Tesla Motors revealed its third (second all-new since the original Roadster was developed from the Lotus Elise) vehicle last night at a special event in California. The Model X is an good-looking but maybe not very practical all-electric crossover that is expected to the join the Model S sedan late in 2013. http://www.teslamotors.com/modelx
As CUVs go, the Model X is quite attractive and follows the design language that Franz von Holzhausen created for the Model S. The platform is based on the Model S and same sort of skateboard electric drive architecture pioneered a decade ago by its AUTOnomy concept http://www.adrianchernoff.com/pages/AUTOnomy.html
Despite the low-slung platform that gets all of the hardware out of the way, from the initial images I'm seeing of the Model X it seems to have some packaging issues. Like the Model S, the crossover has seven seats although the tiny child-size rear-facing jump seats of the sedan have been swapped for proper forward facing seats.
von Holzhausen has devised an interesting door arrangement for the X that uses conventional hinged front doors and gull-wings (which Tesla insists on calling Falcon wings, presumably in honor of the Falcon rocket produced by Musk's other company, SpaceX) for access to the second and third rows. This arrangement allows for a larger opening to access the third row without making the doors excessively wide when opened. However, judging from the position of the passengers in the second and third rows as seen in the photo below from Engadget, adults won't be very happy in the back for any length of time.
That's actually probably not that big of an issue since most mid-size crossovers have the same issue. Third row seats are usually best left to little ones and they will probably have an easier time getting in an out than they do in most others. While the gull-wings make for easy ingress-egress, I do see this becoming a manufacturing and quality nightmare. Plus being in that third row when the door opens on a rainy day probably won't be much fun.
The other big packaging issue I see is the front door openings. Take a look at those front door openings! They are virtually triangular with the windshield sloping back to meet the B-pillar. Taller drivers and passengers will definitely have to duck to get in and out without whacking their heads on the pillar. I have a feeling this is going to have change quite substantially in the two years before customer deliveries start in earnest.
I must say that I've long been skeptical of whether Tesla could survive in the long-term as an independent entity and I'm frankly surprised they have hung in as long as they have. I think it's the sheer force of will of Elon Musk that has kept them going and I hope they succeed. The success or failure of the Model S will be very telling about the company as a whole. Good Luck to everyone at Tesla.
#tesla #teslamodelx #ev #electricvehicles
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