Changing the game is not an easy task! Luckily for Tesla, whenever they've been in a vulnerable position, their loyal, cult-like followers show up to defend the brand. The one thing Tesla has always been able to count on is that the customer will take their side. But Tesla Model X problems were quickly becoming worrisome once the car was released to the public.
There have been owners suing Tesla for refunds under California's "Lemon Rule."
Lemons should not cost the price of a home in most zip codes, even if they are among the first batch coming from the factory. The faults and problems with the Model X range from everyday annoyances to potentially lethal design flaws. That’s scary, dangerous stuff.
There are many stories dealing with issues found in the pricey, all-electric SUV and a safety recall to boot. Tesla execs have laid out some of the Model X production hurdles before, like the over-complicated doors, the trickiness of the door seals, and the difficulty with the third-row seats. Even Musk said there were “a lot of things broken in our production system.” Apparently, it took a year off of his life camping out at Fremont factory solving the Model X issues along with a number of other members of the Tesla team.
With everything that has gone wrong, one might wonder if Musk and Tesla sometimes wish they’d never launched the Model X? Here are 20 glaring problems Tesla would never tell us about their SUV.
According to the German car owner's association, ADAC, Teslas must be driven more than 380,000 miles before they are more environmentally friendly than a diesel-powered car of the same size. Compared to a same-size gasoline-powered car, Tesla would have to drive 72,000 miles in order to be a healthier environmental choice.
The reasons for this are the sources for the electric power - which is usually not from 100% renewable sources - in combination with the battery production - which accounts for the largest part of an EV's CO2 emissions. Those who want to go green and make the world a better place would actually do more good by purchasing a used diesel car compared to a new Model X.
Consumer Reports ranked the Tesla Model X as one of the ten least reliable cars, calling it “more showy than practical.” After spending months reviewing the Model X and its swooping doors, the consumer’s rating site just delivered the overall Tesla brand an ugly 25th out of the 29 most reliable auto brands. That’s definitely not something that’s going to help Tesla’s reputation.
Even Tesla's Head Honcho, Elon Musk, has stated that there have definitely been some "issues" with the Model X, and the car is supposedly so advanced that he doesn't think it would've been a good idea for any manufacturer to make it.
Every time a Tesla is involved in an accident we're being told by Elon Musk, or some other Tesla official, that their investigation shows that the driver was the cause of the accident, not the autopilot or the car.
Musk has also made claims saying a Tesla is approximately four times safer than any other car on the roads today. Here's the thing; Elon Musk is either very misinformed, or he's lying. End of story! The real Tesla fatality rate is quadruple the rate of Audi and BMW, more than triple the rate of all luxury cars combined, and at least 37% higher than the average car.
Those Falcon Wing rear doors that flip up are unique, and so is the experience of living with them daily. While they actually do a good job saving themselves from overhead obstacles by limiting the opening height, getting in and out when they're just partially open is a chore.
They also feel a little flimsy, with no satisfying "clunk" when they close. The front doors also are power-operated and can open automatically when you approach the car, then close when you get in and touch the brake. As a concept, that's pretty awesome, but in the real world, they aren't fast enough as you approach... unless you practice your slow walk.
A man who owned three Teslas sued the car maker, citing a variety of problems affecting the doors and software in his Model X, and demanding the company issue a refund under California’s “Lemon Laws.” Barrett Lyon now owns just two Teslas - a Model S and an original Roadster - after the company quietly agreed to take the Model X back and settle the lawsuit.
The core of the case involved Lyon’s allegations that Tesla “rushed” the Model X into production before it was ready. He claimed the car's doors opened and closed unpredictably, and that the Model X’s Auto-Pilot feature posed a danger in the rain. He also shared a video that shows the car’s self-parking feature failing to operate successfully.
Some will argue that any squeaks and rattles you can hear in a Tesla are present in other cars as well, you just can't hear them due to engine noise and whatnot.
While that may be true, it's not the whole truth. Tesla should know their cars are so quiet that this will become an annoyance, and sort the problem out before delivering the cars. There have been examples of owners taking delivery of brand new Model X's that had squeaks and rattles, and even after multiple visits to the shop it can't seem to be sorted out. In some cases, it has become worse after servicing and even accompanied by leaks.
Elon Musk said Tesla would not provide the Model X for media reviews, as a way to “suppress demand” before production ramped up. In 20/20 hindsight, it seems avoiding scrutiny was a good idea, because complaints quickly began stacking up.
Tesla customers typically don’t mind the delays, of which there has been many. But Model X owners were starting to complain about other problems. Some complained that the enormous windshield on the Model X creates a double vision effect at night, also known as “ghosting.” The phenomenon’s been spotted in other cars, like the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Camaro, and Tesla says it’s addressing the few complaints it’s received.
In terms of pure razzle-dazzle, Tesla probably delivered more than its share when promising falcon-wing doors offering access to the second and third rows of seating. However, this aspect of the vehicle was one of the things reportedly behind the Model X’s delayed arrival, and customers have repeatedly expressed frustration over their functionality.
A Consumer Reports blog on one Model X buyer’s problems told the story of the rear doors being unable to sense an overhang before banging into it. While you do have to expect issues arising in an all-new car with so many features, the responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the automaker.
A 17-inch, beautiful center console ain’t worth much when it freezes - an especially troubling problem because the screen controls everything typically handled by a knob or a button. The issue has been troubling Model S owners for a long time already, and Tesla typically responds by helping reboot the software. In some cases, that’s meant a trip to the nearest service center.
Then a bug started showing up in the Model X’s, too. Tesla says it’s dealing with this bug as it comes up. The automaker is also issuing using over-the-air software updates to issue preventative fixes for various problems, according to a Tesla spokesperson.
The windows are known for being troublesome, at least according to a number of threads floating around the Tesla Motors Club forum. The San Francisco-based venture capitalist Byron Deeter reported his driver’s side window wouldn’t close all the way, the cherry on top of a host of Model X glitches he’s blaming on the software.
Another driver said his driver’s door window wouldn’t open until it finally pried loose an errant piece of stripping that had impeded its process, according to Consumer Reports. To Tesla’s credit, the driver says the company quickly fixed his problems, though they required trips to the company’s Fremont factory and its Santa Monica service center.
One of the biggest and most dangerous problems with the Model X is Tesla’s discovery that the third-row seats might fold forward in the event of a crash. After the seats failed a strength test in the European Union, the company promptly recalled all 2,666 SUVs it had delivered “out of an abundance of caution.” Tesla promised to replace the potentially faulty seat backs and return the repaired Model X’s to their owners.
It's unknown why this wasn't discovered earlier, but as far as we know, no one was seriously injured, or worse, due to this potentially fatal design flaw. At least by now, there should be no more cars on the roads with these seats fitted.
With all the fancy modern suspension technology out there these days, how is it even possible to make the Model X such a rough rider?
Ride quality falls way short of what people have come to expect from a big luxury SUV. The Model X doesn't isolate occupants from the road as well as many other luxury yachts, and the ride is harsher. The wheels also feel less controlled over uneven surfaces, and the tires make noticeable impact noise - something that may partly be explained by the lack of anything else noisy in this EV, but the optional 22-inch wheels certainly aren't doing the car any favors in the comfort department.
The Model X might come with some decent sized rubber wrapped around its alloy wheels, but it is definitely no corner carver!
The Model X weighs about 5,421 pounds, which might not be unreasonable for a big electric car, but the problem is that you feel every pound of its weight if you throw it into a corner, resulting in an ugly body roll.
Another issue when it comes to cornering is that the all-wheel drive doesn't seem designed to help much with turns. If going fast on twisty roads is your thing, the Model X is not the car you want... And why would you be looking at a three-row SUV, anyway?
Electric vehicle owners in cold climates will soon discover the harsh reality of driving a battery-powered vehicle in below-freezing temperatures. Most drivers know in theory that cold weather adversely affects the car's and its battery's abilities, but it's another thing to experience it in real life. In cold conditions, the vehicles have a hard time warming up, even charging is slowed down.
Tesla had to release some winter driving tips that acknowledge its cars will suffer from "increased range consumption" when it's cold. Drivers have certainly noticed the limited range in the negative temperatures - The Model X 100D normally has close to 290 miles of juice. In negative temperatures, one driver has reported 120 miles listed as its range.
The optional third row is a rather snug experience for anyone, but an especially tight fit for adults - with access being hampered by a second row that doesn't slide far enough forward.
The available second-row captain's chairs offering access through the middle might be better for regular users of the third row, but then they have to give up the seventh seat, and those captain's chairs don't fold flat like the bench does when you need extra cargo space. The awkward third-row access, along with stiff upholstery and deep-set Latch anchors has been some of the reasons why the Model X doesn't get top scores for its interior in reviews.
It's hard to imagine what they were thinking when it came to the Model X's phone integration. The Model X may be a technological wonder machine in lots of ways, but the phone integration definitely isn't one.
How can a modern car be sold without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which these days is more a need rather than a want. Tesla doesn't even offer Siri integration as some automakers do in lieu of CarPlay for iPhone users, so there's no voice-to-text function. All it offers is basic Bluetooth that now feels like phone integration from the days of yore.
The Model X has a big windshield - great for giving the occupants inside a feeling of space. It's also excellent when it comes to giving the driver an overview of whatever is going on outside of the car.
Can you sense a "but" coming? But, the sun visors are strangely thin and their usefulness is questionable at best. This is clearly a detail lapse that is a somewhat serious issue with the big windshield, especially when the sun is low in the sky. For a car in this price range, this just isn't good enough and can be a risk to people's safety.
The fit and finish complaints are somewhat standard in brand new vehicles. The Fortune review noted that weatherstripping peeled off the back doors and there was torn carpeting in the trunk. Consumer Reports relayed a problem its test-case owner had with chrome details on the windows.
Then there are the myriad complaints posted on the Tesla Motors Club forum. One member posted a list of issues he had with the car’s finish along with high-res closeup photos. There were problems with the alignment in multiple areas of the vehicle, including gaps in windows and panels. There was also discoloration both on the inside and outside of his Model X.
Sometimes you need some extra cargo space when going on a road trip or car holiday, and a roof box is a perfect solution. No need to be hauling a trailer, which can make it difficult to maneuver in some places, you won't even notice the box is on there.
The Falcon doors on the Model X makes fitting a cargo box on the roof kind of difficult though. In fact, if you want to open the doors it's impossible to use a roof box. Some Model X owners have fitted a box on the back of their car instead, the legality of this, however, would depend on where you live and what the local laws say.
One former Tesla employee revealed what is commonly referred to as "The Yard" by Tesla employees. It was described as a parking lot with approximately 2000 cars that have some kind of issue that must be fixed before they can be shipped to their new owners.
Quality check figures cited from Tesla's internal tracking system show that more than 90% of Model S and Model X cars routinely show defects at the post assembly line inspection. Those figures are as recent as October 2017 and date all the way back to 2012. The issues can be anything, such as paint flaws, software issues, missing parts, poor panel or part alignment, doors not closing, and water leaks... and those are just some of the common problems.
Sources: Fortune, Wired, Inside EVs