On September 29, 2015, once again Tesla showed us what kind of car company they are. Tesla is a design company in the same league as Apple. They care about the experience they are providing to their customers and don't mind working hard to achieve the best experience possible. Very few companies are operating under that mindset.
Here is a quick summary of the Tesla Model X's best features.
Falcon Wing Doors
To facilitate entry and exit, Tesla created these doors with a smart double articulation. These double articulations allow the doors to modify the way they open : Wide-first or Height-first depending on their surroundings which they can sense with a new sonar sensor located within the doors. Say good-bye to those ugly parking sensors pucks we typically see on cars equipped with parking sensors. Tesla created a new kind of sensors that can be embedded underneath the metal in the doors but still be able to sense, through the metal, objects near the car.
They look awesome and fulfill a real need.
Automated 2nd row seats
Working in conjunction with the Falcon wing doors, the 2nd row seats, are electrically operated to move out of the way, smoothly when someone wants to access the 3rd row.
The 2nd row seats also look very confortable and have room below much like an airplane seat, to be able to stow your items underneath them.
Auto Presenting Front Doors
As much as the auto-presenting door handles were, this one goes a little bit further. The whole door opens to let you in. How cool is that? Very cool. Then, when it detects that you are sitting in the seat, it closes the door.
The doors are smart enough to only open as wide as needed to be able to let the person in based on the angle the person has when walking towards the car. Pretty smart and well-designed.
Because of the Falcon Wing Doors, it will be less convenient to install a roof rack on the Model X. Elon mentionned you can do so on one side of the car by not using the Falcom Wing Door on that side.
Tesla designed a hitch that can be very easily installed and removed, even by a 10-year old. For those who have installed hitches before, you know they usually take several minutes to install and require some tools.
Again, Tesla understands that God is in the details.
I kept the most innovative feature for last. Falcon Wings are great and a show-stopper but this panoramic windshield gets the crown.
What you see in the middle of this windshield is the rear-view mirror. Yeah, yeah, the windshield of the X becomes your "Sunroof".
I think that the A pillars need to be exceptionally strong to allow this and I suspect that it is Tesla's battery, located in the floor of the car and the SpaceX aluminium bonding technology that allows Tesla to create this work of art.
We'll see if other automakers try to imitate Tesla on this.
I now understand more why the Tesla Model X has been delayed several times. It was initially scheduled to be released in 2013 and they must have had to tweak all those features to make sure they work well in the real world and bring value to the customers.
It goes to show that it takes time to create quality cars. The same is true for software. If you want your software to be smart and elegant, it takes time to do so. There is just no other way around it.