Model X

Design Mystery Solved for the Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X Detroit 2013

A letter to Tesla Model X reservation holders on June 16 solves the persistent design mystery for the 3rd Tesla vehicle and it now looks like the design is locked down.

The design mystery? Third-row seats.

Doesn’t sound like much of an issue for Elon Musk but he mentioned it at an early June shareholders’ meeting and revealed that the positioning or “framing” of the 2nd row seats was a definite issue.

Model X

The framing of the 2nd row in the Tesla Model X prohibits a clean entry to these seats as seen above.

MUSK: “So in the case of Model X that’s just taken a bit longer than we would have liked in particularly getting the falcon-wing door right is extremely difficult and then things that you maybe wouldn’t expect also very difficult like the second row seats are quite a challenge because what we’re aiming for with the Model X is that when you open the falcon-wing door you have the second row seats were essentially framed and we want that to feel like a work of art like if you open up the door it should give us amazing experience.”

From the video at the bottom, at the 1:13 mark approximately,”framing” meant moving those 2nd row seats back further to allow a more “ideal” view and easier access to the 2nd row. With the 2nd row back, you have much less room to access to the 3rd row. Solution, the third row is now an option for the Tesla Model X. *Also, the letter reveals that Tesla Model X ‘s volume production will start in early 2015.

Reservation Holders Speak

However, there were mixed reviews on the company’s message board about the third row and how it has been marketed as a standard component of the car, see below:

::: Red Sage | JUNE 16, 2014

“…you’ll have the option to add a third row of seats…”

I’m with Cindy123 on this… I, too, had always presumed the third row, and seven passenger seating, would be standard issue on Tesla Model X. What’s the point of the Falcon Wing Doors, if the third row of seats is strictly optional? Perhaps they meant that the second row would have other configuration options… Such as the ability to have a pair of captain’s chairs instead of a bench, for a six passenger configuration…? Or maybe even a fourth row of rear-facing jump seats to have nine passengers?

::: Erik M. | JUNE 16, 2014

I would order a third row of seats only if they can be moved entirely. It’s just for those rare occasions you have 6 or more adults to drive around, maybe once or twice a year for me.

::: dleidy | JUNE 17, 2014

Who cares if third row seating is optional or not. This is a 2-motor AWD car, and the “base” model is claimed to have a sub-5 second 0-60. That means the PERFORMANCE model could out-perform the MS because of the AWD traction. That alone is worth the price of admission for me, which is why I have a reservation! That coupled with the new even better interior and falcon wings, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

After following this car for years, this vehicle has been marketed as a 7-person crossover by Tesla Motors, but 3rd row seating is also an option for BMW’s X5 and Porsche Cayenne SUVs.
At this point with the Tesla Model X, it was the right decision to keep falcon wing doors as is versus a standard third row of seating.

What are your thoughts?


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