The big drawback of doors that open like wings—the Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS has them, as did the DeLorean—is they require a lot of room to open, so you’re always worried about hitting something. Tesla got around this by double-hinging the doors, and fitting each with an ultrasonic sensor and putting a third on the roof. They scan the area around the vehicle to determine how much space there is, then adjust the “span” and open accordingly.
It sounds complicated as hell, and it is, but it works beautifully. Tesla engineers say the doors can open with as little as 12 inches on each side of the vehicle—then proved it by having us park between two cars. The mirrors on the X were mere inches from those of the car on either side, yet the doors opened flawlessly. Capacitive sensors in the edges of each door sense obstacles within 2 to 4 inches, so you don’t have to worry about a descending door whacking your head or crushing your fingers.
That was something that I worried about – not everyone has an incredibly spacious garage. Although, to be fair, most of the people willing to drop more than $100,000 on a car probably do.