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:

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.

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.

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



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  • 39 Comments
      Peter
      • 3 Years Ago
      I must say Elon has learned from Apple and is amazingly good at generating hype when, really, its business as normal and there is nothing fundamentaly being disclosed that we didn't know. It great to have someone with those type of skills promoting EVs.
      DaveMart
      • 3 Years Ago
      It looks like the better-off will have two great alternatives, the Tesla S and the BMW i3. Cost aside, in many of the cities of Europe it is not easy parking something the size of the S, so many may prefer the more compact i3.
        GoodCheer
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        Good point. I was lucky enough to spend a week in Rome this spring, and I now understand the Smart Car much better. A big part of why it doesn't make sense here is that we have regulated parking, with 20' parking spaces laid out in neat painted lines. Where street parking is unregulated, the ability to slip into a 10' spot can save you 20 minutes of circling the block.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        That sounded other than I intended, Of course, the Tesla has many unique advantages in range etc, so for those for whom parking is not a concern, which presumably includes most of the US for a start, that is a fine choice!
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      I hope they sell many thousands of them. Even though they are high-end autos that are out of the range of most folks, they help build up a market for EV components like batteries, controllers, and motors.
        Timo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Reservations are well over 10000 currently, so I don't think selling several thousands is a problem. Selling 20k+ annually is the goal.
      Tony
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why are all of the AutoGreen articles written with a dose of negativity?
      RB
      • 3 Years Ago
      Grendal, Awesome vid of S1. Thanks for posting. Tesla people, you rock.
      Chris M
      • 3 Years Ago
      Those robots are awesome! Almost as awesome as the cars they are assembling.
      Grendal
      • 3 Years Ago
      And here is a video of the first Model S handed out. The person receiving the car is Tesla investor Steve Jurvetson. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH1LPS4iKzU
      the_dogfather
      • 3 Years Ago
      I haven't paid attention to Dan Neil lately, who does, but does anyone know how he feels now on the subject of tesla and his bet? I'd be worried. If the issue is that the Tesla 'store' isn't really a dealership but the 'ol boys think it should be treated as such I hope the 'ol boys lose, in every way imagineable. Damn, I want a Tesla so much! Anyone wanna go half-sies? :)
        throwback
        • 3 Years Ago
        @the_dogfather
        Depends on how the "store' is incoporated. In another profession I worked with dealers and generally if you are selling cars (that could mean just taking an order) then the state considers you a dealer. It all depends on the state law and how Tesla set-up the store.
          paulwesterberg
          • 3 Years Ago
          @throwback
          I think they have the ordering all online so the "store" does not actually handle the transaction.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      In Massachusetts it looks like even the car dealers go screaming to the government helps rescue them against other mean businesses. Just greeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat.....
        the_dogfather
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Wow, I gave a thumbs up but it went from 0 to -1. Cool feature... :/
        throwback
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        In fairness to the dealers (I know that's not allowed on ABG) Tesla should be required to follow the same laws as other dealers in the state.
          pmpjunkie
          • 3 Years Ago
          @throwback
          as I mentioned before, they are following the same rules. Their showrooms aren't dealerships, they are information only. When a dealer goes to a mall and does a promo display, they are not required to have a shop there either. But as others pointed out, info on here is sloppy at best and pretty negative regarding alternatives in general.
        GoodCheer
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        All companies do that. The bigger the company / industry group, the more they manipulate the government to get what they want. Both campaign donations and the threat/promise of job displacement/addition are hugely drivers of policy.
      Naturenut99
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wish they showed more. I guess stay tuned for next weeks vid...
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love it when my comments are deleted.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        never makes sense either...
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Hi 2WM. Wasn't me! ;-) Have you seen this fold-up electric bike? Looks excellent to me, with real practicality, including a pannier for holding shopping! http://www.itbusiness.ca/it/client/en/home/News.asp?id=67732 'The LIFE in LIFEbike is for lightweight, intelligent, flexible, and electric. Its design features a low centre of gravity that provides safety and agility. At just 15 kg, its easy for most people to pick up and carry around. The design of a larger front wheel and a smaller back wheel makes it portable enough to store in a car, or bring inside the office.'
        the_dogfather
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        It's not just censorship of abusive speech either. I'd love a side discussion with those in 'power' about what stays and what goes and more. Random loss of comments leaves everything to unreal and artificial, IMHO.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Actually, that is presumably the battery, not a pannier. It could do with a way to carry small amounts of shopping.
      Neil Blanchard
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm glad to hear about the Natick MA location (say NAY-tik) -- that is close by where I live. And I know people who might be interested in a Model S... Neil
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