TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Where is the Model X Test Mule? Is there one?

Discussion in 'Model X' started by highedu, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. highedu

    highedu Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
    Messages:
    626
    Location:
    East Bay Area, CA
    With the factory retooling in preparation for Model X production and a fall showcase of the prototype production version, I'm surprised that nobody has caught any spy shots of the Model X testing in the wild. I know a few months back there was a picture of a Model S with a ballast on the roof and another of a Model X parked somewhere in Culver, CA.

    However, with final design nearing completion most automobile manufacturers take the vehicle for extreme weather testing. So a modified Model S will not help them do a real world test, I have to believe that Tesla has mules out there undergoing real world tests.

    Any spy shots people or word on this?
     
  2. eepic

    eepic Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Messages:
    854
    Location:
    Canada
    Fwiw, the one spotted in california was probably the one currently seen in the show Extant. A lot more on it in the "Model X TV and Movies" thread. But yea, I agree it's surprising how little spy shots there are.
     
  3. DIL

    DIL Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    368
    Location:
    Danville, CA
    thanks for starting this thread highedu. i'm eager to see more too. it's either a very well kept secret, nobody cares, or we're in for another delay!
     
  4. Duckjybe

    Duckjybe S P232

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2012
    Messages:
    689
    Location:
    Oakville, Canada
    Last week, I saw the Model S with test box (ballast) on the roof in the yard beside the Fremont factory service center. There was also a B-Class test mule and two RAV4 (EV's I presume). But no Model X. Where are they hiding?
     
  5. bonaire

    bonaire Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Messages:
    1,525
    Location:
    USA
    I read a thread where a customer visiting a Canadian Tesla gallery was told there would be Model X test drives available in the fall of 2014. You have to think that maybe the factory will be building about 100 or more demo Model X sometime soon to send out for test drives and to drum up more orders. In terms of "unveiling" - it would be at the Detroit auto show. However, was the Canadian gallery employee wrong and just appeasing the customer or were they actually forcasting test-drivable mules or betas in late fall, 2014?
     
  6. timf

    timf Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    900
    Location:
    Michigan
    #6 timf, Jul 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
    I think the answer is the simplest one - there aren't any. Tesla, unlike other auto manufacturers, doesn't have multiple factories with dedicated space for working on prototype vehicles. The Model X prototypes we've seen so far have been one-off concepts. The ongoing factory expansion will finally provide them a line on which to build pre-production vehicles without interfering with Model S production.

    The lack of any evidence of ongoing Model X testing is the primary factor that leads me to question what the actual delivery schedule is going to be. I estimate that we're looking at a minimum of 6 months worth of testing from the time the first pre-production Model X appears until the first one is ready for delivery to a customer. This absolutely rules out any deliveries before the end of the year, and even Q1 is doubtful. It's looking like Q2 will be the earliest deliveries of any kind, not just a ramp up. I'm counting on seeing something by the end of September in order to keep things on track.
     
  7. CmdrThor

    CmdrThor Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    861
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Why would they unveil in Detroit?
     
  8. Kevin Harney

    Kevin Harney Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,052
    Location:
    Herndon, VA
    Because that is what Franz said. Though I think the company is back peddling on that statement.
     
  9. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Messages:
    14,241
    Location:
    Columbia River Gorge
    I'll go on record as predicting that the first several Model X signatures will be delivered before ANY test drives are offered.
     
  10. markb1

    markb1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,318
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    I don't think they are going to let anyone other than Tesla employees drive any pre-production Model X. Test rides are more plausible for that time frame, like they did with the Model S Beta in Fremont. The first test drives of the Model S occurred the day after the first deliveries.
     
  11. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Messages:
    14,241
    Location:
    Columbia River Gorge
    Yep. And some of us have already gotten test rides in the X.
     
  12. sigurdi

    sigurdi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Messages:
    252
    Location:
    Norway
    Tesla have a large factory with plenty of unused space to test drive the X. :) he he he
     
  13. dbfish

    dbfish Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
    Messages:
    120
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Actually Franz said Model III "might be" unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show January 2015...!!! X has been unveiled already, but they would definitely show a final production model there as well.

    Quote:
    Source: Tesla-Chefdesigner von Holzhausen: "i3 ist wie ein IKEA-Möbel" - autobild.de
    (Translation link here)
     
  14. jiaotong

    jiaotong Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    ]I think the answer is the simplest one - there aren't any.


    The simplest answer is usually correct. I have no idea what rules govern it, but would one-off models be used for crash-testing? I would imagine (but again have no idea) that production vehicles would be required for the NHTSA to test with.

    The other thing that supports "there aren't any" is the line is bring re-tooled to make them!
     
  15. Mr X

    Mr X Future Owner

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2013
    Messages:
    855
    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    I'm sure whenever one hits the road someone will snap a pic.
     
  16. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Messages:
    17,252
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    Manufacturers may crash test their own prototypes (to check what needs to be updated) before they send the real thing to the government for crash testing.

    I think most models have some sort of "mules" on the Road. The Model S with the roof weights may be the mule they need to do most testing. The basic platform is the same, so they may not really need to have Model X looking things on the road just yet.

    Also, there are companies that can make basically "one of a kind" prototypes by hand (at great expense) without having a production line. So, just because the production line isn't built yet doesn't mean there couldn't be some Model X prototypes already made for testing.
     
  17. rbergquist

    rbergquist S946 - VIN 1017

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2012
    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Auburn/Grass Valley, California
    see: TMC Connect Snippets / Gems

    I suspect they are using the S for testing all of the firmware & internal changes. With Tesla the paradigm had changed where alot more of the model changes and tuning are in the software. Hence fewer Mule pictures.
     
  18. Red Sage

    Red Sage The Cybernetic Samurai

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2014
    Messages:
    2,408
    Location:
    Los Angeles CA
    The Fremont facility is gigantic. They can build and test the Model X indoors, on site, out of view of anyone in the public. Then they can load them onto enclosed trucks, or into containers, for shipment where ever they like, via land, sea, or air. So, yeah... There are probably some Model X all over the world right now, but in extremely remote areas, where the likelihood of someone with a 4G LTE signal on their mobile phone for upload to Facebook is minimal. There is no way that anyone would bother with the resources to follow around every truck that leaves Fremont, or the Hawthorne Design Center, just on the off-hand chance that they 'might' be able to snap a picture of a car everyone knows is coming out in a few months anyway. The Congo... The Amazon... The Outback... The Antarctic Circle... The Sahara... Lots of luck tracking them down.
     
  19. JST

    JST Active Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,508

    VW owns property several magnitudes larger in area than Tesla, including the gigantic Ehra-Lessien facility in Germany where the Veyron can stretch its legs. And yet we still see pre-pro VWs on the streets all the time.

    And we see spy photos showing other makes all the time, too, even from remote locales like the ones you mention.

    I think the explanation above--that there aren't yet any pre-production cars--is much more likely. Car makers invariably build cars for testing and evaluation on production lines before production begins (though as someone else mentioned, there are plenty of places that will build one-off prototypes, too).

    The driveline is similar enough to the Model S that they can probably do most of the basic development with the cobbled together Model S mules we've already seen. There may be other disguised drivetrain prototypes out there--wasn't the Model S developed under a Dodge Magnum, back when it was still "Whitestar?"

    As for drives? Other companies frequently do press drives of pre-production cars. Tesla may do the same, though they may also figure they don't need to bother because the buzz is already tremendous.
     
  20. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2013
    Messages:
    1,419
    Location:
    Scottsdale
    I think they are doing most of their development testing on Model S mules. Tesla had about 4-5 Model S at the Refuel event at Laguna Seca, and others pointed out that they all had a higher than normal ride height. Suspicion was that they were AWD mules, so they could have been testing the X drivetrain on the track.

    When we were at Hawthorn a couple weeks ago, there were some loud machining sounds coming from the hanger area -- so the they could have been working on some pre-production mules also...
     

Share This Page