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Visual differences: Model X prototype (2012/2013) vs. Mule(s) (2015)

Discussion in 'Model X: Interior & Exterior' started by AnxietyRanger, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    I thought it might be useful to dedicate a thread to apparent visual changes between the Model X mule or mules seen in 2015, compared to the original public prototypes. Even though it is possible, likely even given the camo, that the mule(s) don't represent the final production vehicle, there are still plenty of things that have changed that can be indicative of what has changed since 2012-2013. Note, when I say "new" in this post, I'm not suggesting necessarily the latest, the production version, simply that these things in the mule(s) are new compared to the old prototypes we are used to seeing. What I'm looking for are indications of Tesla's design direction and/or development history on the Model X, not proof of final design of course.

    Here is my list - can you point out more obvious visual changes? As a help I will use image from jerjozwik's helpful post and from earlier post(s).

    - The least camouflaged difference are the sides. To the casual observer they might not be that different, but look a little more closely and a lot of stuff has changed. For one, the falcon wing doors are shorter, giving the illusion of a shorter car. (If, in fact the Model X prototype wheelbase was longer than Model S, production model could also be shorter than the prototype wheelbase-wise.) Part of the rear of the falcon wing is heavily taped over, making determining its length and full shape harder.

    - The hemline of the car is obviously shaped differently and so is the shoulder line around the rear windows especially. While the chrome trim on the windows curves more gently on the prototype, the mule(s) have more straight lines. Of course on both of the occasions the new mule(s) have been seen, a part of the rear of the falcon wing is heavily taped over, so it is unknown if something has changed there as well or if it is just taped shut to keep it from accidentally opening in public.

    - Near the roof, the side windows on the falcon wings may extend closer towards the roof. The windows seem to be higher than before.

    - The second most obvious difference is the front, around the nosecone and the bonnet. First of all, the areas where the bonnet meets the sides of the body and the nose have been sharpened considerably. There seems to be a fairly consistent sharpening of overall lines of the vehicle throughout.

    - Also, considering leaks of unknown veracity that the nosecone would be gone (and even the wild wild speculation that Tesla might dump nosecone entirely in a Model S facelift), there is something definitely going on in that area as well in the mule(s). The November update and the mule images match perfectly in the side and front detail that can be seen. Where there used to be the top of the nose cone, the bonnet now clearly extends lower. On the mule we can see a slit and a shaped Tesla logo that extends to the bumper, the nose and the bonnet in this area are obviously new.

    - That said, the camouflaged bumper in both the latest and the dock mule outings certainly has shapes that could hide a, perhaps redesigned, nosecone still. Or the mule(s) could sport camo/prototype bumpers. Finally, there is speculation these latest images come from Tesla and that the lower parts of the front are disguised in post-processing to be blacked out. Looking at the image certainly looks like someone applied Mosaic filter in Photoshop to that part of the image. On the "dock mule", the nose probably had extensive camo making it stick out more than it really does - again, suggesting something to hide there.

    - The rear seems to have changed the least, but even there are many smaller changes. The most intriguing after the hitch, of course, is the question what - if anything - is hidden beneath the camo under the rear window. Maybe it is there just to throw off the shape, but it could also indicate a design change in this area. If you want to go to the wildly speculative, Audi A7 has an extending spoiler in the very same area. Another speculation would be that the rear window actually extends lower and this camo is there to cover something in that area.

    - Other changes in the rear include a new diffuser and a bumper that isn't split painted/non-painted as high up, a new smaller shape around the license plate, redesigned tail lights - especially in the lower inside corner of the lights, but also in a sharpened inside edge as well. All these sharpening of lines, if in any way indicative of final production status, suggest the design changes to the Model X have made it a little less curvy in places, a little more modern perhaps in that sense.

    - And of course there is the mysterious rear hole and the hitch. I think image from the earlier mule shoot may give an indication on how high the hitch will stand. That said, a hitch, hitch mount and even the hole in the bumper may of course be part of some entirely temporary mule setup and nothing to do with an eventual factory installed hitch.

    - The design of the lights, while blacked out partially, is new both front and rear.

    - Interior can't be seen here, but if the November update image is anything to go by, the re-design of the falcon wings also extend to a less bulky-looking design on the insides of the doors as well.

    16509913422_cff71c8c96_o.jpg

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  2. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Also: New wheel styles we hadn't seen before.

    It looks to me like the top "bulged up", particularly in the rear.
    This may have been needed for rear headroom. I recall it was a little lacking in the prototype.
     
  3. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    Good points, TEG, thank you.

    Also new, as part of the rear diffuser change is the middle section that seems very reminiscent of factory installed hitches in European cars, where there is an opening low in the rear diffuser - the likes of which can be automatically or semi-automatically turned "back in". I would suggest the gaping hole in the top of the diffuser is NOT where the factory hitch goes, but is probably merely a part of the mule setup. I would guess at this point the hitch showing lower in the diffuser is more close to the end-result. That said, not even the hitch shown on the mule may be the final factory version, of course, but can be a temporary mule setup.

    Even though it seems low, it actually isn't hanging beneath the car as one can see in the side dock mule image and the straight-on rear mule image above. The hole upwards in the top of the diffuser may be for testing the automatic or semi-automatic fold-out action of the hitch. The hole can be used to debug it and see the process when it is folded inside.

    Here is Audi Q5, the images of the Tesla mule(s) would suggest, to me, potentially a similar placement:

    default.jpg
    Bigger: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/7tuNjZy8GIU/maxresdefault.jpg
     
  4. felixtb

    felixtb RsEU502,Sp+14274,XpEUSig4

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    There also seems to be a difference with the side markers. they seem to have more of the Model S language. which in my mind was to be expected.

    image.jpg image.jpg
     
  5. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    #5 AnxietyRanger, Feb 14, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
    Good points, felixtb.

    Here is a picture comparing the prototype and the new(er) mule, as well as a U.S. Q5, in the hitch area:

    model_x_mule_hitch.jpg

    model_x_mule_hitch_2.jpg

    Note that the camera angle in the latter image actually misleads a lot, the hitch isn't as low as it seems - evidenced by the image above from straight-on rear. It is also possible the "temp hole" could be a service hatch with cover off.
     
  6. ryanjm

    ryanjm Tesla Podcast Host

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    This has probably been pointed out a million times on this forum (I don't visit the X subforum as much), but I guess I'm oblivious and I only just noticed it:

    When looking at the X from the front with the doors open, the doors form the shape of the Tesla 'T' logo.
     
  7. Earlian

    Earlian Member

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    What about a place for the new rear Radar? Perhaps they don't show public, while it allows more autonomous driving and the new Model S delivered in Q1/2 won't have it?
     
  8. SlyWombat

    SlyWombat Member

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    That "temp hole for inspection" might be instead a different purpose, like a power step or bike rack.
     
  9. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    Thank you for the comments. If there are hardware improvements to autonomous driving and/or driver aids, I also wonder if the camoed/painted out front might hide such features. Another place could be the bottom of the rear window area, which seems to have camo on it (unless that is an extending spoiler).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Some in another thread said they'd see camera bulges in the mirrors of the mule, signifying perhaps 360 cameras or extension of the prototype camera mirrors, but I haven't been able to determine such from images. If someone can post the comparison shot, that would be helpful. Maybe the only hint is the shadow on the outer edge of the front shot of the side mirror on e.g. post #4 above? I acknowledge the low resolution of the images makes it hard to determine such thing sometimes, but my guess currently is the mirrors on this mule are regular without cameras.
     
  10. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    Here is a picture of changes around the side mirror area - not mentioning the obvious side camera only vs. side mirror difference. Also, body panels may not of course represent final production model.

    model_x_mule_side_mirror.jpg
     
  11. ptsagcy

    ptsagcy Member

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    Anybody notice the funky mount on the sideview mirror? Combination camera / folding mirror??? camo??
     
  12. n88

    n88 Member

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    Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere earlier in another thread, but did the prototype have a pano roof... with the falcon doors?
     
  13. trils0n

    trils0n 2013 P85

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    #13 trils0n, Feb 16, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
    The prototype had rectangular windows in the top of each of the two falcon doors.

    ModelX_Glass_Roof.jpg
     
  14. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    Thank you for the additional insights and trils0n for adding a nice low-angle image of the prototype roof windows.

    Speaking of the roof on the mule, it doesn't seem to have the roof window reflections of the prototype at least on the frontal images, it may have some window glare visible on the back of the roof. Perhaps it doesn't always come with windows on the roof. Determining the actual flow of where the rear window and the roof meet is made harder by the camo that hides a slice of the car from the rear of one falcon wing to another, so we can't see how high up the rear window continues and what may come after it over the falcon wings. The prototype, of course, had pretty large front and back windows that seemed to extend pretty high up, as well as the window panes on the falcon wings and the front.

    I guess it is unlikely, but I would still welcome some opening options for the Model X roof windows - even if it is just some window(s) you can nudge open a little. :)
     
  15. tdelta1000

    tdelta1000 Active Member

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    anti reflective windshield.
     
  16. Gerasimental

    Gerasimental Member

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    Is it possible that people are underestimating the size of the car a bit? I admit I've not seen on in person, but if it's same wheelbase and width as the Model S, with these proportions, the roof will still be quite high despite the slight slope (which is now less pronounced than in previous versions)

    See this height comparison here: http://insideevs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/tesla-model-x-model-s-ani.jpg

    Model X is riding a bit higher but there should still be substantially more headroom than in the S
     
  17. 1208

    1208 Active Member

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    Agreed. In the following photo the ceiling is clearly over a foot higher than the top of the 2nd row seats headrest and about a foot above the 3rd row.

    Model+X+Innenraum+4.jpg
     
  18. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    I recall plenty of headroom although we should be careful not to draw too many conclusions from that photo, it is only a prototype after all. The photo also makes the 3rd row legroom look non-existent and I remember thinking it looked acceptable in reality.

    Black/white combos are not normally my thing but I have to say I still love that storm trooper look! :)
     
  19. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I'd like it more except for the red piping. That just irritates me every time I look at it.
     
  20. 1208

    1208 Active Member

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    What about a chess board style? With white for the drivers seat, black for the front passenger, then 2 black in the 2nd row with the middle seat being white, and finally a white seat and black seat for the 3rd row?:cool:
     

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