Tesla Model X Electric SUV Sports Falcon Wing Doors - InformationWeek
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9/30/2015
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Tesla Model X Electric SUV Sports Falcon Wing Doors

After a long period of development, Tesla is finally ready to show the world its latest electric vehicle, the Model X SUV.

New York Auto Show: Cool Cars With Hot Tech
New York Auto Show: Cool Cars With Hot Tech
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors took the wraps off its latest product, the Model X, a sport utility vehicle that features advanced safety features and Falcon Wing doors, and boasts seating for up to seven passengers.

Model X owners can expect to travel up to 257 miles on a charge in a base Model X 90D, although that drops down to 250 with the Model X P90D, which sprints from 0 to 60 in just 3.3-seconds, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

During a grand unveiling outside of the company's factory in Fremont, Calif., CEO Elon Musk, drew attention to the car's safety features, which he said are the most important aspects of any vehicle.

The floor-mounted battery lowers the center of gravity so that the risk of rollover is almost nonexistent, and the battery structure strengthens the vehicle against side impact intrusions.

The front trunk acts as a large, impact absorbing crumple zone, while active sensors with emergency braking and collision avoidance systems provide added protection.

(Image: Tesla)

(Image: Tesla)

Model X continually scans the surrounding roadway with camera, radar, and sonar systems, providing real-time feedback to help avoid collisions.

The Model X also includes a medical grade HEPA filter, which removes pollen, bacteria, viruses, and pollution from cabin air.

The filter can operate in three modes: Circulate with outside air, re-circulate inside air, and a James Bond-like bioweapon defense mode, which creates positive pressure inside the cabin to protect occupants.

The outside of the vehicle resembles many of the other slightly bulbous, aerodynamic SUVs on the mark, eschewing the traditional boxy design of older models for a more high tech and futuristic aesthetic.

In fact, Tesla claims the Model X's drag coefficient is 20% lower than the next-best SUV, which contributes to the vehicle's extended range, and is aided by a an active spoiler that deploys to one of three preset positions when Model X is in motion.

The most eye-catching feature is what Tesla calls Falcon Wing doors: Requiring only a foot of clearance, the doors articulate up and out of the way, allowing passengers to enter from both front and rear directions.

Aside from the articulated, DeLorean-style doors, the other dominant design feature is a massive glass panoramic windshield that features optimized solar tinting and an obstruction-free view for both driver and passengers.

[Read the latest report on Apple's Project Titan project.]

On the inside, the Model X is available in six-seat and seven-seat interior layouts, and features tons of storage, including a large front trunk (large enough to hold two golf bags), a rear cargo area with enough room for large items like bicycles, skis and snowboards, and space under the passenger seats.

On top of that, the Model X is packed with creature comforts and high-tech features, including maps and navigation with real-time traffic updates, automatic keyless entry, power-folding heated side mirrors, and GPS enabled Homelink.

The company's mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable transport, Musk reminded in the audience in his opening remarks.

"It's incredibly important that we move to a sustainable world sooner rather than later," Musk said. "And it's important to show that any type of car can go electric."

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
10/2/2015 | 6:48:49 AM
HEPA filter
Daniel, 

In fact, the HEPA filter is something that I find really useful and necessary for those of us who prefer healthy environments free from pollution, bacteria, viruses, and everything else in the air which can cause health issues. I think the HEPA filter is a great and thoughtful add to the car. Smart homes have such filters as well. 

-Susan 

 
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
10/1/2015 | 3:34:37 PM
Re: Falcon Wing Doors
I really like this feature where the battery acts as a safety mechanism that limits the car's ability to flip over. But the HEPA filter? That seems a bit unecessary. I guess the people buying these cars don't car about cost. Still, I don't see this filter being anything more than a luxury item that's not really needed. 
lorine34
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lorine34,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2015 | 9:58:55 AM
opening system
I'm not a big fan of this opening system. I prefer opening doors normally.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
10/1/2015 | 6:54:06 AM
Falcon Wings too slow?
One complaint I've heard about this car is that the doors are too slow to open and close, making for a bit of a frustrating experience for thos waiting to enter. Has anyone else seen much reporting of this?

Perhaps that's half the reason they're designed to start opening before you get there, so you don't have to stand around like an idiot waiting to get in.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2015 | 9:34:25 PM
Re: Tesla Model X
Jeeze, sounds luxurious. Probably quite a bit beyond my means, but cool nevertheless. It certainly shows value on how the electric model behooves existing car designsin terms of a) those safety features and b) the added conveniences (front trunk sounds nice). Making it tip-top of the line is a smart PR move from Musk to make sure we don't hear too much backtalk from SUV enthusiasts. I wonder where this fits into Tesla's ongoing legal troubles getting their cars to market in many places - have they made any concessions on that front with the Model X?
shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2015 | 7:22:13 PM
Re: Falcon Wing Doors
I would love to see this on a drag race with the other leading cars such as Lamborghini, Bugatti. The Tesla Model S overtook Lamborghini Gallardo in the first few seconds on track. 
shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2015 | 7:19:54 PM
Re: Falcon Wing Doors
Tesla Model X will change the impression we have on electric cars. The Model S did the same with a stunning long range drive and an amazing torque. 
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