2013 Tesla Model S: Taking Delivery
February 28, 2013
There are two ways to pay for and take delivery of your new 2013 Tesla Model S. Tesla will bring it to you or you can do what we did and pick it up at the company's assembly plant in Fremont, CA and drive it home.
Surely we understood the irony of taking two Lincoln Town Cars and a Boeing 737 to pick up our new electric vehicle, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity to see where the cars are built and to test Tesla's Supercharger network, which includes several locations between Fremont and our Santa Monica office.
We arrived at the huge facility, which was once owned and operated by Toyota, just before our appointment time of 9:00 a.m. We were greeted by delivery experience specialist Matt Alcorn, who was friendly, accommodating and extremely knowledgeable about Tesla, the Model S and the facility.
After some small talk, we took him up on some coffee and got down to business. Matt graciously accepted our $110,750 check, asked us to sign a few pieces of paper and the car was ours.
Within minutes were into the next room, where the car was displayed like sculpture on the world's whitest floor. It was plugged into the wall, and there were droplets of water remaining in the door jambs from a recent bath. There were 50 miles on its odometer. According to Matt every car gets a shake down on a small test track on the grounds of the plant.
It was also just as we had ordered it months before: Blue, sunroof, 21-inch wheels, Tan Performance interior, Obeche Wood Matte Interior décor, Tech Package, Sound Studio Package, Rear Facing Seats and Twin Chargers.
The education began. Over the next 30 minutes Matt walked us through every aspect of the car, politely answering our stupid questions along the way. He explained all of the controls and subsystems. Taught us how to plug it in. And got the Tesla app fired up on our iPhones. There was a lot to learn, but Matt made it easy. He even helped us pair our phones to the sedan's Bluetooth.
Then we toured the assembly plant, which was originally built in 1960. Tesla is building 40 cars a day now, and we witnessed the entire process, from stamping aluminum fenders to the upholstery shop to final assembly and inspection. As expected, robots and enormous machines do much of the work, but there are also many human hands on the cars. Portions of the sedan's floor are even welded manually and we watched people hand finish freshly stamped aluminum hoods.
Unfortunately, no pictures are allowed inside the plant.
Big place. An hour later, we were ready to hit the road for Santa Monica. With smiles on our faces, Matt's cell phone number in our pocket and the Tesla Supercharger at Harris Ranch programmed into the car's navigation system, we pulled out into a light rain and pointed it southbound.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief