Tesla Model X shown on configurator - Image via Tesla Motors Club

Tesla Model X shown on configurator - Image via Tesla Motors Club

Ahead of tonight’s big reveal of the production-spec Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] Model X crossover, a lot of details regarding this all-electric utility vehicle are already out. Yet as the buzz builds, plenty of potential buyers hang in the balance over one important detail: the so-called falcon doors.

The Model X’s centrally hinged, upward-opening rear doors have been a cool design detail from the start—in theory, allowing open access to the back seats. Though ever since we first saw the Tesla Model X prototype, more than three and a half years ago in the automaker’s Hawthorne, California facility, we’ve wondered how this model’s door arrangement would work in everyday commuter and family use.

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Over the weekend, another Model X was spotted on video, with its so-called falcon doors fully operational; and if this vehicle is any indication of production form, it appears that not much has changed in these last months leading up to production.

It certainly leads us to wonder how well this model will fit into parking buildings, and even home garages, where clearance might be at a premium.

Tesla Model X falcon doors height estimation, Randall Hamlet

Tesla Model X falcon doors height estimation, Randall Hamlet

It led one loyal reader to make some geometrically educated guesses on the Model X’s height with its doors up. In prototype form, the Model X crossover is 64 inches tall—about 10.5 inches taller, overall, than the Model S sedan. Assuming that stays the same—and we’ll see tonight—the Model X is about one third taller with its doors up.

That’s 85 inches of total height—certainly far more than the clearance requirements of some garages.

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The minimum height of a standard commercial parking garage is seven feet (84 inches), so the final-form Model X, falcon doors spread upward, might just make that cut.

Many existing SUV and crossover models do have tall-opening rear hatches. Some of those models can be preset to a lower opening height; and even if they can’t, they’re not necessary for merely getting into the vehicle.

But it leads to plenty of questions. For instance, do the front doors of the Model X need to be open in order to open the rears? Could your child/passenger accidentally open those doors into a garage ceiling? And if clearance were restricted, could those in back open the doors partway and still get out reasonably enough?

They’re questions that Tesla certainly addressed months if not years ago; nevertheless we’re eager to see what the solutions are—and just how much additional utility and versatility the Model X offers over the Model S.

You won’t need to wait long. Check back tomorrow for a roundup of what’s new and unexpected for the Model X.


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