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Thread: Falcon wing doors are just as hard to make as gull wings

  1. #11
    Senior Member DMCVegas's Avatar
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    I've no idea. But the next generation of Gullwing Door safety by Mercedes includes explosive charges. Not that rollovers themselves are that common with Gullwings as it is, mind you. But with the SLS, they installed charges on the door hinges to disconnect the door entirely. Combined with what appears to be breakaway wiring harnesses, all one needs to do is pull on the door handle and push out.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_KtDjN75xw

    I've no idea what the "Falcon Doors" weigh, but I'm pretty sure that they're heavy. We use a single torsion bar per door, and Tesla is having to use 2 torsion springs per side. But worse is the fact that they're mechanically coupled to those electric motors. I don't exactly know if there is a gearbox in between, but it sounds like it. Both audibly as well as from Tesla's emergency instructions. Check this out: The Falcon Doors that locked shut and refused to open wasn't even a rollover accident. Power simply got cut to the electric motors. So with a DMC-12 or an SLS you could just pull on the door handles and exit the vehicle since they are not powered. But with Tesla, you have to pull on an emergency release cable. Guess where it's hidden: At the bottom of the door, behind the speaker grilles! Bonus: It can only be opened from INSIDE the vehicle!

    So if you're in an accident where you're now disoriented or unconscious, samaritans outside cannot help you. They need tools, or have to wait for rescuers. Even then, that's assuming you know about that release cable, and that the speaker grille is easy to pull off. What happens when you're a passenger, or a second owner that has no idea about that cable? Well as we saw here, you could nearly burn to death.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Dangermouse's Avatar
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    Will the in dash monitor now be required to play an FAA style safety video before allowing the car to be placed into Drive:

    “for those of you in the rear exit row, in the event of power loss, you will be required to manually open the doors. An emergency cable is located here, and here, hidden behind the speaker. If you are unable, or unwilling, to perform these duties, our cabin crew will relocate you to the front seat. Now would be a good time to review the emergency safety procedures detailed on the laminated copy of page 324 of the owner’s manual, which has been placed in the pocket of the seat in front of you”
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  3. #13
    Mario's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMCVegas View Post
    Bonus: It can only be opened from INSIDE the vehicle!
    I just want to point out that it would be a very dumb idea to have a cable that can open the door from the outside. :P Makes the locks a bit useless!

  4. #14
    Senior Member DMCVegas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario View Post
    I just want to point out that it would be a very dumb idea to have a cable that can open the door from the outside. :P Makes the locks a bit useless!
    And you would be correct. Sometimes what is in our mind's eye doesn't quite translate to what we're saying.

    The vehicle that this problem with "Falcon Doors" reminds myself of personally, is the Corvette.

    Corvettes don't have door locks. A normal car has the striker pin on the car body with a latch on the door, where it is physically connected to the inner and outer door handles by a linkage. Locking the doors actuates a secondary linkage which causes the latches to bind up so that you cannot open the door. Corvettes do not do this. The arrangement is completely backwards with the latch instead being built into the door frame, and is operated by an actuator. So instead of pulling a handle, you press a button to get out. And when you lock your car, the only thing that the vehicle does is disable the buttons.

    However, Corvettes do have emergency release cables. Each door has a large emergency handle on the floorboard (where our parking brakes are). There is also another emergency cable for the driver's door located in the trunk. The trunk also has a traditional key lock too. So if you have a car with a dead battery, you can pop the trunk, and pull that cable to get into the car. Now if you are inside of your car and get trapped because of a dead battery, you can still reach down and grab that emergency handle next to your seat. If you were trying to rescue someone from a Corvette who was unconscious after an accident, you could also open the doors by smashing either the window or trunk glass to get to either of those emergency release cables.

    Now it's a good thing that these cables are there, because people do occasionally get trapped inside of Corvettes. Hell, people have even died because of this setup. Even I have been trapped inside of one at a GM Test Drive event when some wise-ass rep thought it would be funny to demonstrate the doors to someone else. But hey, I'm not a Corvette owner, so I wouldn't have known about these emergency latches. As such, I don't look down on other people to whom this has happened. But I am pretty sure that those emergency release cables have saved quite a few lives.

    But mating doors to a mechanical apparatus that can prevent an occupant from exiting is a very, VERY bad idea. Even Bricklin knew this, which is why the SV-1 has emergency release pins to free the doors from the hydraulic/pneumatic rams. Sure, given enough time someone can find the emergency release cable when it is rather conspicuous, just like the Corvette. But hiding that cable inside of the door itself where you have to start pulling off speaker grills is unacceptably stupid.

    You may have to break the glass, but on the Corvette or SV-1, there are still emergency door releases that you, as a rescuer, can get to while standing outside of the vehicle. There is no way to do this with Tesla's doors. What's the point? You get to survive the initial crash to inhumanely burn to death? It completely defeats the other safety features.

  5. #15
    Formally hmm252000
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    Maybe I'm missing something, but what's the big deal here? The Model X has regular doors up front, so it's not like the DeLorean or SLS where the vertical doors are your only method of getting out. So in the event of a total electrical failure, you can still get out without knowing about the mechanical release. That's more then the Corvette can say.

    As for accidents, doors jam all the time, regardless of their type. I myself had to exit my car from the passenger side after being t-boned. A lot of videos you see where there's a fire after an accident shows people being pulled out a smashed window because their doors are jammed. Falcon wing would be no different and at least Tesla has a lower rate of car fires then their ICE equivalents.

  6. #16
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    Well, this is assuming the car has been in an accident and the passengers in the back may not be able to crawl into the front to get out...I havent seen a Model-X in person, so I couldnt even tell you how difficult that would be...even in a Ford Focus it would be a pain to crawl between the front seats
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  7. #17
    Senior Member DMCVegas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lwanmtr View Post
    Well, this is assuming the car has been in an accident and the passengers in the back may not be able to crawl into the front to get out...I havent seen a Model-X in person, so I couldnt even tell you how difficult that would be...even in a Ford Focus it would be a pain to crawl between the front seats
    It is apparently very difficult. Not only are there two, but three rows of seats for passengers.



    So aside from being trapped in the back with no way to get to the emergency release, you now have an extra row of seats to crawl over. So, good luck with that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chris4099 View Post
    Maybe I'm missing something, but what's the big deal here? The Model X has regular doors up front, so it's not like the DeLorean or SLS where the vertical doors are your only method of getting out. So in the event of a total electrical failure, you can still get out without knowing about the mechanical release. That's more then the Corvette can say.

    As for accidents, doors jam all the time, regardless of their type. I myself had to exit my car from the passenger side after being t-boned. A lot of videos you see where there's a fire after an accident shows people being pulled out a smashed window because their doors are jammed. Falcon wing would be no different and at least Tesla has a lower rate of car fires then their ICE equivalents.
    The big deal is that these are electro-mechanically controlled doors with no automatic emergency provisions to release control of the doors.

    One big thing you must consider are what the most likely of accidents to occur are, and then drill down a steadily declining list of probabilities for said accidents. Then starting at the top with the most likely, you have to then consider the failure rates of the door systems as to how they might be affect passenger egress. The DMC-12 & SLS both being solely mechanical and without the need for electrical power. And again, even the SV-1 which does require electricity, has a highly visible emergency pull to release the doors. This is in VERY start contrast to Tesla who hid the emergency releases within a door panel itself.

    No, not every vehicle collision is going to result in a fiery explosion. To claim such a thing would be silly. But you must understand that climbing over seats is not nearly as easy as it sounds for people. Especially ones that at best are only going into panic after an accident, and at worse are punch drunk if not outright unconscious. You can be strapped in, but the amount of other things that fly around in an accident can certainly harm you too. Breaking windows to pull people out isn't any cakewalk either when you don't have the correct tools. But having either of these as a solution for emergency egress instead of simply being able to open the door you came in through is completely unacceptable. Tesla has overcomplicated this matter, and it endangers people's lives.

  8. #18
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    Jinkies! I forgot about the 2 rows of seats in the back...I feel sorry for the folks in the last row.
    Rob Depew
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  9. #19
    Formally hmm252000
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    OK, I'm not seeing the bid deal here on the 3rd row either. Most vehicles with 3rd row seating don't have dedicated doors for those seats. Does that mean all cars with 3rd row seating are now death traps to those passengers? What about 2 door cars with back seats?

    As for Tesla's situation, I say again, most accidents will result in jammed doors, regardless of their type. All you need is less then an inch of compression in the body and that door isn't going to open. It seems pretty obvious to me that the release cable in the Tesla is for when there's an electrical malfunction and the passengers need to get out (non-emergency situation). In most serious accidents, you are going to be crawling in some form (as those did in the original reported accident).

    People get trapped in cars all the time and die as a result. It's very unfortunately. But I don't see anything Tesla has done to make those situations worse. Considering they are less likely to have car fires in the first place and have very high safety rates, you should be much more safe in a Model X then a traditional SUV or mini-van. The only thing I would hope Tesla will change (they may already do for all I know) is make sure when delivering Model Xs, they show the owners the mechanical releases (including the rear hatch, another escape point I forgot to bring up earlier).

  10. #20
    Senior Member DMCVegas's Avatar
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    I genuinely have no idea how it could be made clearer. And I honestly don't know if it is a lack of clarity in the explanation, or simply a prejudice thing with wanting to defend the Tesla no matter what.

    When you have traditional door latch systems, save for the most cataclysmic of accidents, the doors can still have more force applied to them to open if there is a severe enough shifting of the cab or monocoque body. Even if you have such a severe collision that just destroys the structure and mangles the doors to the point where they are inoperable, egress is still possible via the opposite side of the vehicle. With a 2-door vehicle, passengers in the rear seats have accessible levers of some sort that they can activate to get the front seat to slide/tip forward so that they can reach the door handles and get out. The door handles. Not a hidden pull cable down behind the door speaker, but the handles up above.

    Now yes, if you have the kind of accident where the car is just destroyed and you need to be cut out of the vehicle, the latching system on your vehicle isn't going to matter much. Absolutely. But that's the thing of it: The accident in question here wasn't that kind. Hell, the overwhelming majority of crashes don't even result in such a problem with doors that are pinched shut. But as we have seen with this lesser accident, those Falcon Doors still failed, and became a severe, possibly fatal liability to the passengers inside.

    It's just a bad design all the way around. Perhaps if Tesla had installed a physical linkage from the handles to the latches to "pop" the door open and closed like GM did with their trunk latches, and coupled that with an automatic, physical disconnection of the door motors triggered by the SRS system, they wouldn't be having this problem in the first place.

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