Tesla wants its Model X to stand apart, and with a panoramic windshield and two side-by-side skylights over the second and third row, photos indicate this will happen.
Company head Elon Musk tweeted last week first deliveries of the all-wheel-drive seven-passenger crossover will be Sept. 29 at the Fremont, Calif. factory.
The automaker is however leaving many things unsaid, but members on the Tesla Motors Club Forum plus other info on the ‘Net have helped fill in some information gaps.
Adding to the already unusual “falcon wing” doors, a more predatory name for what at other times might be called “gull wing,” the windshield is unique among present-day U.S. vehicles.
A video of an unmasked blue Model X at a Supercharger in San Jose may be the clearest external views. Inside, the windshield may be seen in the black interior color sample Tesla provided to buyers permitted to configure their new X. Images of a white Model X show what is apparently a body color matched appliqué to mask the roof, but Tesla’s secret has otherwise been revealed.
Like the falcon wing doors, the windshield is not utterly new, and the idea has been effectively borrowed. Such a windshield is seen also in Europe on vehicles like the Vauxhall Astra GTC, and Citreon C3.
“Panoramic” windshields were also seen from the ’40s onward with a wrap-around design in the horizontal plane, but the Tesla, Vauxhall, and Citreon designs are among those wrapping around in the vertical plane.
Comprised of one piece of glass and absent any metal cross member, the windshield lets the front seat occupants have an unimpeded view in front like a normal windshield, and directly over head.
The novel windshield basically forms a kind of sunroof. It does not appear to have provision to vent, and uncertain is sun protection, though what appears to be a visor is present.
Tesla will in due time reveal all, but forum commenters have offered speculation and even suggestions including for a technology such as Mercedes-Benz offers that could make the glass completely opaque or transparent at the push of a button, as shown below.
Hope that Tesla includes this has been expressed, but in an informal reader poll asking which people prefer, “X’s large windscreen vs S’s panoramic roof,” the X’s large windscreen is winning 66 to 20.
“I got to see the X windshield ‘IRL’ [in real life] at a supercharger. I thought it was WAY COOL. No, make that WAY, WAY COOL,” said Tesla Motors Club member roblab. “There is nothing like it that I know of. I bought my pano roof [on the Model S] for the view. The X windshield is way cooler. The view out the front windshield just doesn’t stop. Well, I like it. But I like the pano on my S. The X is different.”
What proprietary name Tesla will actually assign to the windshield also remains to be seen, and meanwhile in back, dual glass skylights – or whatever these may be officially called – are also evident in photos.
The result will likely be a light-filled effect, though whether any perceived downside comes along with is also an open question.
Some have said they prefer no sky view. Several have expressed concern over windshield replacement costs, and most agree insurance premiums better be paid up.
Apparently windshield wipers will swipe the usual frontal portion, and in precipitation, the rest of the glass into the roof section will be subject to whatever weather hits it.
Safety concerns over the lack of a rigid metal cross member have also been raised. Some have wondered if occupants would be as protected in a tip over, or if a large animal like a moose, deer, or other large object were frontally struck by the car.
These questions will probably be answered later this month along with others.
The Model X is expected to be priced from the 70s to mid 140s in premium trim. It is certainly a luxury car, and numerous design features throughout will add to the experience.
Tesla has over 30,000 Model X reservation holders. First deliveries are for the “Founder’s” edition models, and unclear is whether any also-elite Signature models will be handed over at the ceremony later this month, but thus far it appears not.
After the initial deliveries, the car is expected to be in regular production, ramping up, and the usual delivery process will be in effect.
And, then the media blitz predictably will follow, as will user write-ups, videos, and more for the electric family wagon unlike anything else.