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Tesla Owner's Delivery Story, Factory Tour, and First Impressions

Discussion in 'Model S: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by Owner, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    #1 Owner, Feb 7, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
    Cross posted from my 3 1/2 year + blog.

    I picked up my car at the factory and took a tour. What a fun experience for myself and 3 companions. We had a tour with I think 10 folks and a great guide.

    When you drive up to the entrance there are several gates listed but no number 5 as is listed on their web page. But the missing gate number 5 is the main gate listed between gate 4 and gate 6. Upon entering the Main Gate, there is a sign that says you are entering a US Free Trade Zone. Neither the guard nor the employees knew what this sign meant. One of the oddest things is they have an archaic sign in station for visitors that is cumbersome and silly unlike everything else Tesla does.

    The tour itself was fabulous. We were not allowed to take photos. It lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes. Our group had a lot of questions. The guide avoided answering questions such as "How many cars are you building now?", "How are the batteries put inside the steel frame?" and "What is the base operating system of the touch screen?" Look to the images on below to get some serious hints on the third question.

    flashplayer1.jpg

    safari1.jpg

    A lot of employees on bicycles and scooters as the place is gigantic. The factory still has a lot of items left over from the NUMI days, and Tesla has made use of a lot of things that were left behind.

    We all loved watching the robots, which are the German Kuku brand. Tesla still has a lot of employees doing manual assembly work putting in the wires into the frame and other tasks. Some of these tasks cannot be automated. Most employees seemed super serious and intense about their job. The employees were mostly male, although there were definitely more than a few female ones, and mostly on the younger side of the scale.

    Interesting facts learned during the tour:

    1. The Palo Alto development location will continue to exist. Rumors that everyone is moving to Fremont is not true.

    2. Green and Brown are rare colors.

    3. The battery weighs the same for 60KW and 85KW. Dead cells are put into the 60KW battery in order to keep the weight the same. This odd feature is to avoid performing two sets of crash tests.

    4. The window glass except for the panoramic roof are tinted green. The green is not visible to the naked eye when installed in a single thickness on the car. In the factory they are stacked up in a line, and they are very green.

    The car delivery was very nice in our own little bay.

    deliverybay.jpg

    With four of us, we went over all the detailing and mostly found bits of dirt or wax and one tiny spot on the side of the car. The spot is very hard to see or photograph even with my SLR but the delivery specialist did put it down for the service guys to fix. The car had quite a bit of dust and wax. A little better of a final cleanup would have been appreciated.

    Also when I turned it on the Air Suspension rose up. He said this would not happen again and was an anomaly. The car had only 11 miles on the odometer.

    They unfortunately did not deliver my Roadster to Model S adapter for charging! So I have to charge with 110 until it arrives. I also have no idea of an estimated arrival time, and do not have a designated contact to ask. I think this process needs improvement.

    I would also have appreciated an email confirmation when Tesla received my money via wire transfer.

    First Impressions Driving the Model S

    1. It is super comfortable for four people.

    2. The car is super quiet. With the windows rolled up we could not hear the nearby 880 freeway.

    3. The sound system is wonderful. I was singing all the way home. Occasionally the bluetooth connection broke up for a few seconds. I think the overall experience is great particularly since the car is so quiet. I did get the upgraded system and do not regret the dollars.

    4. The car is very quick to accelerate. As a Roadster owner, I did notice that the first second feels slower than the Roadster both with my non-performance and the performance during the test drive. My companions thought I was a little nuts, but I could definitely feel the difference. I suspect difference is mostly due to the huge difference in weight and the feel of the car. The Model S feels like I am almost mid air even with sport suspension on. Not in the same way as cars of yesteryear where you were on a pillow that floated around a bit, but almost mid-air. With the Roadster, you feel every nook and cranny and get more noise feedback from the environment. You definitely hear the inverter squeal when flooring it on the Model S. I feel like I am in my little happy bubble.

    I did save the 10K on getting a performance model though. I just couldn't justify this cost for the performance version for a one second experience. If that were the only important criteria, I should keep the Roadster. I found with the Roadster during regular driving, there were so few times where you could accelerate from a dead stop to beyond 40mph due to other cars around.

    5. I also noticed a large difference in the feel of regenerative braking versus the Roadster. With the Roadster, you feel like the car immediately stops. Due to the weight of the Model S, this feeling is diminished.

    6. The road to my house has a 17% grade for about 1/4 of a mile, which is very difficult to ride a bike up. The car accelerated up like a dream. On the downhill, the behavior seems tuned quite different than the Roadster, and I have not been able to quantify it yet.

    7. I went on a few winding roads and love the way it handles with the 21" wheels.

    8. I did try the AM radio. It had some static but was stronger than the Roadster AM signal, which I reported many issues with on this blog. I did try to use the internet streaming version, but I was not successful due to the problems in the first two pictures in this post.

    9. I still have new car smell on the exterior. My garage smells different!

    10. So far I really like the climate control. I drove for a bit on a sunny 58 degree Fahrenheit day with the panoramic roof open and the heater on to get just a bit of sun. The cabin stayed warm, and the sun felt good for ten minutes even on the freeway.

    11. I spent some time talking to folks already about the car. I was visiting a friend at a hospital 30 miles away from home, and asked them to point me to the visitor entrance. Once I spoke to them, they asked me a few questions about the car.

    12. The navigation worked as advertised. I didn't really need it but decided to play with it. It does give me a very odd way to leave my street and get out on the main road via two other streets that no other navigation package has done: my Roadster, my former Mercedes, my Highlander, Mapquest nor Google.

    Gratuitous photo of the car going to its new home.

    houseback.jpg


    newhome.jpg

    As I mentioned before, they did not deliver my adapter, and my laundry room is in the center of the house, so I am on 110 for a while. I will need to keep the car plugged in at all times in order to keep a good charge.

    lonelyplug.jpg

    charging110.jpg
     
  2. markb1

    markb1 Active Member

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    Great report!

    Not only this, but on the drop down for reason for visit, there's no option for taking delivery!
     
  3. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    Thanks. Was a bit of work to put together, and I know how folks on the forum seem to enjoy these stories.

    I didn't go into detail about that horrible sign in machine. It was so 1980s! And yes, no option for "delivery" and you had to find your delivery specialist on the huge list.

    The "tour guide", who clearly does more than give tours, was clearly very well aware and embarrassed about the sign in system. I typed in the names for all four of us, and he did all the scrolling....
     
  4. rlpm

    rlpm S P85 | Sig X _P90D_

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    #4 rlpm, Feb 7, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
    Excellent post, thanks!

    Free trade zone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It means goods can come in from other countries and go out to other countries w/o going through customs.
     
  5. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

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  6. tomanik

    tomanik Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experience!

    "3. The battery weighs the same for 60KW and 85KW. Dead cells are put into the 60KW battery in order to keep the weight the same. This odd feature is to avoid performing two sets of crash tests."

    Until someone puts a 60kwh or 40kwh on a scale I guess we are never really going to know the real answer to this questions.
     
  7. Jaff

    Jaff Active Member

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    Thanks for the report Owner...well said.

    Bummer about the adapter...My electrician stood me up for a week...charging on 110v gave my wife charge anxiety in addition to her (newbie) range anxiety...she's been driving electric for almost two months now and over both...

    A question though...I totally agree about the Roadster regen being significantly stronger...is it in fact due to the Roadster weighing less than the Model S, or is the Roadster regen just set to a stronger level?
     
  8. grisnjam

    grisnjam P6316

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    According to this post: 60 kwh vs 85 khw - Page 5

    I had a plan to actually weigh my 60 and a similarly optioned 85 to find out for sure ... maybe I should go though with it.
     
  9. Kaivball

    Kaivball Member

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  10. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    Hmm.... I hadn't been following this discussion before. My first thought is maybe they are both right. I don't know how they weigh different models. The curb weight is 183 pounds lighter according to the Tesla contact through ddruz. Is that really the battery or some other option missing?

    Let me describe more about what the guide explained.

    We stopped and looked at the battery casings for quite a while. Despite the earlier "don't touch anything" comment, he allowed us to touch the battery casings which were stacked up. He explained they were steel and the great crash proof ratings for the Model S. And that they didn't want to crash proof multiple models. They seemed to be avoiding worrying about the 40kW crashing testing at the moment.

    We were a bit curious how they got the actual batteries into this steel cage with a bunch of circular holes. We wondered "Could we go take a look at that process?" The answer was no, that was all top secret.

    But the guide did have a friend working there, whom he had helped get the job at Tesla. The guide himself had seen the process but did not divulge any secrets. So my gut feeling is that he knew what he was talking about. Perhaps more so than another communications employee, who was quoting numbers from some internal documents?
     
  11. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    I think it is the weight. That's why the Roadster is so screaming fast from zero, and has that ultra regen experience.

    I'm actually doing okay with the 110 so far. Its been raining and I didn't want to get the car dirty! I know silly me.
     
  12. president_ltd

    president_ltd Member

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    Not quite correct.
    The green tinge in glass is because of the iron content in glass. Probably every window in your house is the same - but you simply don't see it because you need multiple panes of glass stacked for the green to show.
    You can see it if you can see the 'edge' of the glass.

    Its possible to get "low iron" glass that is clear (or less iron = less green) however its not really necessary or desirable in a car.
     
  13. AB4EJ

    AB4EJ Member

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    Some additional info on this (I worked for PPG Industries for a couple years, making car windows) - they add extra iron to tinted car glass, which tints it and reduces air conditioning load during hot summer days. Many car makers used to charge extra for this, even though the tinted glass is cheaper to manufacture (it has a better yield during the tempering process, as it absorbs heat better from the furnace). I think now that tinted glass is standard in most cases, as it goes with A/C. (Not to be confused with the type of dark tint that is an applied plastic sheet).
     

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