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Why are the Model S door panels so thick?

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by Tommy, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. Tommy

    Tommy Member

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    At the Fremont event I sat in the rear and noticed when I exited the car my foot hit the rear door panel. I took a look at all the panels and noticed they all are 2-3 inches thicker than the door panels in the cars I drive. My takeaway from the event was the beta interior was not complete; I had hoped the extra thick door panels would slim down but that does not appear to be the case.

    Here's photos of the Model S white beta and the prototype Model X front door panels. Clearly, Tesla can make a thinner door panel as evidenced by the Model X on display. Why is the Model S door panel so thick? It interferes with exiting and without storage pockets I don't see a need for them to be as thick as they are.

    Yes, it probably seems like nit picking, is it to much to want something a bit more refined when the Model X looks like its there already?
    View attachment 4807 View attachment 4808
     
  2. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Yes, the door panels are beefed up at the expense of door pockets. I'm guessing that it has to do with side-impact safety ratings; maybe, the 5-star ratings that Tesla's after necessitated that while our regular cars may not be "as safe". I'll take it as t-boning at intersections is a major cause of injury in traffic accidents.

    The X is only a prototype, of course...
     
  3. DaveVa

    DaveVa Sig Perf #236 VIN #484

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    I wonder if the thickness has something to do with the space required for the retracting door handles?
     
  4. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    #4 Trnsl8r, Mar 18, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
    I wouldn't think. X has those too, right?

    With a thick door panel, one would think there'd be room for a door pocket, eh? (Yeah, wrong thread, I know...)
     
  5. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Could it possibly be part of the 2012 five star crash rating?
     
  6. onlinespending

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    I doubt it. A.) because doors are only so helpful in an accident. The steel chassis is what really provides the safety. B.) more importantly the extra width that Tommy mentioned is really the molded plastic interior. That's going to make zero difference in an accident.
     
  7. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I was thinking there might be a large crumple structure in the doors that required extra depth, which is why the molded plastic is so thick. Or perhaps even that the molded plastic forces the drivers legs to be a certain distance inside the car.
     
  8. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    Before you think they are thicker than competitors you should compare to another aluminum car like the A8
     
  9. Andrew Wolfe

    Andrew Wolfe Roadster 472 - S 440

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    Because they seem tiny compared to a Roadster :smile:

    I think it is a combination of:

    1) Aluminum rails need to be much larger
    2) The chassis has been designed to support an open-top car as well
     
  10. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    They need to clear the window glass in the down position. The handle is high enough that even arcing the glass inward would not do much.
     
  11. spatterso911

    spatterso911 MSP#7577 **--** MX#1891

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    Seems that the doorsill on the S is very wide, and perhaps the door panel needs to be thicker to allow for the arm rest and to meet the interior panels. Perhaps the sill is wider due to the skateboard, or for side impact purposes, but in the attached photo, it's clearly wider than any other car I have seen, with exception to a Volvo.

    web.jpg
     
  12. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Volvo is a safe car but another reason for a thick door might be for sound. It's amazing how much effort must be expended to get rid of car noise. ICE cars really skate by with the noise coming off all those explosions.
     
  13. AustinPowers

    AustinPowers Total Smeghead

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    I would also think it has to do with the extra sound-proofing. Possibly also with extra safety measures.
    Up to now I had not thought about the thickness of the doors, but somehow thicker doors at least give a driver a feeling of more safety. If you couldn't exit a car without banging your legs on the extra padding, that would not be good, but I can't imagine why one shouldn't be able to exit the S normally, it's not as if the doors hinder you from exiting just because they are a bit thicker than on some other cars. When I think of many BMW, Audi and Mercedes cars, their doors are also quite thick. 7-series, S-class, A8 all have thick door panels.
     
  14. grisnjam

    grisnjam P6316

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    It could also be since the door lacks a window frame they need more support to account for it. This goes back to a open topped variant built on the same platform I would guess.
     
  15. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    Probably inheriting the Roadster heritage:

    P1010142.jpg
     
  16. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    This makes lots of sense. My mom's Volvo C70 had really thick door panels too and it was also a frameless window. There was a convertible option so these make sense. But I remember the doors being really wide.

    Speaking of which are there other reasons to use a frameless window door vs a framed window door. Apart from the already mentioned convertible option. My Dodge Neon had frameless windows, and there was not a convertible option, and well at ~85 mph (~top speed) the windows would pull away from the seals and you would get a horrible vacuum sound. It was a nice distraction from the 'death shakes' the car gave off at that speed. If you were not ready for it you would think the car fell apart.

    My dad's Subaru Outback also has frameless windows, with no convertible option.
    My dad's Audi TT has frameless windows, but it is a convertible.
     
  17. Tommy

    Tommy Member

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    Just to be clear, it is the plastic door panel I am referring to. The door frame itself is the typical width thickness I would expect, however the plastic inside panel is much thicker than any door panel in cars I have ridden in. When sitting in the back seat, and because of a combination of the smaller door opening and the extra thick door panel my shoes do hit the bottom panel in trying to exit. I have no problem in the front. Thank you everyone for your thoughts on what the reason might be. Hopefully Tesla can shed some light on this. I had hoped that as the car was a beta the door panel was a mock up as to the overall thickness with door storage to be added later, but at this point, it does not appear to be the case and the car just has extra thick door panels relative to other cars.
     
  18. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    From previous showings I found that my foot tended to get caught on the door exiting the back seat. Front seat was fine. Anyone experience this?
     
  19. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Falcon wing passenger doors would eliminate that problem.

    :)
     
  20. tdelta1000

    tdelta1000 Active Member

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    I think the panels are that thick for the purposes of hiding the window motor and the sliding door handle hardware but i may be wrong.
     

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