I spy: the X has no eyes

Model X headlights TeslaMondo

Eye treatment does make a difference.

They’re the windows to the soul, right? They say so much, without words. Yet we haven’t seen the Model X’s eyes. Tesla is STILL obscuring them while exposing everything else. The test vehicles aren’t mummified anymore — except for the lights. Even the online configurator offers butt-only views. This means Tesla plans to surprise us. Ok, so what could be so amazing about the headlights that they deserve to jump out of the birthday cake as a grand finale?

LEDs? Big deal. Even the 2015 Corolla has them. Tesla must transcend the norm here.

TeslaMondo wonders if there’s an “X” signature in those pupils somewhere, so everyone will know a Model X from a good distance, just by its “X” vision. A cheesy gimmick? Not if the “X” is subtle and appears inadvertent, unlike Jeep’s approach with the new Renegade’s taillights.

Don’t take this “X” theory to the bank or anything. The check might bounce.

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Still wonder why Model X exists?

It should be very clear by now:

  • It brings home the bacon, as we’ve seen with today’s “sticker shock” schlock in the press.
  • Some people need to seat more than five adults on a regular basis, or at least think they do.
  • It shows Tesla is here to stay. Two-hit wonders tend to hang around.
  • It’s an engineering tour de force, and that’s a lot of freakin’ force in this case. We know just the tip of the iceberg, and it’s already scary. Those wild doors. That nutty-assed windshield. Those mysterious seats. The X will stun the world more than the S did, and that’s not easy.
  • The world has some athletic sedans, but very few athletic SUVs. The Model X’s performance credentials — unfair instant torque, unfairly low COG — will really shine among its classmates in the SUV class. Tesla’s margin of victory is about to get much fatter.
  • It makes everyone want a Tesla, just in time for Model III pre-orders early next year. You’ll want a Tesla badly enough to put down a few grand and wait in line for a couple of years.

Imagine — waiting all that time for a dream car that has no engine or exhaust note. Fair to say Tesla is altering the automotive landscape just a bit? From this point on, electric vehicles that seek equality with gas vehicles lack ambition. That’s a twist on an old Timothy Leary quote about feminists using men as some sort of benchmark. Puh-leeease. Aim higher or stay home.

Source: Beijing to waive plate lottery

But still no gov’t subsidy in sight, so BYD et al still have an advantage there.

Beijing license plate lottery TeslaMondo

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India’s PM might visit Tesla HQ

Green rickshaw Teslamondo

Born to be negligibly wild.

India, turning green, is potential gold.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will probably visit Tesla HQ this month, says the Times of India. Why does this matter? Because Tesla’s pornographically-named car is likely headed for India, says CIO Jay Vijayan.

Both China and India are fixer-uppers for sure, India arguably worse, but they’re both potential home runs for Tesla. Here’s a TeslaMondo comparison:

China: Big automotive market, plenty of wealthy customers, smoggy air, emerging government policies on cleaning it, and a willingness to prop EVs with specific rule-making. But it ain’t playing fair with US companies, says Tesla.
India: Big automotive market, plenty of wealthy customers, smoggy air, lots of government “green” rhetoric that so far hasn’t grown teeth, and a problematic 100 percent import duty.

Tesla plans to chat with Indian officials about that duty. An Indian assembly plant might be the ticket. “We have identified India is one of the potential markets in Asia to have a local assembly plant, but we need a definite policy from the government to support electric vehicles in the future,” Vijayan told the Economic Times.

Neither China nor India has solid EV infrastructure, but India arguably lacks ANY infrastructure. TeslaMondo has already written about India’s extreme challenge in civil engineering — specifically, finding civil engineers in the first place. India’s young and educated aren’t keen on gritty careers in roads, bridges, electrical delivery etc. Understandably, they’re keen on a clean work environment and good pay. That means computer-based careers, and likely outside of India.

The worst electrical blackout in world history? Three years ago, in India. “Hello, Tesla Energy . . . ?”

Teslamondo Indian intersectionIndia does have fledgling environmentalism. It comes from the lower classes and trickles upwards — generally the opposite of American environmentalism. In the US, it’s vogue to be “green.” It’s not vogue in India. It’s a matter of survival. The Indian agricultural sector is fighting to keep industry off its turf. Long story short: India is slowly coming around.

Another intriguing tidbit in India: Locally-based Mahindra and Mahindra makes electric vehicles, and has nibbled at Tesla’s patents. Perhaps Mahindra and Tesla will team up to build a duty-free Model III. It even rhymes, at least in English.

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Model X windshield/roof is quite “singular”

Model X ful frontal nudity TeslaMondo

Model X color-matched windshield tint

Color-matched tinting?

Model X configurator interior TeslaMondo

The falcon doors disallow a traditional sliding moonroof by hogging the space over the second-row seats, where a moonroof would normally slide. So in lieu of moonroof, it seems Tesla will employ a mega-windshield extending up over the driver’s head. No wonder earlier mules had this roof transition carefully masked in white paper. All part of the strip tease.

This should make the X slip through the air like a blob of mercury flung across a freshly-waxed linoleum floor.

Will it have smart glass, which dims on demand, as seen in the SpaceX tour below? Other high-end marques — Lincoln, Mercedes, Cadillac — use it for some of their moonroofs. Imagine Model X with a precision dimmer control via the touch screen. Neat-O.

Elons_Tour_of_SpaceX_HD-3

And notice something missing from EVERY MODEL X thus far? No windshield wipers, front or rear. Of course, those could be:

  1. Well-hidden.
  2. Simply not attached yet.

Regarding the “mouth,” Tesla seems to have solved a design problem for electric vehicles, which goes like this: “We don’t need any front air intake, yet current auto design dictates an ever-more agape mouth.” Tesla solved the problem tastefully, as with the Model S, by using yer basic fakery.

So now that we see the Model X essentially nude, TeslaMondo sees admirable adherence to the concept Model X, and a reassuring family resemblance to the Model S. Tesla now has a design language. A “look.” And it works.

Model X concept TeslaMondo

See? No place for a moonroof to retract, so the windshield does double-duty. How will the X remain crashworthy? Yet another X mystery.

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Only the beginning . . .

Tesla Gigafactory satellite shot 8-31-15

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Consumer Reports should tone it down

Screen Shot 2015-08-29 at 8.25.08 PM

“Sport? Nope. Insane! YEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!”

Cold, sterile praise — the usual Consumer Reports modus for a superior product — would have lauded Tesla just fine with no backlash. But CR instead humped the P85D, became a sweaty, grunting Howard Dean, and spilled its seed.

Tisk tisk. No matter how awesome the car, CR, you must keep your poker face on. Passion in the wrong measure means either you’ve gone off the deep end, or you’re trying to sell something.

The WSJ is going with the latter theory. It accuses CR of colluding with Tesla in a larger agenda to boost EVs. And lesser publications are microwaving the WSJ piece and serving it again.

This is not CR’s finest hour. By overdoing the praise for the Model S, it has invited scrutiny. This won’t kill CR the way it killed Dean, but it’s a valid lesson about keeping it in your pants. The morning after can get ugly. TeslaMondo saw signs of odd giddiness on the part of CR staffers when they first tried the D. Perhaps Tesla should have called it the LSD. It seems to cause similar life-altering epiphanies.

Irony: For many years — all through the 80s and 90s — CR was constantly accused of having anti-American bias. Then again, who didn’t have an anti-American bias? Detroit was stinking up the joint.

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Tesla the Google king in China

Google says from April 2014 to March 2015, Tesla won Norway (expected) and China (unexpected). Is the trend still alive? If so, it can’t hurt. Chinese people are at least curious. That’s the first step to killing the cat, you know.

But perhaps the biggest mystery is why New Zealand has a Love Jones for Mitsubishi.

Looking forward, TeslaMondo predicts Australia will soon replace the Toyota “T” with the Tesla “T.”

Tesla most searched in China

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Broke another restraint, did ja?

Tesla in Manhattan TeslaMondoTesla has now broken:

  1. The mold for electric vehicles.
  2. The century-old franchise system.
  3. A roof strength-testing machine.
  4. A dynamometer.
  5. The NHTSA crash test scoring system.
  6. The Consumer Reports rating system.

TeslaMondo went silent for a few days this week while vacationing in Manhattan. Got an interesting pic, anyway.

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