If over 10,000 Tesla Model S pre-order customers have had to wait until June 22, and beyond before getting their new car, it’s unlikely they will say Tesla has not been willing to engage, inform, and entertain them as they patiently stand in their virtual queue.
Perhaps taking lessons from Tom Sawyer, Tesla is turning the wait into anticipation of a gratifying experience that may be all the better than instant gratification might have been if it had been possible.
Specifically, the company is doing one blog post a week called “Inside Tesla” leading up to its first June deliveries. The posts are a continuation of Tesla’s efforts to share background and other info in a positive way intended to makes prospective owners feel important and involved.
This week’s episode is about its Fremont, Calif. factory’s stamping process for “the most innovative cars of the 21st century” as Tesla describes the S, and its soon-to-be live configurator that will enable customers to fully spec every last detail of their Model S online.
As the video shows, the steel-reinforced aluminum car has its body panels stamped from what started as a coil of aluminum sheet that weighs 10 tons, and is stamped by a die weighing 40 tons.
Rather than outsource this, Tesla has chosen to do it in house in a process that can turn out ready to paint doors, hoods, etc., says George Blankenship, Vice President, worldwide sales and ownership experience.
“Our Press Line is the largest of its kind in North America and is capable of producing one part every six seconds,” Blankenship writes. “Our state-of-the-art Kuka robots move aluminum blanks into the press, and then, using over one thousand tons of force, the blank is formed, trimmed and pierced.”
Tesla will also soon put a greater sense of control and involvement in its customer’s hands by launching an online “Design Studio” that lets them pick powertrain option, paint color, trim, and all other optional details.
Previously, this was only something that could be done in-store at one of its 22-plus dealers or on the phone with a Tesla representative. Customers can still order at a dealer or via phone, but they will also be able to do it from a computer.
“It provides an easy way to configure your Model S when the all-important email saying, ‘It’s Time to Build Your Model S’ arrives!,” Blankenship writes. “Approximately four months prior to delivery of your Model S, Tesla will let you know that it’s time to send YOUR order to the factory.”
Tesla has said the first 1,200 deliveries of 85-kwh Signature Series S models will begin next month and its newsletter has a countdown timer presently showing 23 days plus hours, minutes, seconds as well, all to heighten the drama.
After the pre-ordered 85-kwh models go out, following will be 60-kwh, then 40-kwh models, and the company expects about 5,000 total cars will go home with customers by the end of this calendar year.
This means at least 5,000 people have close to half a year or longer to continue waiting on orders that began lining up some time back.
But it will all be worth it, Tesla says, and to be sure, we know it can be a truism that anticipating something can make finally receiving it seem all the sweeter.
Also true is that pre-order customers knew they’d be on hold when they signed up, but Tesla is doing all it can to cultivate its waiting list, trying to make them feel special, and certainly not in any way inconvenienced.