Two steps forward, one step back. Or maybe that should be 5,000 steps forward, a few steps back.
In just 16 days, Tesla Motors plans on delivering the first Model S vehicles to customers (which, we believe, will end up costing Dan Neil $1,000, but no one is responding to our questions about that bet. In any case, CEO Elon Musk and other big investors are already driving theirs). Today, Tesla has got more good news in its latest "Tesla Tuesday" video, and the headline number is that the company plans to offer 5,000 test drives in 45 days during the "Get Amped Model S Tour."
Anyone who has reserved a Model S will get first crack at these drives, which start the day after deliveries begin. Each test drive will last around eight minutes and, at the first stop near the Tesla factory in Fremont, CA, anyway, "the course offers a variety of experiences that include freeway driving, long sweepers, tight turns, smooth and rough roads, and general urban driving." Reservation holders will be getting emails about the tour soon.
In the video below, you can see the Model S being made, picking up where last week's video left off. Moving from the stamping are, the Model S bodies are put together in the Tesla Body Center. Like last week, there are mechanical workers involved:
It's not all good news in Teslaville, though. In Natick, MA, the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and some Natick auto dealerships are questioning whether Tesla's store license there "should be revoked because the company has not met relevant state laws." The rub is that Tesla is not planning to offer any service at the Natick Mall location, since that location will be more a showroom than a dealership. Tesla has always wanted a more hands-on approach to selling cars, opting to set up a network of Apple Store-like dealerships and showrooms. An attorney for the dealers wrote to the town, saying, "We want to ensure that Tesla complies with all the same requirements that our new car dealership members are required to comply with. We want to work with the town to make sure everyone is treated fairly." The store would be Tesla's first Massachusetts location.
At each station, robots build a unique sub-assembly and then transfer it to the Body Framing Line where it is joined with other sub-assemblies from parallel stations. The robotic arms of our Body Framing Line bond, rivet and weld sub-assemblies into the iconic form of Model S.
Welcome to "Inside Tesla." This series of Tuesday updates is designed to take you behind the scenes of Model S production as we count down the days to our first deliveries.
For more information, visit www.teslamotors.com/model-s-has-arrived