Ten nagging Model X mysteries

Tesla Model X TeslaMondo1. Why do the falcon doors look slightly ajar in most photos?
2. Why is the nose still veiled while everything else is exposed? What’s behind that veil?
3. How does the windshield manage to seamlessly become the roof? A mere illusion, or a real Tesla feat?
4. The pop-up rear wing. Why? Besides Q factor.
5. The second-row seats that vexed Elon for so long. What super powers do they have?
6. Roof rack. Possible?
7. Side cameras instead of mirrors. Will the NHTSA ever emerge from its coma and rule on this?
8. How will the falcon doors open with snow/ice on the roof, and without dumping that snow/ice onto second-row passengers?
9. When the inevitable YouTube drag races begin, what crossover or SUV will pose even a slight challenge?
10. The myriad sensors for the falcon doors, (they monitor five zones). Where are they located?

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Wanna capitalize on lithium?

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 3.18.31 PM

Warren Buffett is too ugly for this pretty post.

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 10.46.52 AMThis article teases investors with the notion of capitalizing on a lithium boom driven by Musk (Tesla) and Buffett (BYD) — but fails to deliver a single Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 10.43.58 AMstock pick. So apparently there is no way to invest in lithium.

Speaking of lithium, do you think we’re headed for a supply shortage? Nope. Skip to 38:05 and you’ll hear Tesla CTO JB Straubel assuage any concerns about raw material shortage, including lithium. The passing of Kurt Cobain apparently freed up copious stockpiles years ago.

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The final frontier for auto-steer

Tesla's

Faded lane markings on gray asphalt and solar glare. This is the final puzzle for Tesla’s auto-steer system, says Elon today. Unless Tesla can solve this problem, you might have to pull a Luke Skywalker. You know — shut off the instrumentation and just use the Force.

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Ah, the secret weapon

Remember? Musk said in February that he has a secret weapon (skip to 55:52) to boost demand AND screw around with the dealer lobby, and he said he might deploy it later in 2015, though it wasn’t totally necessary. TeslaMondo figured the company’s new pop-up mobile stores comprised the secret weapon. Well, the new referral program — through which Model S owners get $1,000 in “store credit” for referring a customer through an authorized link, and the new customer also gets $1,000 off the selling price — seems to fit the description just as well.

This experimental program probably serves three functions:

1. A preemptive move to ensure continued Model S demand under the shadow of mighty Model X. Seriously, what if that thing is too good? Note that the grand prize in this referral program is a Model X, not a Model S. Insert dragnet theme here.
2. And, as Musk is telling the press, amplifying word of mouth in lieu of expensive storefronts and the associated legal agita.
3. Bonus: It gives Tesla shorts something to squawk about. Could this be the first crack in the dam? Oh goody!

Well, one thing is for sure: Surveys suggest Tesla owners like to proselytize*. When a survey arrives, they don’t ignore it. Surely they radiate enthusiasm with friends/family/coworkers too. Now they can get paid for their enthusiasm.

*Strategic vision (second year at top of charts)
*Consumer Reports sales survey (second year at top of charts)
*Consumer Reports service satisfaction survey

Tesla referral program TeslaMondo

Nefarious scenario 1: A fleet order becomes a massive “referral” for the company head.

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Sweet

Gigafactory Teslamondo

Exclusive spy images suggest the first of several segments nears completion.

China — Keepin’ it real

Youxia X TeslaMondoThe more EVs, the merrier. TeslaMondo wants to see Tesla become the leader of a big segment instead of a small one. And Tesla needs Chinese entries to lubricate Tesla’s penetrative efforts there — all the more so with this Chinese stock market quake. Will the wealthy still part with the necessary $$ for a newfangled electric car, despite stock market jitters? Probably. Bonus: If you order one of these unpronounceable Chinese knockoffs, powered by Panasonic cells etc. etc., you’ll get to meet the real Daisy Duke (yep, that’s her in the image).

Chandler, AZ — keep your eyes open

Dirty Model X TeslaMondoLatest vid shows a Model X caked in dried clay, heading north on S. Price Rd near Continuum St. in Chandler, AZ. What makes TeslaMondo so sure about the exact location? Just bank on it.

This location happens to be just 10 minutes away from Wild Horse Motorsports Park, formerly Firebird International Raceway. The facility does indeed have an off-road track. And you can easily see the track from I-10, a major highway. So to anyone in the area: keep your eyes on that track.

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Model X sports motorized spoiler

Model X rear spoiler TeslaMondoBusiness Insider made a big deal about those sensors yesterday — even drew red rings around them — but somehow failed to notice the motorized rear wing, or at least didn’t mention it. D’oh!

TeslaMondo has read half-baked theories about this mysterious spoiler, based on unconvincing Loch Ness Monster-quality imagery. But this photo leaves no doubt. That’s Nessie’s head for sure.

That wing must deploy at a certain speed, to help with aerodynamics. Either that or it exposes little nozzles that shoot black ink at pursuers.

This blacked-out, silent, all wheel drive stealth vehicle packed with gadgetry evokes memories of the Subaru Leone in the movie Cannonball Run. Maybe Tesla will name the black Model X color “cannonball” in homage?

Subaru Cannonball Run TeslaMondo

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Tesla’s “fundamental physics problem”

Willy Nelson TeslaMondo

Wet Willy. Yuck. But at least he’s not Full Nelson.

That’s the latest wet willy in this ongoing wet willy war between the battery crowd and the fuel cell, um, crowd. Toyota says Tesla and its BEV powertrain are rubbing the ceiling of real-world potential, due to the elemental limits of batteries and their charging requirements. Fuel cell vehicles, meanwhile, have more room to improve, while becoming a lot cheaper too, Toyota says.

There’s no need for one to eclipse the other. The world’s automotive fleet has room for more than one solution. Perhaps fuel cell vehicles, a.k.a. Rube Goldberg Transport, will indeed become the world’s powertrain of choice, eventually. Very eventually. But we’ll be too old to drive anyway, and we’ll be quite wealthy thanks to our timely investment in Tesla, which doesn’t have to win this wet willy war in order to prosper. The world needs battery technology, for cars and otherwise, and Tesla owns it.

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About that doubling of Gig property

Gigafactory One TeslaMondo

A slide from the Tesla Energy debut.

Musk, during May conference call: “We’re actually trying to figure out if we can go from our current production target of thirty-five gigawatt hours at the cell level and fifty at the pack level in our Nevada plant to maybe fifty percent more than that or even higher. Because, just the sheer volume of demand here is just staggering.” Soon after that conference call, Tesla bought more land at the Gig site. The media caught wind of that acquisition only recently, but it’s actually old news.

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