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Elon Musk Interview on Tesla Model X’s Electric Doors


Among several other concerns, an electric car presents itself as a new field with a lot of variables that remain to be seen only in real life situations. However, if you give that electric car two innovative electric doors, like the Falcon Wings in the Tesla Model X, the situation is even more unclear in what the security in case of an accident is concerned.

To solve that mystery, I asked Elon Musk a highly pertinent question regarding the unlikely case where you’d have an accident, or even land your Tesla Model X in the middle of a river. In a normal car, pressure would build up against your car’s doors and your only chance would be either to manually act on the window to let the water come in and equalize the pressure, or to break the window. Model X’s door doesn’t suffer from this, because it opens vertically.

Think for a second: the doors in the Model X are electric and everything is powered by a battery. Besides the risk of the biggest electrolysis that river has ever seen, there’s the classic risk of being stranded inside the car, without the possibility to get out, because water+electronics=no electronics. Common sense tells me that when immersed in water, the electronics won’t work anymore, and so will the fancy electric doors.

Here’s what Elon answered to my question:

There is an auxiliary battery providing emergency power if the main pack fails (which is highly unlikely), but all doors can be unlatched from the inside by pulling hard on the inside handle, which is mechanically linked to the door locking mechanism via cable.  Bottom line is that you won’t get stuck in the car in an accident.

For those who don’t know yet, Tesla Motors is about to unveil their third car, Model X, which is a super-improved version of any SUV now on the market. Its innovative Falcon Wing doors will allow the passengers to get off the vehicle even in the most tight spaces, and will have proximity sensors to tell the computer where to stop, if the place is extremely tight.

“The Falcon Wing doors can open in less space than any other door. That is how they are designed. If you can physically fit between your car and another, the door can open,” Musk told me via e-mail for an earlier article.

Thanks, Elon!

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  1. why doesn’t this car use the static electricity receiver Nikola Tesla equipt his pierce arrow with: “In the summer of 1931, Nikola Tesla — the inventor of alternating current and the holder of some
    1200 other U.S. patents — along with his nephew Peter Savo installed a box on the front seat of a brand
    new Pierce-Arrow touring car at the company factory in Buffalo, New York.
    The box is said to have been 24 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 6 inches high. Out of it protruded a
    1.8 meter long antenna and two ¼-inch metal rods. Inside the box was reputed to be some dozen
    vacuum tubes (70-L-7 type) and other electrical parts. 2 wire leads ran from the box to a newly-installed
    40-inch long, 30-inch diameter AC motor that replaced the gasoline engine.
    As the story goes, Tesla inserted the 2 metal rods and announced confidently “We now have power”
    and then proceeded to drive the car for a week, “often at speeds of up to 90 mph.” One account says the
    motor developed 1,800 rpm and got fairly hot when operating, requiring a cooling fan. The “converter”
    box is said to have generated enough electrical energy to also power the lights in a home.


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