Production of the Tesla Model X has been hampered by what the company claims is “hubris” and cramming “far too much new technology” into a new vehicle.
Despite the hype and apparent enthusiasm of Tesla loyalists, there aren’t many Model X crossovers on the road today.
In the last four months of 2015 just 208 Model X crossovers were delivered to customers. In the first quarter of 2016, deliveries increased to 2400.
As part of the company’s latest quarterly update to investors and regulators, Tesla said that shipments of the Model X during the first quarter were “impacted by severe Model X supplier parts shortages in January and February that lasted much longer than initially expected”.
By the final week of March, Tesla says that it had upped Model X production to around 750 vehicles a week.
According to Tesla: “The root causes of the parts shortages were: Tesla’s hubris in adding far too much new technology to the Model X in version 1, insufficient supplier capability validation, and Tesla not having broad enough internal capability to manufacture the parts in-house.”
The Model X was launched with much fanfare in late September 2015, but not long afterwards reports and rumours began to leak out about production problems.
With the drivetrain shared with top-end Model S sedans, many of the issues apparently centred around the car’s complex falcon wing doors. As we experienced at the Model X’s launch, the falcon wing doors allow for much easier ingress and egress from the middle and rear seats, with significantly less stooping required than with traditional sliding or flip-out doors.
The falcon wing doors are hinged in the centre of the roof, and feature ultrasonic sensors and multiple articulation points, allowing them to lift up and out in tight situations. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk claims that they can open with just 30cm of leeway.
Tesla noted that despite the teething problems with Model X production, the electric car maker “remains on track to deliver 80,000 to 90,000 new vehicles in 2016”.