Why Don’t We See More Cars With Gullwing Doors?

Gullwing doors are undeniably cool.  First, some really great cars have had gullwing doors, like the Delorean DMC-12, the Mercedes 300Sl and now, the Tesla Model X crossover (although Tesla calls them “Falcon Wing” doors).   But gullwing doors are more than just a flashy design element that car manufacturers embellish cars with, they are convenient too.  Consider that a gullwing door is much easier to open in a tight parking space then a standard door and you can load a kid into the car without hunching over. You can even drive with them open.  Did we mention that they are really cool?

So why aren’t gullwing doors more popular?  Why don’t we see them on more cars?  After a little research we came up with 3 possible reasons why they are used so infrequently today.

They’re hard to design
It may not seem like a big engineering feat to make a door open up instead of out but there are a few persistent design challenges that plague gullwing doors. The first is that the weight of the door, which is generally significant, has to fight gravity on its way up instead of just pivoting to the side. In order to help out, springs or torsion bars need to be integrated into the door assembly.  Or, in the case of the Tesla X, you can have motors do the lifting for you. In either case, you need to find room for the torsion bars and power assist in the small part of the roof that is not part of the car door, and the car roof structure needs to be specially reinforced to hold all this.  Another design issue is that they have to seal well. Older gullwing designs tended to leak. Even Elon Musk himself mentioned in a press conference that Tesla “has learned a lot about door seals.” Bottom line: more design thought and more technology is involved with gullwing doors.

They can be annoying to use
Gullwing doors aren’t as passenger-friendly as regular car doors.  If you are driving a Tesla X, at least no one has to lift the things, but the owners of gullwing cars are going to be explaining to new passengers how to get in and out vehicle for as long as they own it.  The techs at www.crosstowndcj.com argue that it’s likely too much trouble to explain all the time how the doors work.  On the other hand, some may just find this a necessary part of being the coolest car (and, car owner) on the block.

It’s hard to make them safe
Safety is probably the biggest issue preventing more widespread adoption of gullwing doors. Federal safety regulations require that car doors be designed so occupants aren’t trapped when vehicles are involved in rollover accidents.  This is a non-problem for standard doors but with gullwings, some technical creativity is necessary.  Today, a multiplicity of solutions exist. DeLorean windows, for instance, are designed to be kicked out in case of emergency. On the Mercedes SLS AMG, the gullwing doors are designed  with explosive bolts that blow the door off its hinges if the car rolls over. Regardless of the method, safety is of paramount importance.

So why aren’t gullwing doors more widespread? Obviously some manufacturers have decided that it’s just so much easier not to have them. While they do offer a few benefits—like a whole boatload of cool—most manufacturers have decided they cause more trouble (and cost more money) than they’re ultimately worth. Plus, they probably argue: most drivers don’t even know what they are missing anyway.

Article Source: Crosstown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram

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