Tesla Looked To Women When Designing The Model X

SEP 18 2015 BY JAY COLE 21

First Tesla Model X To Be More Women-Friendly In Hopes To Boost Sales

First Tesla Model X To Be More Women-Friendly In Hopes To Boost Sales

When it comes to women buying the Model S, only about 1 in 5 sales of the premium luxury EV come via the fairer sex.  Compare that to the overall industry average of 2 in 5 passenger cars being purchased by women, and there was/is an issue of some sort.

Tesla Model X P90D Range Estimate Now At 250 Miles

Tesla Model X P90D Range Estimate Now At 250 Miles

To rectify this, Tesla has said from the outset that the upcoming Model X (first deliveries on September 29th) will be made with specific accommodations the company thinks will appeal to women in order to boost that number.

According to IHS, in a report filed by Bloomberg, when it comes to buying utility vehicles, women hold a slight lead over the men.

IHS states that 53% of all small utility vehicles are purchased by women, while the decision to buy larger premium SUVs are made 48% of the time by women.

For this reason, Tesla can’t have a repeat of the fact that 50% less women buy the Model S over other cars when it comes to the Model X, especially if they want to hit ambitious sales projections.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk in the past has commented on the splits:

“With the S, we might be something like two-thirds male,” Musk said in an interview with Bloomberg at the start of the year. “With the X, I think we probably will be slightly majority female.”

Bloomberg goes on to describe that Tesla early in the design process selected a panel of 12 women (assumedly SUV and minivan owners) to sit with chief designer Franz von Holzhausen to describe what they found attractive in their current rides, and what they would improve.

The Falcon Wing Door Certainly Grants An Unprecedented Amount Of Access To The Back Of The Model X For Passengers

The Falcon Wing Door Certainly Grants An Unprecedented Amount Of Access To The Back Of The Model X For Passengers

Tesla Model X Production Interior (w/visible panoramic roofline) - click to enlarge

Tesla Model X Production Interior (w/visible panoramic roofline) – click to enlarge

Top of the list (amongst others):

*-third row seating
*-getting kids in and out of their car seats easily

By looking at recent photos of the Model X, one can certainly see that easy access is achieved via the falcon wing door access, and the second/third row seating is certainly best in class worthy.  But we will still have to wait and see how the Model X (and its unique entry system) tests out for safety.

Quirky sidenote:  Bloomberg also ran down Franz von Holzhausen’s mother, who apparently reserved a Model X in 2012, and got a quote from her as well (we wonder if she calls him each week asking where her SUV is?):

“My husband and I have a Model S, and I love the way it drives,” said von Holzhausen, who has seven grandchildren. “But I like to sit up a little higher. I can’t wait to get it.”

Bloomberg, Hat tip to sven!


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21 Comments on "Tesla Looked To Women When Designing The Model X"

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So Is that why the X looks like an egg?

Nerds take your silly comment seriously. Eerily enough, being shaped like an egg is an advantage. Don’t forget, an egg contains a lot of cargo, yet gets squeezed out of a tiny hole. You need to have the best shape for that… with the least rough edges sticking out. Since (as you put it) the Model X is shaped like an egg… it has eggcellent aerodynamics, resulting in the 250 miles range, and yet eggcellent cargo capacity.

Agree with the aero, the problem is it looks bad.

Why? I like eggs. They look pretty.
OTOH i don’t like spheres. They are boring.

Physics. Bigger/taller vehicles need the aerodynamics of a Kammback style to get good efficiency.

Perhaps the Model X subconsciously reminds women of their favorite brand of pantyhose from yesteryear, L’eggs.


I hope from now on Tesla will move their charging plugs to the front grill of the car.

That way, now tesla drivers will have more incentive to drive forwards into parking space, meaning they have to back out – the most dangerous variation of parking space manouvers.

Yeah, the target buyer of a Model X is a “soccer mom”. Tesla (or Elon Musk) has stated that one advantage of the falcon wing doors is that it allows very easy access to the 2nd row seats, where child safety seats are installed. Easy access even in the restricted space between cars parked in a shopping mall parking lot.

Of course, you can say the same about sliding minivan doors, which are a proven and less complex technology. It remains to be seen whether the unproven tech of falcon wing doors will be a plus for Model X sales, or a minus.

Sliding doors help for narrow parking spots, but not for interior access – you still have to duck under the roof. The Falcon doors provide both efficient use of space and easy access.

You still have to duck under the center roof beam when the child is in the middle seat. I could see a mom/dad easily bonking their heads on the center beam between the falcon-wing doors when putting a child into or taking them out of the middle seat.

far fetched to say the least.

Ceiling height is an issue in most cars, esp. if you have a baby/child seat you’re using in the middle seat, which is what most authorities recommend.

I suspect it’s a major reason many people with families buy SUVs in the first place, rather than station wagons with the same amount of space.

The mini-MPV car class, which has high rooflines solves that, without requiring a large vehicle, but is essentially non-existent in the US (except the Honda Fit); I think a good solution would be to have the electric suspension raise the car significantly for entry / egress, then lower it again when starting to drive. I understand the S already allows for user-controllable ride height, including when stopped.

Incidentally, camels have been trained to do this automatically for thousands of years.

Sliding doors work very well in minivans (where they were adopted after decades of being used in fullsize cargo vans and taxi minibuses), because the vehicle is long enough so it extend at least as far back from the sliding door’s rear edge as the door width.
I don’t have numbers handy, but don’t think it holds for most SUVs, including the X.

I think the demographics for the Model S can be directly explained by cultural factors: in the US, with all else being equal, women are earning about 70 cents where men earn $1. And, cars are typically considered a male pastime, and since Tesla does not advertise, few women probably know about them. Taking the facts that women have lower earning power and are less likely to know about the Model S, and I can easily believe that 1 out of 5 Model S buyers are women, compared to 2 out of 5 for passenger cars in general.

In other words, I think that the discrepancy has little or nothing to do with the styling of the Model S. Additionally, from my own experience, everybody I personally know (male or female) really likes the styling of the Model S.

+1 I also beleive it would closely relate to the proportion of women earning over 100K a year in proportion to men with such earnings.

And even then, my wife and I are almost in that group, and buying a Tesla remains a financial fantasy… even though she loves my Volt, and is quite impressed by the Tesla.

So, it will be chick car… LOL

Model S is the perfect vehicle, it has too much space.

If I was a woman there’s no way i’d choose an X over the S.

Sleek and sexy, not tall and egg shaped.

It looks like Tesla added storage space in the front doors. The Model S was missing storage spaces in the doors.
You can also close the floor storage area between the driver and passenger seats, which is a nice improvement in my opinion : you can actually leave stuff here now.

I cannot see if they added any storage areas in the rear. With the Falcon wing door they’d probably not want to use them as storage space. It looks like there is some room under the seats.

I wonder if the model name was intended to reflect the sex chromosome of the target market for the car?