Elon Musk Faults Himself For Tesla Model X Issues


Tesla Model x

Tesla Model X (via Edmunds)

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X

At the Tesla Motors 2016 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Mountain View, California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk owned up by accepting blame for the Model X delays and issues.

Musk says he mostly faults himself for the delays and some rather widespread problems related to the X (mostly it’s those Falcon Wing doors that have been so problematic).

Quoting Musk:

 “This [Model X] program has been challenging. I particularly need to fault myself for a fair bit of hubris for putting too much technology all at once into a product.”

“In retrospect the right thing to do with the Model X would have been to take a lot of the really awesome cool things and table them for a future version. So, if I could wind back the clock, I would say, ‘look we’ve got these great ideas. Things that I want to implement and other people want to implement.’ But the smart move would actually have been to table those for version 2 and version 3 of Model X instead of piling them all into version 1.”

That’s precisely what Tesla intends to do for the Model 3. As Musk previously stated, Versions 2 and 3 of the Model 3 will incorporate some “cool things,” but Version 1 will be relatively simple.

Here’s Musk explaining what went wrong with the Model X:

“In particular, the software that controls the Model X and the operation of the doors has been incredibly difficult to refine and getting the complex set of sensors to work well.. I think we’re almost there in making the doors useful. Actually, it’s a software problem. How do you interpret all of the data from the sensors? What should you remember? What shouldn’t you remember? How should you open the door in different circumstances? If you’re in a low ceiling or narrow situation? If the sensor is giving erroneous feedback, when is the right time to ignore the sensor?”

Musk had often denied that the Falcon Doors were delaying the X, but now he’s openly admitting that the doors have been the main problem and Tesla is even suing one of the Falcon Door suppliers for delays in designing the X’s “wings.

Musk concluded his Model X door portion of the speech with this encouraging remark:

Digging ourselves out the hole has been quite hard. But I think with the software release that’s going out shortly and another one that’s going out in maybe a month or so, I think finally we’ll be at the point where the doors are better than normal doors, as opposed to worse [Laughter]. So, anyone considering buying a Model X, if you order a Model X now or soon, trust me, you will love the doors. Because the software will actually be right.”

Source: Forbes

Category: Tesla

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60 responses to "Elon Musk Faults Himself For Tesla Model X Issues"
  1. Big Solar says:


  2. AlphaEdge says:

    Now don’t make the same mistakes with Model 3. Play it safe.

  3. EVcarnut says:


  4. Boris says:

    No wings on the Y please…

    1. +1000!

      Thankfully I don’t think they could do it and hit a price point anywhere near the 3, so that will likely preclude FaWD anyways.

    2. SparkEV says:

      I would also add, just mechanical door handles instead of electrical ones like in S. Seriously, why is door such difficult thing with Tesla? KISStupid! Door fetish SUCKS!

      1. sven says:

        Mechanical door handles aren’t always reliable. Just ask Putin!

        1. sven says:

          Close up version:

  5. Djoni says:

    This is the problem teaching talented people, they stubbornly think they can overcome everything by themselves because they’re so gifted.
    Sometime they do, many times they don’t!

    Now play it safer, if you hit a great shot it’s still possible to hit a better one or an impossible one.
    The reverse action is not very rewarding.

  6. Joe says:

    About time, too.

    And now please work on foolding middle row seats so that the X actually really gains in terms of utility.

    Personally, I think the X would make a great car if it had normal (maybe rear-hinged) doors, folding middle row seats and a roof rack option. Despite the price, I could see that sell really well in Europe, especially Northern Europe.
    But like this? Not enough utility for a (sporty) utility vehicle. Any Volvo estate/wagon has more and better-usable luggage space, roof rack options and folding rear seats.
    For a car that carries “utility” in its category name, the X is lacking especially in that utility aspect.
    That is often the case with cars focused on carrying people, rather than stuff…

    1. tom911 says:

      Well said!

  7. Fred says:

    Wonder if they could do a version of the model X with regular doors for the 2nd row.

    They also need a manual option for the front doors. That should be an easier fix I would think.

  8. Trollnonymous says:

    “Version 1 will be relatively simple”

    lol, yeah, we’ll see about that…….

    1. TomArt says:

      Yeah, it’s not likely, given this “super” cool reveal part II.

      1. Terawatt says:

        It will still lack the flying features, which will be delivered as over-the-air updates. After that Tesla will switch to providing in-the-air updates.

  9. scott franco (No M3 FAUX GRILL!) says:

    There was nothing wrong with loading up the X with gimcracks (definition, useless by neat stuff). What matters is fixing it up so the car is best in class, and retofitting existing cars.

    The model X has 0 appeal for me as a Model 3 buyer. However, it can make me uncomfortable if Tesla can’t fix it and make previous owners happy. That’s what I am buying.

    1. TomArt says:

      At least with the S, and so far with the X, Tesla has done that. Given the simplicity of implementing most fixes (OTA updates), there is no reason, at the moment, to expect any less for us M3 buyers.

  10. Phil Trubey says:

    Still isn’t working right. Just got my X back from the shop, first thing I did was to close a falcon wing door as I pressed the brake to turn on the car. The door closed, but the car didn’t think it did, so I had to open and close the door again.

    Tesla has completely screwed up a very basic function of a car, opening and closing doors. STUPID.

  11. TomArt says:

    Uh…WHY deliver a vehicle that you knew didn’t work?!?

    I’m not impressed. It does not appear that the hubris is limited to packing the car with features…it’s also expecting a staggering amount of patience on their customers, and risking a negative image to future buyers. That will not fly with many Model 3 buyers.

    1. Driverguy01 says:

      Because it’s a public company with investors to satisfy. the wrath Tesla would have suffered from investors would have been X times what a few early adopters endured. I understand that and i also expect a few problems from early Model 3s but once perfected, their cars are/will be above average. For a start-up, Tesla has done an amazing job so far, and early buyers expecting perfect cars were living in a disney world. I bought my Volt 4 years ago sight unseen from a 100 year old company and guess what, i had some hubris and i expected them. I was not pissed off, i was prepared.
      Expect a few flaws from the first Model 3s. That’s a given. but Tesla, unlike any other 100 year old manufacturer, takes problems seriously and fixes them. it might take to long for some but, Hey, ignition switch, anyone?

      1. Terawatt says:

        Are/will be above average? In what respect??

        I take much comfort from the fact that their customers are very happy. That must mean something.

        But as far as quality goes, the Model S made the “worst of the worst” list and the Model X looks like it could easily be alone in its own category, “worse, much worse, than the worst of the worst”.

        Tesla has done a lot of awesome incredible things and it is possible they will conquer manufacturing some day. But making any claims that could be interpreted as Tesla being quality cars today, or that there’s any solid reason to think (as opposed to hope) they will soon be, is plainly delusional.

        1. Paul Smith says:

          At least you kept your over stating of the facts to a ridiculous level and didn’t go to ludicrous.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:


          “But as far as quality goes, the Model S made the ‘worst of the worst’ list…”

          You know, Terawatt, if you keep copying FUD from Tesla bashing posts, you’re gonna get lumped in with the serial Tesla bashers. Is that really what you want?

          I guess you’re talking about Consumer Reports’ “reliability” survey. Yes, Tesla did score pretty low there. But:

          1. That was only a reliability score, not an overall score for the car considered as a whole. Don’t you think customer satisfaction is at least as important? There, Tesla scored higher than any other auto maker.

          2. Consumer Reports doesn’t rate very many of the more expensive “premium” cars like the Model S. A fair comparison would be to compare the Model S to other premium cars… not the average car, which is much more simply made and doesn’t have as many things which can go wrong.

          If Consumer Reports’ reliability comparisons were submitted to a scientific journal, they’d be dismissed as junk science. Basically, CR is doing an apples-to-oranges comparison and pretending that somehow it’s meaningful.

  12. jmac says:

    I think it’s safe to say that prior to the Model X introduction, demand for gull wing doors was essentially zero. Aside from the fact that no one really wanted these things, it now appears that what nobody really wanted, doesn’t really work. And if the doors don’t work right now, just imagine what they’ll be like in 5 years when they’re half way worn out.

    The Falcon Wing doors could end up being Musk’s Edsel. Granted, many people actually do like the doors. I do not. It’s a matter of taste, I suppose. So, let’s just say that my taste runs opposite to Musk’s in this particular case.

    For the sake of Tesla and electric vehicles in general, I hope the Model X sells well. It’s going to be interesting to see how sales compare to the Model S.

    1. Terawatt says:

      It wasn’t exactly zero, but exactly one. The problem is the one guy who wanted it was Elon.

    2. Josh Bryant says:

      One part people forget on the reason for the FW doors was aerodynamics. In order to have rear vehicle access that rivaled a minivan on a sloping “sporty SUV”, was to go with these crazy doors.

      If Tesla couldn’t hit great Cd, the range would have made the vehicle a non-starter.

      The viable question is, “If Tesla know the demand for Model S would grow to its current level, would they have even introduced/promised Model X?”

      1. SparkEV says:

        Couldn’t they have just one large conventional door that swing out? Or how about 6 swing out doors with 2 in the rear as “suicide doors”? There are other ways to mitigate, yet they chose one of the most difficult (expensive) way.

        Even their front door is overly complex. I’m sure you’ve seen video of possessed door that swings by itself.

      2. Speculawyer says:

        It is not clear why it would be impossible to do minivan style sliding doors on the Model X with its sloping roof.

        It might be more difficult but impossible?

        1. Tech01x says:

          The door itself is a bit too big for “normal” doors. As for sliding doors, take a good look at the roof line and try to figure out where you can stick the rail(s) for a sliding door. It can’t be along the base, that’s where the battery pack sites. It can’t be mid length, and it can’t be at the top. Sliding doors wouldn’t work.

          Access to the 3rd row for most 7 seat SUVs is a pain… I have a Mercedes GL and it’s one of the better ones and it still sucks. Try out the Audi Q7, the BMW X5 7 seater, and so forth. They all kinda suck. As for minivans, again, sliding doors wouldn’t work. The doors are pretty big for kids to open and close in the rear.

          1. Josh Bryant says:


            (Sorry didn’t see you already answered this one, I echoed these statements below)

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Josh Bryant said:

        “One part people forget on the reason for the FW doors was aerodynamics. In order to have rear vehicle access that rivaled a minivan on a sloping ‘sporty SUV’, was to go with these crazy doors.

        Hmmm, I don’t think so. The sliding doors on our Town & Country minivan popped out before they slid back. Seems to me that would work just as well with the Model X sloping roofline.

        I still think Tesla would be smart to offer a variant on the Model X that uses minivan-style sliding doors. Yeah, they would have to redesign the car, with all the time and expense that would entail. But they should bite the bullet and do that, as a hedge in case long-term functionality of the falcon-wing doors turns out to be so problematic that it gives the car a bad image.

        I really think Tesla would do better by offering the option of different rear doors on the Model X. (And yeah, it would no longer be the “Model X”. Call it the Xa, X1, X2, or whatever.)

        1. Josh Bryant says:

          You can’t insert a linear track on the side of the Model X body. The roofline slopes down in the back and at the same time the upper rear gets narrower as you get to the rear. It simply isn’t possible to do the sliding door.

          That is the reason every minivan looks slab sided.

          Normal doors would have been an option, but that would have been changing the “Musk requirements” for the vehicle.

  13. Richard C says:

    I know it’s a subjective thing, but I have never liked the falcon doors, nor understood Tesla’s preoccupation with door technology.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Oh come on! Who doesn’t like the Delorean from Back to the Future?!?!?

  14. ModernMarvelFan says:

    So, if it doesn’t work, then redesign it and make it work…

    Keep shipping products to customer “hoping” your fix worked is irresponsible especially when you charge them $140K for it.

    I hope Model 3 won’t repeat the mistake. So far, the interior dash looks to be “overly simple” in my opinion.

    1. Terawatt says:

      We can’t have it both ways. Spinning a story and keeping the stock hot-air balloon flying high was obviously instrumental in raising the full 1.7 billion by issuing new shares.

      So lying about Model X and delivering some crappy cars was the preferred option rather than have to delay M3 or raise hundreds of millions of dollars less capital.

      I personally don’t even mind – provided they take responsibility after the fact making sure the affected customers are amply compensated. That way, everyone wins. Except maybe Wall Street, and quite frankly – boo hoo!!

  15. Speculawyer says:

    The best thing I can say about the Falcon-Wing doors situation is that at least Tesla has admitted the mistake, is trying hard to correct it, and hopefully won’t do it again.

    They might be able to get them to work a little better but they still are too complex, too expensive, too slow, too likely to cause ongoing maintenance issues as entropy sets in, etc.

    A sliding door like on Minivans probably would have been a better choice but not as sexy.

    1. Josh Bryant says:

      See my comment above, not possible with the Cd requirements for range.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        FW doors are certainly not required for the Model X’s streamlining. Either perfectly normal doors or sliding minivan-style doors would have worked equally well for that body shape, and would be far less problematic.

        1. Josh Bryant says:

          Sliding doors do not worked with the sloped roof.

          Normal doors are fine, but that would be taking away the design requirement of minivan like ease of access.

  16. Terawatt says:

    Well this is a lovely thought. The company who wants to write the software to drive my car explains that making the software to pen the doors is just too damn hard.

    Omg. Really.

    1. Anon says:

      OMG, you didn’t grasp any of the nuances from the explanation, either. Not surprised.

    2. Driverguy01 says:

      Terawatt, really really hope you do not raise/have raised children like the way you talk. It seems nobody is allowed to make a mistake in your world. And god forbid, anybody who dares try something new or out of the box, if it’s not perfect the first time, it should not have been attempted. Trial and error is pretty normal for any new stuff. Whatever the price of the new toy, if i’m first in line to get it, it may not be 100% perfect. your constant whining is old.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I think I should quit hesitating about putting you on the short list of serial Tesla bashers, Terawatt. Your posts in this comment thread certainly do show a marked or even extreme anti-Tesla bias.

      Frankly, it would be better if the problem with the FW doors was entirely software, rather than (apparently, from what Elon has said) a combination of hardware and software problems. If it was all a software problem, then it could be fixed with OTA updates.

      As it is, it appears that all current Model X’s will have to be retrofitted with better door sensors, once Tesla has figured out how to make them.

  17. ffbj says:

    Americans love a contrite genius. Of course they also love a red-faced belligerent blowhard.

    1. Anon says:

      You’re talking like there is only one set of people who fit that label. In reality, you’re talking about two distinct groups of people who share the same nationality, but not much else.

      1. Four Electrics says:

        Elon Musk is both of these.

        1. ffbj says:

          Haha! Good one.

      2. ffbj says:

        True. I should have qualified it more succinctly. While most Americans love a contrite genius, some Americans love a
        red-faced blowhard.

        They are not entirely two distinct groups, but mostly they are.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          The red-faced — or actually, orange-faced — loud-mouthed blowhard whom I assume you’re referring to, certainly isn’t in the “genius” category.

          Comparing Elon Musk to that narcissistic, deluded hate-monger is like comparing Albert Einstein to a striped-ass baboon. (And my apologies to the baboons for comparing them to the blowhard.)

  18. Ian says:

    Proof Elon Musk isn’t a time traveller..the doors would have been perfect the first time…

    1. Anon says:

      He assumed they would be, eventually… 😉

    2. sven says:

      Like the Model X, Elon’s time machine has been repeatedly delayed. Elon’s still working out the kinks with the falcon winged doors that he put on his time machine. All the naysayers said it wasn’t practical to put falcon winged doors on a hot tub, but I believe Elon will prove them wrong, eventually. 😉

  19. Jacked Beanstalk says:

    “I think we’re almost there in making the doors useful.”

    Imagine dropping $150K on a car to find that the doors are defective. Not defective as in, “oh, the dealer will take care of that,” but defective due to a flawed design.

    Meanwhile, your neighbor drives a cheap Chevy and his doors work perfectly. He doesn’t even have to wait for them to open to get into his car. Muscle memory opens and closes the door without a thought.

    At least we can be thankful that Tesla don’t offer a line of bathroom door knobs, because if they did then people would be crapping their pants while they waited for the automatic door to open. Or maybe the door would just swing open and take out one of their kiddies.

    1. goodbyegascar says:

      That was a pretty stupid comment.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Haven’t you noticed? “Jacked Beanstalk” is a true troll. Not merely a short-seller who writes Tesla bashing posts out of greed; attempting to manipulate stock buying and selling is at least a rational reason.

        Nope, “Jacked” is here just to disrupt meaningful conversation and upset people, for no other reason than he thinks it’s “fun”. The sort of person who could improve the world by removing himself from it.

        Here’s hoping he gets banned very soon.

  20. zzzzzzzzzz says:

    Gull wing doors is old thing really. Automakers had varying success with them, but e.g. DeLorean had made the work more or less properly decades ago. So there is no reason it can’t be made to work now in 2016. Assuming basic engineering was done right and they can keep their shape physically – some suggest that it is not the case with X. Sure their software is not AI and will keep bumping into things around or doing other stupid things sometimes, but it can be improved. Overall it is a great whee-zee feature that should attract their target market – “Chelsea Tractor” buyers looking for greenwash tag to justify the waste of resources when trashing the environment. Who cares about long trip utility and offroad SUVs really.

  21. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    The article says:

    “As Musk previously stated, Versions 2 and 3 of the Model 3 will incorporate some ‘cool things,’ but Version 1 will be relatively simple.”

    Let’s see, the Model ≡ will have an HUD in place of a normal instrument panel, an all glass roof, and to quote Elon: “Wait until you see the real steering controls and system for the 3. It feels like a spaceship.”

    Yeah, that’s obviously a very simple-to-make car.

    Oh, wait…

    Seriously, it looks to me like Elon still hasn’t actually learned the lesson he should have learned back in Tesla’s early days, when he kept tearing up the design for the Roadster after it had supposedly been settled. Elon repeatedly sent the car back to the drawing board instead of moving forward with getting it into production, repeatedly insisting on fundamental changes such as lowering the door sills. As a result, Tesla had to announce delays of putting the Roadster into production no less than three times.

    I don’t see that the situation has improved in any of Tesla’s models since. If the Model ≡ actually does go into production in mid-2017, I will consider that to be a case of divine intervention. 😉

    Now, that’s not to say that Tesla should dump Elon and get someone else to run the company. For all his faults, Elon has been willing to put his money where his mouth is, and perhaps his OCD perfectionism is at least in part responsible for Tesla’s cars receiving rave reviews unlike any other auto maker in history.

    But there’s no question that Elon’s insistence on difficult-to-execute designs has significantly delayed the production of all three of Tesla’s car models to date. The recent acknowledgement of a two week delay in the deadline for finalizing the Model ≡ design sounds like same ol’ same ol’ to me… altho perhaps not to such a great degree. Both the Model S and the Model X were about two years late getting into production (depending on when you start counting). Let’s hope Model ≡ production starts much, much closer to the projected date.

  22. Joeski1 says:

    Wait at least 4 model years before buying or leasing any Tesla.. if you’re smart.. I’m quite pleased so far with my 2016 MS 90D.. mist of the bugs and glitches seem to be repaired. .but for a luxury vehicle, it certainly lacks some standard features available at lower price points in many other brands.. I do not like the non adjusting seat belt pillar pivots..missing exit / entry assist handles.. lack of door pockets for storage.. undersized sun visors with unlit mirrors.. non adjustable head rests.. tha adaptive cruise control is horrible.. don’t like it.. want my Acura cruise control.. also the AP has a bunch of operating quirks .. no more useful than any standard cruise control in my opinion. .I hardly use it now after a couple of harrowing moments of AP indecision. . Keep putting the polish on it Elon… the swirls may come out eventually. . Sign me “not an X fan @ all” definitely not impressed.. too much money for too many ??? marks on on reliability and performance. ..

    1. Brian Rose says:


      You do not own a “2016 MS 90D”.

      Tesla’s Auto-pilot has dozens of reviews from professionals and hundreds of reviews from owners.

      No more useful than standard cruise control?

      You’re literally the only person who has ever used Tesla’s auto-pilot to say that.

      I’ll play coy, pretend you spent $100,000 on a vehicle you clearly hate, from a company you clearly have no faith in, and ask… why didn’t you at least take a test drive of a Model S before purchasing?

      A simple test drive would have revealed to you everything you pointed out, and would have saved you over $100,000.

      You were ALREADY skeptical about the Model S’ quality from every possible angle… yet you said “I have tremendous skepticism and concerns about this company, this vehicle, and its founder and CEO, but, screw it, I’ll skip the free test drive and just throw $100,000 at something I am already pretty sure I don’t like in the first place”.