Tesla Ex-Part Supplier Refutes Claim Of Delays For Falcon Wing Door

2 years ago by Jay Cole 52

Tesla Model X Falcon Wing Doors Continue To Be Focus Of An Ongoing Lawsuit

Tesla Model X Falcon Wing Doors Continue To Be Focus Of An Ongoing Lawsuit

Last week Tesla Motors filed suit against Hoerbiger Automotive Comfort Systems, and their inability to produce a workable “falcon wing” model in a timely fashion.

Some Of The Frequent Model X Delays Coming To Market Were Likely Caused By Falcon Wing Door Operation

Some Of The Frequent Model X Delays Coming To Market Were Likely Caused By Falcon Wing Door Operation

Tesla reported delays on the falcon wing door mechanism by Hoerbiger forced the company to  source an alternate supplier in May of 2015, just months before the Model X was ultimately launched (in somewhat limited fashion) in September.

Hoerbiger was first put under contract with Tesla in February of 2014.  Tesla’s recent lawsuit, if successful, would prevent the parts maker from making any further demand claims for services rendered.

Now, Hoerbiger has refuted Tesla’s position, saying they were in fact, ready to go.  In a statement (via WSJ), the parts supplier said:

“Tesla Motors, Inc. repudiated its agreements with Hoerbiger in May 2015. By this point in time, Hoerbiger Automotive Comfort Systems was already fully prepared to begin high-volume production according to Tesla’s most current schedule… Hoerbiger was in compliance with the specifications stipulated by Tesla.”

Tesla had earlier put the failures on the hydraulic design by Hoerbiger saying it leaked oil, became overheated and eventually ceased working.  Tesla later went with a electromechanical design.

The parts maker also retorted to this assertion, stating that its work on the actuator was not the root cause of the problems cited by the automaker, and that its system functioned to all of Tesla’s stipulated requirements.

Who is ultimately telling the truth in this “he said, she said” legal battle?  We will let a judge decide.

Wall Street Journal

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52 responses to "Tesla Ex-Part Supplier Refutes Claim Of Delays For Falcon Wing Door"

  1. Anon says:

    Well, what would you tell the public– after trying to bill someone for a rejected design and getting sued over it? *shrugs*

    1. James says:

      +1 Exactly.

      I love that viral video where the two toddlers are sitting there with chocolate syrup all over them from head to toe. The older one saying to their parent,”I didn’t do it!”…bottle of syruo in his hand….

  2. MikeG says:

    He said, she said. Let a judge decide.

  3. evcarnut says:

    You could see it in some prototypes that the doors were faulty on one of the videos, where the driver has to physically push the falcon door to get it to shut.

    1. pjwood1 says:

      But then, a question of design spec comes up and whether Tesla specified sufficient closing force to over-come a weather seal. Tesla says? Hor says? Minutiae.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Indeed. The door actuator is only one link in a chain of what’s needed to make the rather complex door work properly. Identifying which was the weak link in the chain — or perhaps multiple weak links — isn’t something one can figure out just by watching a video.

  4. James says:

    I wonder how many cycles those doors are tested for? It boggles the mind how many open\close events will occur during the life of the car. They have to be reliable in freezing and hot climes and be robust enough for all sorts of abuse, and withstand vibration and road shock, not becoming misaligned.

    Kind of reminds me of the syndrome of Model S drive moters needing change-outs…The very nature of it’s O-60 time invites constant abuse, as most Tesla owners show off this feature as a major impetus of the purchasing decision (and justification of it’s price). In the same way, YouTube is filling up with videos of X doors going up and down. “Hey, let’s go over to Fred and Wilma’s place and show them how these doors work”… I’d venture to say those doors are gonna get a workout!

    1. ffbj says:

      Yeah I saw Barney and Betty over there looking at the doors go up and down.

      1. Anon says:

        Yabba. Dabba. Do.

        😉

    2. evcarnut says:

      Those doors are truly complicated…However the supplier should have never taken on such a task ..0bviosly they the supplier wasn’t capable of carrying 0ut the specified task..but It appears to me, that the supplier took the job on solely for the $$ money part of it.(((Been there Had that done to Me!))))) The The supplier couldn’t care less if they got the job done .They were in it for the money Advances , When it was all said & done. Sorry …..

      1. mr. M says:

        Boo the supplier wanted money for work. They only made the doors how they where specified, and did them not perfect. It’s the fault of wrong specification in this case.

        I see false/uncomplete specifications every day. You get what you asked for.

        1. SJC says:

          Yes, project managers will say get a good solid specification or don’t take the contract.

    3. Paul says:

      These are not the front doors, so the number of movements is less then many people seem to imagine.

      1. Speculawyer says:

        That is a very good point. They will certainly see some action but the amount of times cars are driven with more than 2 people in the car is often pretty small.

        1. wavelet says:

          That a lot less the case for an SUV…
          I have no data on this, but I seriously doubt that front vs. rear door are rated for a different number of openings/closures.

  5. James says:

    Please excuse my 7″ tablet typos today. Doncha love these touchscreens?

    1. James says:

      Sans edit I want to rate the levels of typo embarrassment. #1 has to be “moter”, #2 – “chocolate syruo”

      InsideEVs is web crack for me…You’d think I could just read and not respond when I’m away from my pc…… 🙂

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Normally our comment trolling would fix any spelling/grammar errors mentioned before anyone noticed…but there is too much comedy to be found here to do that now, (=

        1. James says:

          L 🙂 L

  6. evcarnut says:

    Tesla should sue them for the delays they caused plus damages..Because ,that is the reason the X launch was late & it was common knowledge., The problems with the falcon doors Has been the Culprit all along.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “We’ve identified the scapegoat; our task here is done!”

      Well no, it’s not. Figuring out who to blame merely wastes time which should be used actually identifying and fixing the real problem or problems.

      1. SJC says:

        I don’t know how many people will want a Model X with doors done at the last minute.

  7. Nix says:

    They are required to dispute the assertions as part of responding to the lawsuit, so it isn’t surprising that they did exactly what they have to do. It is like a criminal pleading not guilty, regardless of whether they are guilty or not.

    I guess their claim going to be that leaking and overheating was within the “specifications stipulated by Tesla”.

    1. Anon says:

      *Spurt*

      *Hiss*

      “Deys a bute, eh?” *Pats locked up Falcon door*

      Elon shakes head, “No.”

    2. mr. M says:

      If leaking and overheating was not excluded in the specification they will win. It is sad, but you have to specify exactly what you want to get.

      Maybe the leakage was 1ml per opening. Little but existing. Tesla said no. Supplier said “not specified” and we fullfilled the spec.

      I hope they find a good solution, before tesla learns the hard way again.

  8. James says:

    I’ve shared the instance on here before about how my WWII-era dad pulled the sliding door off the tracks of my brother’s brand-new Honda Odyssey. He could’nt figure out how to “shut that @#$%& door” so he kept yanking at it!

    I feel for engineers because there are so many contingencies you just can’t plan for.
    Elon gave engineers and technicians a whole lotta headaches when he insisted on those doors.

    On a positive note, perhaps he learned his lesson and is going on a fast-track, K.I.S.S. philosophy for Model III…

    1. Anon says:

      Yes. Keeping positive some version of the M3 doors will be more like the i3 suicide doors….

      1. Steven says:

        I’d rather see sliding doors, like on the Renault 1007.

        But that’s just me.

  9. Bill Howland says:

    You’d have to read the specs and the contract to see who is at fault, conceivably both of them.

    Most sophisticated contracts – for the money involved here this would certainly be considered one – would have agreed upon benchmarks that would have to be concluded every step of the way.

    A judge is not going to look kindly on a poorly worded, vague contract.

    1. Nix says:

      That is true. Lots of companies have paid lots of money for failed products, because both parties agreed in the contract that a certain amount of money would be paid to TRY, regardless of whether the product worked or not.

      We have no idea whether Hoerbiger managed to get a contract where they were paid based upon effort vs. being paid for results.

  10. Andrei says:

    Hoerbiger already lost. If the customer is not happy, you lost! End of story!

    1. mr. M says:

      A contract is a contract. The costomer might not be happy, but a contract is still binding.

    2. Steven says:

      The supplier can fulfill the terms of the contract and the customer can still be unhappy.

      Unless it’s specifically spelled out “If we don’t like it for any reason (reasonable or not) then we consider the terms of this contract unfulfilled.”

      Then there’s a lot of grey area to slog through.

  11. ffbj says:

    I think it all got started when Tesla got the bill and said, for what?
    I think they both have a case one where they say hey we all this preparation and were getting ready for mass production, and then Tesla saying the product was faulty.

    So, you do not have to pay for an undelivered product which is faulty, but Hoerbiger has a case if it can be shown the doors were up to specifications.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Right.

      Clearly Hoerbiger’s door actuator was inadequate for the task it was called on to perform. But was that because Hoerbiger failed to design it properly? Or was it because Tesla’s specifications asked for something which turned out to be less robust than what was actually needed?

      Or does the truth lie somewhere in between? I’m glad I’m not the judge (or jury) on this case!

  12. SJC says:

    This is why you have contract specifications.

  13. floydboy says:

    If they just wanted to get paid for delivering a product, they should have signed up with the U.S. military. They should have known Musk was gonna want the damned things to actually work!

  14. Acevolt says:

    Does anyone know who the current door mechanism supplier is? I was search around, but could not find anything.

  15. John says:

    Most likely Tesla engineers didn’t know what they want and Hoerbiger refused to accept changes to the specification. Inexperience meets inflexibility. What puzzles me is that they have apparently contracted mass production of an untested prototype. This is not how you develop new systems from scratch.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Jay Cole mentioned, in a comment on the last article here on this subject, that it is strange Tesla waited so long before starting the process of developing a door actuator. If Tesla had to rush something into production without proper prototype testing, that might have contributed a lot to what happened here.

    2. mr. M says:

      If you want to make it fast you might skip some loops others do.

  16. zzzzzzzzzz says:

    This happens all the time.
    – OK, you wanted square thingy, here it is.
    – OK, great, our genious just want very small change that you should be able to do in 5 minutes and we can go – the thingy should be all round and pink.
    – Hmm, OK, it is round and pink now but as a result it doesn’t work well
    – No, it is you fault now! How can it be a problem to change design specs in the last minute if we just wanted to change the shape of the whole thing and nothing more??? We are paying you for that and you are messing up!

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      …and obviously the real problem is that you changed the color from blue to pink. Totally outside the design parameters! 😉

    2. mr. M says:

      Supplier: But if we change from blue to pink it might have a little blue shade.

      OEM: Fine do it.

      Supplier product presentation:
      OEM: Oh no, this is a very visible shade of blue, you should have told us before…

      Supplier: Dang. Head at desk.

  17. Rick Bronson says:

    I hope they don’t try this falcon wing experiment with upcoming Model-3.

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      We will see what Tesla come up with but many things exist from which they can choose from to access inside a car.

      Here is a cockpit like system in a Maserati birdcage 75 concept:
      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Vzfwc93Iqic/Ubui6EYtcRI/AAAAAAAAYQs/3c4zBUwm33o/s1600/maserati_birdcage_75th_concept_8.jpg
      And the Saab Aero-X:
      http://www.web2carz.com/images/articles/201406/saab_aero_1402516911_2592x1944.jpg
      The Honda Skydeck:

      Or this incredible revolutionary idea of self balanced lateral doors:

      We will find out in march.

    2. GSP says:

      I think that Tesla plans Falcon Wings for the SUV version of the III, but not the sedan.

      GSP

  18. Three Electrics says:

    Given that it’s been four months since the “launch” of the Model X, with very few actual deliveries, I’d say that this firm can no longer be considered the scapegoat, at least going forward. I wish Tesla would take to heart Steve Jobs’ lesson on the importance of saying “no.” Half shipping a half baked car is no way to do business.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      The comments from actual owners of Model X’s on the Tesla Motors Club forum certainly don’t indicate a car which is less than fully “baked”. Even in the thread about problems owners have had after delivery — problems which are mostly or entirely minor — there hasn’t been a single owner say they regret their purchase.

      But you never let facts stand in the way of your incessant Tesla bashing, do you Three Oil Companies Three Electrics?

      1. V. Bowman says:

        Three Oil Companies….LMAO… nice!

        1. Phr3d says:

          insert forehead slap here.