Falcon Wing Doors on 2016 Tesla Model X Not Scrapped, CEO Says

PALO ALTO, California Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk tweeted that rumors about canceling the Falcon Wing doors on the electric 2016 Tesla Model X midsize SUV are false.

Musk was responding to speculation that the unusual doors on the Model X were behind the vehicle's production delay and were bound for revision.

"Rumors about canceling Falcon Wing doors are false," Musk said in a recent tweet. "At Tesla, the production car will always be better than the show car."

The doors feature double hinges. Traditional gullwing doors have one hinge.

Morgan Stanley, an investment bank, got the rumors cranked up with a note to investors on November 18 in which it described scenarios to cope with the Model X's delay. "Choice B" included "ditch the doors."

"In this scenario, we have assumed that Tesla would have been working on a 'plan B' with conventional doors as a parallel development," it said.

Morgan Stanley added: "We don't believe the Falcon doors will be ditched without Tesla undergoing a significant effort to save them."

In a subsequent "clarification," Morgan Stanley said: "The Model X will have Falcon Wing doors."

"The doors weren't the challenge," it said. "They are relatively easy to execute compared to other technical accomplishments at the company. Tesla has customers that want Falcon Wing doors. There has been no parallel development of conventional doors at Tesla."

In a posting on its Web site, Tesla said "Falcon Wings open up and out of the way, in even the narrowest of parking spots."

It added: "Calling them doors would be an understatement. While earning serious style points, they're functional first."

The 2016 Model X uses many of the same components as Tesla's successful Model S sedan, but it packages it in a more family-friendly body style."

Key Model X rivals include the Infiniti QX60 Hybrid, Lexus RX 450h and Porsche Macan. Tesla describes the Model X as "designed from the ground up to blend the best of an SUV with the benefits of a minivan, as only an electric car can. It is an automobile above category."

In early November, Tesla said the launch of the Model X had been delayed again, as the California automaker spends more time on testing.

"Work continues on the finalization of Model X with the test of Alpha prototypes and initial builds of the first Beta prototypes," Tesla said. "We recently decided to build in significantly more validation testing time to achieve the best Model X possible."

It added: "In anticipation of this effort, we now expect Model X deliveries to start in Q3 of 2015, a few months later than previously expected. This also is a legitimate criticism of Tesla — we prefer to forgo revenue, rather than bring a product to market that does not delight customers. Doing so negatively affects the short term, but positively affects the long term."

The Model X had been slated for launch in early 2014.

Edmunds says: Some reassuring words from the Tesla CEO, especially for car shoppers who have fallen for those unusual Falcon Wing doors.

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