At the factory tour / Model S beta reveal, they had 3 cars for rides: Red <- the most finished best example I think. White <- alternate options, maybe not the same first choices as on the red Black <- said to be some sort of engineering prototype, so not in as perfect shape as the other two. I noticed this picture on flickr: Which shows this exif info: Taken April 10, 2011 at 3.35am PDT Uploaded June 6, 2011 at 12.23PM PDT So that is like a long time ago in Model S prototype history. The picture looks a lot like the Beta prototypes they just showed. The tail lights in particular with the charge port flap shape and all that. Could it be that the black one was really an "Alpha" but had been sort of slowly hand built up to be the template for the Betas? Then the white and red were made as more perfect new copies of the black one as they get things more production ready? I don't know, just a historical footnote. But the above picture seems a little curious if it is really that old and been online all this time as we speculated what Beta might look like. I think the same photo got reused here: http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/heros/models_hero_3_2.jpg Maybe, a while back, there was some photoshop work done on an Alpha photo to make it look like what the Beta would become?