Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

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

highedu

Member
Dec 1, 2012
669
60
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?
 

eepic

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Nov 6, 2013
906
125
Canada
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?

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.
 

DIL

Member
Sep 13, 2013
873
547
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!
 

Duckjybe

Member
Mar 29, 2012
815
191
Ontario, Canada
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?

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?
 

bonaire

Active Member
Aug 24, 2013
2,482
1,076
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?
 

timf

Active Member
Apr 14, 2013
1,042
163
Michigan
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.
 
Last edited:

bonnie

I play a nice person on twitter.
Feb 6, 2011
16,429
9,933
Columbia River Gorge
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?

I'll go on record as predicting that the first several Model X signatures will be delivered before ANY test drives are offered.
 

markb1

Active Member
Feb 17, 2012
3,085
702
San Diego, CA
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?

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.
 

bonnie

I play a nice person on twitter.
Feb 6, 2011
16,429
9,933
Columbia River Gorge
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.

Yep. And some of us have already gotten test rides in the X.
 

dbfish

Member
Feb 14, 2013
139
69
Sacramento, CA
Because that is what Franz said. Though I think the company is back peddling on that statement.

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:
When can we see the much-anticipated midsize sedan for the first time?
Probably at the show in
Detroit early 2015

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

jiaotong

Member
Mar 13, 2012
67
0
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!
 

TEG

Teslafanatic
Aug 20, 2006
21,965
9,194
]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!

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.
 

rbergquist

S946 - VIN 1017 & M3 2327
see: TMC Connect Snippets / Gems

I mentioned it elsewhere - I am friends with some students that were running their project electric car (Formula SAE) at ReFuel. One of them spent time talking with the large Tesla company group that were there - an engineer mentioned that several of the cars present were Model X test mules with AWD (they rode slightly higher apparently).

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.
 

Red Sage

The Cybernetic Samurai
Jul 6, 2014
3,033
2,198
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.
 

JST

Active Member
May 23, 2013
1,560
228
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.


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.
 

ZBB

Emperor
Feb 27, 2013
1,575
295
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...
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top