely to fail, cause its nuts.
      And another thing. Tesla is still niche car company selling a unique expensive “cool” product that nobody else makes. They could never have out competed the Volt or Leaf, cause nobody would have trusted them, and it would have cost too much. Lets see what the mod3 looks like.

      • ROBwithaB

        It is no doubt a brilliant car. I hope you decide to get one, and I hope you enjoy many many miles of trouble free motoring.

        I also hope that they’ve gotten the innovative doors 100% right on the first try. So that the company survives to mass produce the Mod3. And completely transform the entire auto industry. And thereby save the world. As per crazy Elon’s audacious original plan.
        I really do hope for all of this.
        (And in case of a potential glitch, I really hope they have a plan B. Something that would be pretty simple to implement. Like providing regular doors. As an OPTION. Only for those who’d prefer it, you understand.)

        • neroden

          The doors are not a problem. Get over the doors.

          • If Jim Morrison was alive today, he’d agree with you.

          • Benjamin Nead

            Too funny!

          • ROBwithaB

            I chuckled.

        • Frank

          The X is a bit too rich for my blood. I am driving my old dream car, the Prius, and eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new dream car. The Mod 3.

    • neroden

      You want a standard folding door? Are there ANY SUVs with folding rear doors? Seriously, that makes no sense.

      Sliding doors are not an option, as I’ve explained in other comments.

  • Maloo

    wow what a surprise. who would have thought tesla fans would have voted for a tesla. more of a fan boy wish list than objective reviews by owners. the award will probably take pride of place in the employee washroom at the tesla factory.
    the model x is ok for a mid size crossover but nothing pretty and the gull wing doors are a waste. a pain to use in snow and ice conditions and while gull wing doors looked great on the mercedes 300, not so much on a shopping trolley.

    • ROBwithaB

      Agreed. Many people (myself included) would be in the market for an actual SUV/crossover electric vehicle. But I would never ever buy the X if I was forced to accept those bloody doors. For all sorts of reasons, least of which is that I don’t want to look like a pretentious prick with compensation issues every time someone gets in or out the back seats. And I don’t want to risk being the guinea pig for a completely new “invention”, certainly not when there’s tens of thousands in resale value at stake.

      But that’s not the gorilla in the room.
      I see the “dickhead doors” as a symptom of a bigger problem for the company. There’s a bunch of really smart people working for the company. Some of them must have done the cost/benefit analysis and come to the same conclusion that myself (and many others) have already reached.
      But despite the delays and the obvious additional complexity, the thing still went ahead, on the orders of Saint Elon, who made a point of insisting, right from the beginning, that the X was going to have his dream doors, whatever it took.
      Apparently, NOBODY is able to argue with The Ego. The fact that the disciples are likely to crucify me for this comment is part of the problem. The real world is a lot more nuanced than the simplistic Good vs Evil narrative that is presented by the sycophantic “green” media. The harder the disciples, fanboys and hangers-on crow about the Infallibility of Elon and the Superiority of Tesleverything, the more that “normal” people are put off.

      Don’t get me wrong. I admire Elon Musk and appreciate that he’s one very smart dude. But everybody makes stupid decisions. And without a proper review process, those stupid decisions can define an organisation. I am concerned that the upper management of Tesla is turning into an Elon fan club.

      And no, I’m not a paid FF troll or a “short”.
      I own a sizeable chunk of Tesla stock. And I don’t want to see that investment evaporate in an expensive recall or resale-guarantee-writedown.

      • Maloo

        the part that puzzles me is here we have a car that for all intents and purposes you can not buy today. i cant even find cargo space specs for the X anywhere, because they havent been released yet. but despite that, fans have heaped so much praise on the X as the biggest, the best everything for everyone car and the closest they have been to it is a photo on the internet.

        • ROBwithaB

          The fanbois are actually becoming a liability for the company, I suspect.
          Yes, the first 30k Mod Xs or so have been pre-ordered, and another 30k or so might go to the true believers. Once one gets beyond the early adopters and hardcore disciples, what are the brand values that would get someone out of a “normal” SUV into the Tesla X?

          A lot of “normal” people are going to be put off because of the negative associations that people have of Tesla owners.
          These enormously ostentatious doors will only reinforce the perceptions that are increasingly associated with the vehicles and their owners. Just google “Tesla drivers assholes” or something similar to see what
          I’m talking about. It’s already become a bit of a meme on Jalopnik and
          similar sites.

          Enough with the smug, passive-aggressive vanity license plates already. It’s a car, people, and a big one at that. It still uses a lot of energy to move it around and to make it in the first place.
          You’re not saving the world, or even significantly reducing your carbon footprint, If you want to do THAT then get a bicycle. Or just walk. Like lots of people do, every day, without awarding themselves a medal.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Ok, thanks for the tip on googling “Tesla drivers assholes”. Just finished reading a few sites. It’s obviously going to become a definition of assholes. After all driving a Tesla is an insult to all those stuck in ICE vehicles. It’s like the hatred you might find in a room full of obscenely fat women when a normal sized girl comes dancing in. It’s going to get very ugly.

          • Maloo

            i want to get “icehole” as my vanity plate.
            i finally got a 1st hand inside and out look at a model S and maybe im just too old but the S felt like it was designed by a tech geek and not by someone who likes cars. almost a cheap and cheerful look.

          • ROBwithaB

            That’s pretty funny actually.
            As much as I identify as a serious greenie, I’ll be the first to admit that we take ourselves pretty seriously sometimes. The way to win converts to the cause is not to shame (or bore) them into submission. Pure rationality is seldom compelling, and self-righteous lecturing even less so.
            And if you combine such pedantic behaviour with a veneer of class conscious one-upmanship, then you’re definitely not helping.
            In fact, you’re part of the problem.

          • milliamp

            >The way to win converts to the cause is not to shame (or bore) them into submission. Pure rationality is seldom compelling

            So what you are saying is you would probably win them over by making a sedan with…ludicrous speeds and an SUV without regular boring doors?

            Foot meet mouth 🙂

          • ROBwithaB

            By all means, let the vehicles do the talking. That’s the whole point. Electric cars are awesome.The long term advantages are obvious.
            But there are still limitations to the tech, and one cannot paper them over with hype or whimsical designs.

            The fancy doors are a bit much, IMHO. Lots of people don’t actually like to draw too much attention to themselves. Maybe it’s a cultural thing. I suspect that in markets outside of the USA (and maybe China), the appeal of the car will be diminished by the “look at me” aspect.
            If people want them, sure, go for it.
            But there are many people who would actually prefer a more “normal” Model X. Which would still be an absolutely awesome car. It would also be much easier, cheaper and quicker to build, and thus probably more profitable for the company in the short to medium term. And without the potential long-term risk of recalls or deflated resale values.

            With so many options on offer, why not just option the doors too.
            (I understand that there are once-off design and tooling costs. These would be amortised quickly against the larger volume of cars that can be sold.)

          • milliamp

            Even Sir. Elon agrees that the X probably contains more tech than needed to sell it.

            I agree a lot of people would opt for boring regular doors if they had the option especially at a decent cost savings but the doors are at least an interesting solution to a difficult problem.

            Instagram and pop culture has also taught me that a lot of people like a lot of attention. I am not one of them but I view myself as more of an exception than a rule.

          • ROBwithaB

            Sure, the world is full of attention-seekers, and modern pop culture ensures that (some of) them for are amply rewarded for their vanity and constant self-absorbed public utterings.

            But it occurs to me that many of those seeking attention on social media are not likely to be in the target demographic for this vehicle. Unless there’s a bunch of really wealthy fifteen year old girls not showing up on the radar.

            Let us not imagine that rappers and YouTube daily vloggers are typical of the rest of the population just because they’re more visible. In my experience, most “nornal” well-off people try to avoid excess displays of wealth or status.
            It’s still considered rude and anti-social by some. And downright tawdry by others.
            But I’m not an expert on social customs in general, and I might be a bit out of touch, so feel free to disagree.

          • Maloo

            even though im an old car enthusiast dinosaur i am very much a tech lover as well. but while there is no EV solution in existence to meet my most unique situation, i have been checking out EV and hybrid vehicles for my daughter who drives over 900 mpw to and from work.
            i think the tipping point for the average consumer will not be the tech details or the 0-60 times or in your face fans, it will be price and convenience. does it cost the same as a “normal” car, will it go as far and “fuel up” as quickly as my “normal” car.

          • Matt

            Cost is a fun question. Do you pay me now or pay me later? I do think there is a group who can not or will not do the math to determine when saving over life of EV exceeds saves the day you buy. Also “fuel up” is a different experience in a EV. For many people all their work driving wold be handled by charging at night. They would only see non-home charge if they too a long road trip to grandma house. How long does it take to plug in an EV, it is a lot faster that driving to a gas station and filling up.

          • Maloo

            i do forget that most of you are city folk that dont really deal with long distances or brutal winters and i tend to look at worst case scenarios.
            as for cost i think most people are only interested in “how much do i need to borrow from the bank”. “what is the sticker price?”
            i spent $60,000 less on my enclave than what an X costs and i got much more cargo space than the X and quicker easier access to more comfortable less cramped 3rd row seating. i doubt over the 4 years i will own the car that i will spend the over $60,000 savings on fuel and maintenance.

          • neroden

            I haven’t had to plug in away from home in a year.

            Goodbye gas stations.

            I deal with brutal winters routinely. I don’t know about “long distances”, though I do drive 120 miles in a day fairly routinely.

          • Dragon

            I’m with you that I would much rather the X be more practical and less expensive. Maybe it should have even come AFTER the model 3 was released. However, Tesla needs money to grow and rich folk have it. That’s who the X was made for. Drive around Beverly Hills and you’ll spot many cars you won’t see anywhere else. Unique and flashy designs sell to rich folk. X wasn’t made for you or me or the masses. It was made to sell at a high profit margin to a certain type of person who buys things for luxury and status in order to grow the company large enough to make cars for the masses.

            Would X be as popular with its target audience without gull-wing doors? I don’t know. It would be interesting to find some hard data on that. I suspect that Tesla has some hard data and internal studies that we don’t know about. I certainly _hope_ that’s the case and this isn’t some sort of Elon ego decision as you suspect. Either way, we’ve got what we’ve got. I certainly agree it’s not a mainstream SUV in any way, but I think it appeals to its target audience. Then again, I’m only guessing there. Only actual sales will prove things one way or another.

            I also suspect that X works as an object of desire for those that can’t afford it which will help the brand in the long term. Seeing X pull ahead of S in the voting process on this site as X details were revealed seems to bolster that argument. Unless too many people eventually see Tesla as an upper-class brand to be avoided on principle. It’s kind of like Bentley suddenly decides to mass produce a lowish priced car with nice styling and decent features. Would people buy it? I don’t know.

            I think Tesla is doomed to become a company like Apple that people either love or hate. Apple also always starts new product lines as expensive high end devices for wealthier individuals but they also end up making lower end models that generally become quite popular. Of course other makers tend to beat Apple on bang for the buck and customizability so Apple devices are never sold in as great numbers as the combined sales of their competitors. The same may happen with Tesla. But I think the successful “other manufacturers” will be companies like BYD or even Google more than the current crop of big auto.

            Even now, Tesla is still not well known as anything amongst most people. About half of people who say anything about my car are like “What car is that?” And this is in socal where Teslas aren’t super rare. So beyond the small number of people who follow EVs or hate on anything environmental or luxury, Tesla still has a lot of time to get themselves well-known for something, and hopefully that something will be Model 3.

          • neroden

            Look, are people idiots or did people not do their research? People seem to think that the falcon doors are a stylistic choice, and they aren’t.

            The “falcon doors” are a practical solution to a practical problem. The Model X needed to be streamlined for aerodynamic efficiency in order to get maximum range. You *cannot put a standard sliding door* on a streamlined, curved body shape. A standard folding door would fold out too wide and wouldn’t be “SUV-like”.

        • Hundreds of Xs have been delivered. Thousands will be delivered by the end of January. You can’t by one in 1 day, but you can get in line for one.

        • Kyle Field

          It is not about what the car is doing today but also about the impact it will make over time. That’s the key to the whole thing…The X offsets SUVs which get terrible mileage. It sets a very high bar for any EV SUVs to follow and starts stealing market share which will pull other manufacturers in…

      • Ivor O’Connor

        Good points. They need to make the gull doors an option you can buy for an extra 20K. Give us normal low cost doors please!

        • ROBwithaB

          Exactly. Let those who want them pay the premium.

        • Philip W

          They didn’t make those doors just to show off. They made them because they are the best way to get in and out of the car in tight spaces. Not even sliding doors can match that.
          Not to mention that it’s much easier for tall people to get in.

          This car is supposed to be a premium car with special features to make life better. They would also need to re-engineer half the frame and have more complex production afterwards.
          So I diasagree, a version with normal doors wouldn’t be too smart.

          • TedKidd

            I think they also made them as a test bed for the model 3.

            There is the potential that in the right configuration 2 doors perform BETTER than 4, and even provide cost savings.

            Model X provides opportunity to real world test and prove the concept.

          • ROBwithaB

            It’s precisely the “test bed” thing that I’m worried about.
            For proper testing, you need numbers, sure, but mostly you need TIME. A few dozen “mules” for a few months isn’t going to reveal all the real world situations they will be subjected to. With a completely novel technology, it’s very difficult to even predict (much less simulate) ALL the potential scenarios.

            I’m all for putting a few hundred falcon doors into the wild, and
            letting (tame true believer) people thrash them around for a few years to iron out the kinks.

            And if the Mod 3 is offered with a reliable falcon door option as a result, that would be awesome.
            BUT a “real world test” involving tens of thousands of vehicles is a recall disaster waiting to happen.

          • TedKidd

            Well, the financial risk of fixing issues for a car with 50k copies a year is significantly less than 500k. So from that perspective it’s a great strategy.

            I think the way you find those little hinky design flaws if by having a large sample set. And they seem to be good at dealing with recall issues.

            Now imagine these doors are the complete game changer they seem they might be, changing how we think of automobile doors. And imagine they are on the model 3. EVERYBODY is going to want one! (sounds like you are on this same page with me.)

            It would make me want the 3 even more! Demand is going to be off the hook!

            Yeah sure, as an investor this may seem kinda risky and scary – but what stock did we THINK we were buying??

          • ROBwithaB

            Yup. Risk is part of the game, I suppose. Especially with Elon at the helm. Go big or go home!

            Honestly, I’m less concerned about my own money, and more concerned about the risk to the stated goal of “facilitating the transition to sustainable transportation”.

            I can afford to lose some money. It’s just money, and I haven’t gone all in on this particular bet.
            I can NOT afford for the EV revolution to stall. Because that threatens the future of my children (and about 7 billion other people).

          • ROBwithaB

            It’s a premium car, of that there’s no doubt. And the falcon wing doors represent a really innovative solution to a specific problem.
            I get that.
            But not everyone has the specific problem.
            By all means, let the top-of-the-range vehicle have the premium doors. But let’s not limit the market by insisting that everyone be forced to choose something they may not want. And let’s not risk the entire company (and, by association, the entire electric car industry) by tying its future to a single feature that is LIKELY to cause issues down the line.

            Of course, a re-design of the top structure would entail some investment. But we don’t need to re-invent the wheel. Traditional doors and roof structures are already very well understood. It’s not going to cost a lot of time or money to come up with a “normal” version. And yes, there will be some re-tooling involved for additional panels. But actually that’s the easy part of making a car. And sure, there’s going to be some new interior trim required, but that’s all stuff that’s readily sourced from the existing supply chain, because it’s bog standard stuff.

            So I’m not sure that the production of the “normal” version would be more complex. In fact, I’m almost certain that it would be a lot simpler, and they’d be able to get cars off the line quicker (including the cash-cow Model S, if they share final assembly lines as has been indicated). Sure, they would need to make the winged cars in separate batches, and that would add complexity, but I’m pretty sure the robots can handle it. And in any case they already have two different models coming out the same plant, so the required flexibility is there.

            The stuff that’s expensive to re-engineer is usually at the bottom of the car. The so-called “platform”.
            Car makers routinely have a number of different variants running on the same platform, with minor changes to bodywork. It allows them to get the economies of scaled production, whilst satisfying a wider range of market demand.
            By optioning the doors, Tesla gets to offer an awesome sporty crossover/SUV type vehicle, as well as a super awesome minivan/SUV type vehicle. With healthy profits on both.
            The margins on the “normal” X might even be bigger, because they’re MUCH easier to make, and people will still be prepared to pay a significant premium, just because it’s electric and it’s a Tesla.
            For the record, lots of people have been happy to put down $100k for the Model S, despite the GLARINGLY OBVIOUS LACK of falcon wing doors. It is a superbly awesome “premium car” with a ton of “special features to make life better”, even with the regular doors. And a “regular” Model X will be too.

            If the doors are an option, there will still be enough falcon doors out there to get everybody talking about the brand. Purely for the sake of brand visibility, they should keep making them.
            But not enough so that when the (almost inevitable) problems finally crop up, they become a threat to the company’s future. A recall of 5,000 vehicles is not such a big deal in a company that’s producing 200,000 a year. But if you have to recall HALF your entire production, that’s a big problem.

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            I can understand your concern, falcon doors don’t do much for me either but I’m not part of the target demographic so that could hardly matter less. A huge plus for Tesla is they are the only company currently making awesome electric cars with a good range (and SuperCharger access). Take me for example, I did not really want the performance or the size of the Model S but I bought one anyway despite the high price tag because I wanted a 200+ mile range BEV and no one else makes one. In addition I appreciate the rust free nature of the very light aluminium bodywork and a navigation screen I can read (actually there are two nav. screens). Some purchasers of the Model X may feel the same way, not that persuaded by the falcon wing doors perhaps but wanting a BEV SUV what other choice is there. Besides the Model S and X are both very good, very safe and fun to drive vehicles. The wonder to me is not the 21st century thinking of Tesla but the last century thinking of rest of the auto industry.

          • ROBwithaB

            Awesome cars, on all the points you’ve mentioned. Truly revolutionary, for all the right reasons.
            And I might well get one for myself, if they ever make it to South Africa.

            Over 100,000 Model S sold, from almost nothing three years ago. Simply amazing. Well deserved. And all without the need to re-invent the common door….
            By all means, re-engineer a car from the ground up to take advantage of all the inherent benefits of an electric drivetrain. But don’t fix what ain’t broke.

            In terms of “what other choice is there?” I think it would be awesome if we could simply say, “The X, of course. But the one with regular doors”.
            That “choice” is what it’s all about.

          • TedKidd

            I’m open to the idea I might want these doors.

            That they exist already is going to make me much more comfortable with my decision.

            If they are right about this door thing, it may turn desire into unbridled lust.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m falcon wing door neutral. I’m waiting to see if there are problems before declaring them a success or failure.

            If they are a success I think I’d like to have a car with them. I commonly load the back of my current ride with groceries, generator gas, propane jugs. The sort of access that the doors provide would be a sweet thing.

          • The biggest problem with the falcon wing doors is the owner rarely gets to use them!!

            They are for the rear passengers not the front.

            I suppose you could lure a chick into the backseat with them, but that aside why pay so much for something you rarely get to use, except to show off?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I would think that people who buy the X rather than the S are doing so because of the extra rear room and accessibility.

          • Kyle Field

            Vote with your dollars 🙂 I voted Model S then went and bought one 🙂

        • dRanger

          Then the Model 3 is for you! In the meantime, the Model S and X suck up all the media oxygen. And Elon’s Evil Plan for World Domination continues to unfold. 😉

          • ROBwithaB

            Just in case anyone left on earth who doesn’t know what dRanger is talking aobut, here is Elon’s “Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan” in his own words:

            “Build sports car

            Use that money to build an affordable car

            Use that money to build an even more affordable car

            While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options

            Don’t tell anyone.”

            So far so good. Except for that last bit about not telling anyone…
            Dang that Twitter thing!

            (Oh, and P.S. Nothing there about the need to re-invent minivan access options.)

          • neroden

            Minivans usually use sliding doors. That WAS NOT AN OPTION for Model X because sliding doors require a *non-aerodynamic* body.

            think about it, people, think about it

        • neroden

          If you want normal low cost doors, buy a Model S.

      • milliamp

        The Model S already has 63.3 cubic feet of storage and seating capacity up to 7 putting it on par with some crossovers. The trunk of a typical sedan is about 14 or 15 cubic feet. You can look up the difference with the seat down but the S is closer to SUV’s and vans than it is to ICE sedans.

        For people who don’t have large families and need 3rd row seating the S is already a solid competitor to crossovers. For people who need 3rd row seating and/or have kids in car seats the X represents an innovative way to cram into an SUV without buying a van.

        There are only a couple SUV’s on the market with captains chairs where it’s actually easy to get to the 3rd row and they are generally pretty expensive. The Buick Enclave was mentioned below as being one of them.

        Gull wing doors is probably the most accessible options, captains chairs would be second, and for SUV’s with 3rd row seating and bench 2nd row seating the 3rd row seating is pretty much functionally useless.

        The Model S jump seats are literally better 3rd row seating than the ones in my 4runner.

        Also no other SUV offers acceleration that’s even in the ballpark of the X. It probably doesn’t roll as easy either because the weight is very centered.

        I don’t know that it’s quite the home run that the S was but I’d still call it a solid double. With that said I would still be happy driving one with regular doors and 2nd row captains chairs too 🙂

      • dRanger

        “…I don’t want to look like a pretentious prick…” I hope that works out for you in the future, it’s good to have goals.

        • ROBwithaB

          Careful with the ad hominem stuff. Bob patrols these boards with a whip in hand, ready to discipline the squabbling children at the first sign of name-calling.
          To be clear, I wasn’t speaking for myself with that statement. It was a projection of how I imagine a (specific demographic) potential customer might react.
          Not sure what I might’ve said to make you react like that. If it’s the way I speak, well that’s just the way I speak. It is probably even more frustrating for me than it is for anyone listening, if it’s any consolation.
          You don’t need to feel bad about insulting me (or trying to). I have certain brain anomalies that render me impervious (and indifferent) to public opinion. These same anomalies also mean that I sometimes inadvertently insult or annoy people.

          I’m happy to apologise if I said something that offended you personally.
          I don’t personally hate Tesla drivers (which I assume you are). In fact, I love them. As a shareholder of the company, I wish there were millions more of them. It’s just that some of them give the company (and by association the cars) a bad name. Elon has chosen the route of minimal traditional advertising, relying on Tesla owners and fans to get the word out. That decision has the potential to be a double-edged sword.
          The disciples now control the message, and that may lead to losses in translation.

          • TedKidd

            I don’t know – I think its a much more diverse group then folks who buy Merc S class, BMW 7’s and A8’s. A lot of “Normals” are stretching to buy these cars.

            You really think owners are getting a bad name? Based on what?

          • ROBwithaB

            Yes, the data supports the idea that lots of people are indeed stretching their budgets to get a Tesla into the garage. And that’s brilliant.
            Hopefully the CPO program will facilitate the process, and we’ll soon see a bunch of “normal” people driving around in Teslas. E.g. Old-fashioned gearheads who are sold on the performance and engineering rather than the perceived environmental benefits. Or regular families who just want to save money and protect their kids from fiery death. That sort of thing. Because those are the people who will become the strongest and most convincing brand ambassadors. They have no political or environmental agenda or “message” to convey. And won’t taint the brand with the holier-than-thou stigma that appears to be a hallmark of the hardcore fundamentalists.

            As for the owners getting a bad name, I’m basing it on “word on the street” (okay, “word on the internet”). The more traditional motoring websites are full of comments from people only too happy to recount their bad experiences with Tesla owners. A simple google search should deliver a bunch of examples.
            Is this chatter somehow stimulated by those with ulterior motives? Possibly, sure.

            But we don’t even need to go onto the petrolhead websites to see the trend. A lot of Tesla owners are quite happy to spew their misdirected invective even on supportive platforms. There are those who, at the slightest hint of perceived criticism of Tesla, will retort with comments like “well then you obviously can’t afford one”, or “fine, keep killing the world” or “my car uses NO fossil fuels, so nobody’s dying in Iraq for me’.
            That sort of thing. Not helping the brand.

            I’ve never met a Tesla driver in person. (None in South Africa yet.) I’m sure that many of them are perfectly lovely people and would be great company at a barbecue.
            Of course there are dickheads everywhere. Some of them drive ICEVs, some of them drive BEVs, some PHEVs. And some of them surely take public transport (lots of funny YouTube videos to back this up).
            To pretend that you’re a morally superior being just because of one particular purchase decision doesn’t make sense, and people will call you out for it. Despite what the advertising industry would have you believe, you are not completely defined by the car you drive.

            Some people might want to know about your awesome car, or your recent bowel surgery, but it’s not necessarily how you’re going to start a conversation with a bunch of complete strangers.
            It’s a bit like that old joke about Ivy League universities.
            Q: How can you tell if a gentleman is a Yale graduate.
            A: You don’t need to. He’ll tell YOU.

          • TedKidd

            The CPO program provides a glimpse into their strategic brilliance.

            Where other companies are mostly concerned with first sale, Tesla clearly understood that value to owner was the problem to focus on.

            Being new tech, EV’s carry a LOT of perceived (real & imagined) risk. By creating a used marketplace with a renewed warranty, they’ve reduced risk to used buyers, opening ownership affordability to those who can’t assume those risks, creating a robust used marketplace and bouying residual values all at the same time.

            Just SEEING the brilliance of this single play is hard, imagine the thinking talent required to paint it.

            And this is only a tiny piece of the total strategy. It’s like the Sistine chapel, just leaves me feeling overwhelmed.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Add in the continuing upgrades to cars already sold.

          • neroden

            The continuing downgrades to cars already sold, however, are a downside.

      • dogphlap dogphlap

        Land Rover has made a concept vehicle that might suite you better than the Model X. Robert LLewellyn took one for a brief test drive on some form of four wheel drive test track. Of course it may never reach production and if it does it may not be affordable but you might enjoy looking at the YouTube video. As to the longevity of the falcon wing doors only time will tell.

        • ROBwithaB

          I really enjoy (the other) Rob’s videos and I’m subscribed to his YouTube channel. I’ve seen the video in question. Honestly, I would never buy a Land Rover, almost on principle. Even if they finally came up with a production model with an electric drivetrain. Which ain’t gonna happen anytime soon, IMHO.
          “Affordable” is a relative term, and depends entirely on one’s priorities. For instance, I know that many people actually BORROW money to buy a car. Or would rather buy a Tesla for $75k than invest the same amount in Tesla stock. Maybe I’m just boring. Different strokes….

          And “only time will tell” doesn’t sound to me like a coherent business plan. Betting the whole company on an unknown variable is just crazy, I fear.
          With so many other threats out there over which one has no control…. After gambling everything more than once and sneaking through by the skin of one’s nose…. With so many actually willing the company to fail. Why gamble everything on a single roll of the dice, when it would be easy to skew the odds by making a simple compromise.
          Hubris is the word, perhaps. The pride that comes before the fall. Engineers make mistakes sometimes. Even really smart engineers. Especially when they’re trying something brand new.
          By all means, make the leap. Do the incredibly difficult thing that’s never been tried before. That’s how you change the world.
          But… The trick is to conduct a proper risk assessment and to have mitigation strategies in place.
          I’m kinda hoping that all this frantic typing of mine is redundant, and that the non-Sig $80k version is revealed with regular doors as an option, with the falcons as an add-on extra. I really hope so…

      • neroden

        Give the doors a try. They’re not a problem.

        The “pop out” door handles on the Model S were stupid, unnecessary, and overcomplicated. They sold thousands of cars to people who like flash and bling, and they aren’t a problem (they work just fine).

        The “falcon doors” are going to be exactly like that.

        You want to worry about mistakes being made by Tesla?
        — they’re violating copyrights all over the place: big hunks of the software is pirated
        — they pulled a bait-and-switch with Ranger service which has made a lot of people very mad
        — they don’t have enough service centers and seem to have no plan to build enough
        — they downgraded the Model S software recently and seem to be unable to fix simple bugs given multiple years to do so
        — their legal department is grotesquely incompetent — they lost a libel case in Britain, which is practically impossible given that the defendant bears the burden of proof
        — internal communications still seems to be complete chaos, with information not making it from one department to the next

        I’m still long TSLA, but these are some of my worries. Falcon doors are not one of my worries. Apparently they had no problems at all. (The megawindshield and the second row seating were the cause of delays to the Model X, however.)

        • Pirated software? I thought it ran on Ubuntu Linux, open source software.

          At least we know for sure they didn’t pirate any of the VW Dieselgate software.

    • The Tesla Model S blew away the automotive media. Initial test drives of the X did the same. Model S owners have been happier with their vehicles than any other owners since the S came it. It also broke the Consumer Reports rating system. Expect as much support for and satisfaction with the X.

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