Elon Musk admits the 'very foolish' mistakes he made with the Tesla Model X

Elon Musk in quotesGetty Images/Reuters

Tesla boss Elon Musk admits he got several things wrong with the company's flagship car, the Model X. The billionaire entrepreneur, who has previously blamed "hubris" for the car being delayed, said making the car as complex as it is was "very foolish".

Speaking at a shareholder meeting on 6 June, Musk also said Tesla's move away from complexity would mean the upcoming Model Y uses its own chassis and platform, instead of sharing with the Model 3 as the Model X does with the Model S.

In fact, the way the S and X share the same platform - a logical and cost-saving move made by many car manufacturers who produce similar vehicles on the same chassis - was key to the Model X's delayed launch, Musk said, reports The Verge.

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"There are a number of really major manufacturing improvements that can be done that allow us to build a car in a way that a car's never been built before," Musk said, adding: "I think actually we made a mistake in trying to derive the Model X from the Model S platform."

Musk went on: "It would have been better to just design an SUV the way an SUV should be designed, [and] design a sedan the way a sedan should be designed. Otherwise you're just trying to shoehorn something in that doesn't make sense."

'Something as complex as the Model X should perhaps not be made again'

Another mistake Tesla made with the Model X was to offer buyers too many customisation options at launch, adding yet more complexity to the production line and slowing down the delivery of early cars. For the Model 3, which is due out later in 2017, Musk is changing tact.

"I should say that we've kept the initial configurations of the Model 3 very simple. A big mistake we made with the X, which is primarily my responsibility, there was way too much complexity right at the beginning. That was very foolish."

One of the Model X's most complex features is its falcon-wing rear doors, which open up and out to give improved access to the second and third rows of seats. They do just that, but can be slow to operate and are difficult to use in tight parking space.

A candid Musk went on: "[Model X] is like a Fabergé egg of cars. It's really an amazing product, but it has way too many cool things in it that should have really been rolled in with version two, version three. We got overconfident and created something great that probably will never be made again. And perhaps should not be."

Autopilot development has been a tough slog

Finally, the Tesla boss addressed his company's split with Mobileye, the Israeli software company it worked with to create its Autopilot self-driving system. Mobileye's walking away from Tesla left the car maker to design its own autonomous technologies, right as it has begun producing cars carrying hardware for Autopilot 'version two'. The driving ability of these cars has only just caught up with that of the version one vehicles, but Musk says soon they will overtake and put Tesla back in the fast lane to full autonomy.

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"It's definitely been a tough slog transitioning from the Mobileye vision chip to Tesla's integrated vision system, but I think we're almost there in terms of exceeding the ability of the hardware one cars," Musk said. "I think with the next release of software, which is maybe as soon as next week, we will finally exceed the experience of the hardware one cars, and then it's going to advance very rapidly from there."

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