2016's Top Ten Tech Cars: Tesla Model X

Just don’t call it a DeLorean

2 min read
2016's Top Ten Tech Cars: Tesla Model X
Photo: Tesla Motors

Video: Tesla Motors

With typical hyperbole, Tesla bills its electric Model X as the fastest, safest, and most capable SUV in history. But it’s the falcon doors that take this seven-passenger electric car literally over the top. Those motorized portals rise and fold on complex hinges to make the second and third rows effortlessly accessible, even in a packed parking lot. And they incorporate ultrasonic and capacitive sensors to avoid dinging other cars or obstacles.

The crowd-pleasing doors suggest other technical wonders within. The Model X may weigh 2,470 kilograms (5,441 pounds). But with supercar-like power [see specs, below]—of which 35 percent comes from a front electric motor and the rest from another at the rear—the Tesla will get to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) in a claimed 3.8 seconds, or 3.2 seconds in its infamous Ludicrous mode. That’s quicker than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Yet the Model X can also cover 414 km—from Frankfurt to Brussels, or Detroit to Toronto—on a single charge. And you can get that charge in 30 minutes using Tesla’s proprietary Supercharger network.

Tesla figures the Model X’s rollover risk is half that of typical large SUVs, because its under-floor battery delivers a limbo-low center of gravity. With no gasoline engine up front, the nose can provide two things: a “frunk” for storage and a giant, energy-absorbing crumple zone.

Price: US $132,000 (P90D version)

Power plant: Dual AC electric motors and lithium-ion battery pack; total 568 kW (762 hp)

Overall fuel economy: 89 mpge, the electric equivalent of one gallon of gasoline (or 2.6 L/100 km)

Like mod diner stools, “monoposto” second-row seats are perched on sturdy motorized pedestals that slide fore and aft and open up bonus room for gear or passengers’ feet. Those falcon doors slide open or closed at the touch of a button. A curving panoramic windshield, the largest on any production car, wraps across part of the roof. A medical-grade HEPA filter sucks up pollen, bacteria, viruses, and pollution.

And in the race toward autonomy, Tesla’s Auto Pilot one-ups the others as the closest thing yet to a self-driving production car. Wrapped in camera, radar, and sonar sensors, the Tesla is the first car to add lane changes to the semi-autonomous repertoire: Flick the turn signal and the Model X checks for an opening and eases left or right. Officially, drivers are supposed to keep mitts on the wheel, but go ahead and try to resist a hands-free, show-offy demo for passengers. “Look, Ma, no hands!”

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Video Friday: TurtleBot 4

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

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Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We'll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!):

Silicon Valley Robot Block Party – October 23, 2021 – Oakland, CA, USA
SSRR 2021 – October 25-27, 2021 – New York, NY, USA

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos.

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Joby Aviation is planning for a 240-kilometer range with its piloted aircraft, carrying up to four passengers.

Joby Aviation

Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for urban commuting are currently under development by more than a dozen different companies. These concepts and prototypes, representing well over a billion dollars of venture capital investment in 2020 alone, promise that sometime in the near future, point-to-point travel between suburbs and urban centers will happen by air using innovative new flying vehicles that are fast, quiet, clean, and far more affordable than a helicopter. United Airlines has ordered 200 eVTOLs. American Airlines has ordered 250, with an option for 100 more. But none of these eVTOL platforms are yet certified to carry passengers, and as a fundamentally different approach to flight, there are still open questions about safety.

A significant difference in safety that separates many eVTOL designs from traditional aircraft (namely, airplanes and helicopters) is that eVTOLs often don't have a good way of passively generating lift in the event of a power system failure. An airplane can rely on its wings to provide lift even if it has no operational engines, and in several cases large passenger airliners with multiple engine failures have been able to make controlled long-distance glides to land safely. Similarly, helicopters can autorotate, using the unpowered rotor to generate enough lift to make a controlled descent and landing.

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EP29LPSP: Applications in Plasma Physics, Astronomy, and Highway Engineering

Ideal for demanding cryogenic environments, two-part EP29LPSP can withstand temperatures as low as 4K

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Since its introduction in 1978, Master Bond EP29LPSP has been the epoxy compound of choice in a variety of challenging applications. Ideal for demanding cryogenic environments, two-part EP29LPSP can withstand temperatures as low as 4K and can resist cryogenic shock when, for instance, it is cooled from room temperature to cryogenic temperatures within a 5-10 minute window. Optically clear EP29LPSP has superior physical strength, electrical insulation, and chemical resistance properties. It also meets NASA low outgassing requirements and exhibits a low exotherm during cure. This low viscosity compound is easy to apply and bonds well to metals, glass, ceramics, and many different plastics. Curable at room temperature, EP29LPSP attains its best results when cured at 130-165°F for 6-8 hours.

In over a dozen published research articles, patents, and manufacturers' specifications, scientists and engineers have identified EP29LPSP for use in their applications due to its unparalleled performance in one or more areas. Table 1 highlights several commercial and research applications that use Master Bond EP29LPSP. Table 2 summarizes several patents that reference EP29LPSP. Following each table are brief descriptions of the role Master Bond EP29LPSP plays in each application or invention.

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