Additional scoop from Santana Row visit today

Additional scoop from Santana Row visit today

I'm in the Bay Area on business and stopped by the Santana Row store as I had never seen the Model S in person let alone sat in the seat. I'll spare everybody the personal commentary (other than the panoramic roof being really cool and the sloping roof in the rear seats a potential headroom issue--I'm 6'). Three interesting tidbits came out that I don't remember seeing earlier:
1. Design elements, including paint, leather and dashboard accents, should be in the Santana Row store in 10-12 days. They will be on a tray and can be taken outside to view in sunshine/street lights. I don't know the rollout schedule for other stores.
2. The interior configurations in the design studio will go online at the same time.
3. There is a planned event to offer test drives at the factory, on the banked track, in late April or early May.

Can't vouch for the accuracy of the facts but can vouch for the accuracy of the transcription ;-)

mvbf | February 29, 2012

Thanks for the scoop JohnQ.

BYT | February 29, 2012

I am so there for the planned test drives at the factory!! It's going to be a fun summer gentlemen, I'm excited, can't you tell?

phb | February 29, 2012

Hot damn! I hope you're right about all of that! I'm itching to see the final design studio online and getting a test drive would be pretty epic.

Crow | February 29, 2012

I dunno, sounds like 2 more weeks to me. That's what they've been saying for over a month. Bla, bla, bla. Now that I have that out of my system.....woo hoo!

Sudre_ | February 29, 2012

checks in the mail!

olanmills | February 29, 2012

Might be a good excuse to visit SF again, though I'm still hoping they'll have test drives in Bellevue.

JohnQ | February 29, 2012

@Kroneal Yes, we've heard the "just a few more weeks" rumors for quite a while now, I find it interesting that it's coupled with the arrival of the interior elements in the store. Lends more credibility in my opinion. I was told that the left wall (as you're entering the store) will be redesigned to hold the swatches, paint chips (hopefully panels), etc.

@olanmills Store based test drives were mentioned but the timing wasn't specific.

Brian H | February 29, 2012

Just nobody test out the "frunk crumple zone" feature ...
8-0 !!

blurry_eyed | February 29, 2012

I also heard something similar from the Bellevue Square store yesterday. A new car will replace the beta on display in about 2 weeks and the complete design center will go online around the same time. Sounds like the assembly line producing near final production cars now!

The test track drives would be a nice excuse to go to the factory again. Maybe they would offer tours of the production line for those who elect to take a factory test drive?

Maestrokneer | February 29, 2012

Great report JohnQ! Let's hope it's all true.

brianman | March 1, 2012

I hear the next version of ___ will be out in "about two weeks."

^ Getting old.

ManuVince | March 1, 2012

Agreed brianman, yet another "it will be ready in about 2 weeks " pile of crap...
Come on Tesla, bring it on ! Spring is in 3 weeks, not much time left to keep your deadline. By the way Saying "coming soon - this winter" and then doing it at the very end of the winter is complete bullshit...

Robert.Boston | March 1, 2012

I was told at the Boston beta event that there would be local test drives of a Model S in "late spring".

Mycroft | March 1, 2012

Cut some slack guys. If they could have done it sooner, they certainly would have.

BYT | March 1, 2012

@Mycroft, I hear you but I also understand some of the frustration. If they didn't care, they wouldn't be so emotional about it and I totally understand that as well. I'll be honest, I can't wait either and the raping of my wallet at the gas pumps lately just compound that for me.

Crow | March 1, 2012

I actually think what's going on is that TM is proactively preparing their responses to every possible over-reaction in these forums to the design center, once released. I imagine George B's team is holed up in the "Denial" conference room formulating preemptive responses to the anticipated bat sh!t crazy questions and freak outs from us. They must be having some fun.

P.S. that was a joke. I am not calling anyone crazy, insane, or nuts.

BYT | March 1, 2012

@Kroneal, but you though it! ;)

David70 | March 1, 2012


Not crazy, just obsessive.

brianman | March 1, 2012

To be clear, my concern was not about the timing of when they actually release these things. My concern was/is about setting expectations.

Using "It'll be ready in two weeks" to mean "sometime more than a day, and less than your lifetime" is the kind of statement I expect from a house subcontractor or mechanic, not from Tesla.

prash.saka | March 1, 2012

"In two weeks" is certainly better than "late spring".

And I so can't wait to see the design studio (and waste so much time on that, configuring and de-configuring and re-configuring the model S).

stephen.kamichik | March 1, 2012

When the design studio comes out, I am sure that some of us will criticize it.

petero | March 1, 2012

Rash.saka. Waste more time – Really! We all are going to configure-deconfigure-reconfigure… until our “S” arrives.

Sorry, as fanatics, that is what we do.

Robert.Boston | March 1, 2012

The best news from this thread, IMO, is that the real-life exterior and interior samples will be arriving soon to Tesla stores. I have a fairly clear idea of what options I'm getting, and most of the places where I'm undecided, the Design Studio won't help. I'm severely conflicted about paint colors, however, and I simply don't trust computer rendering enough to make my choice without seeing real samples in a variety of lighting conditions (particularly natural daylight). Thank you, Tesla, for making the chips portable!

gagliardilou | March 1, 2012

I was just about to start a new thread on when will the design studio be ready!!! This is great news - two weeks will come fast. I have had the fortunate ability to see the white beta and the sig red beta - I would like to see them again but I thought the white looked nicer. I agree with RB that, even though I am looking forward to the design studio, I just feel it is not as good as seeing it live. Even with the paint chips in the daylight - that is not as good as seeing the whole car in that color. What are we first adopters to do.?

Robert.Boston | March 1, 2012

There are black, Sig red, and pearl white cars out there, so the real early adopters -- Sig reservation holders -- could at least in principle see 3 of their 4 options. And silver isn't hard to imagine.

But I agree, lgagliardi, people (like me) with low P number and who want a non-Sig color are at a disadvantage. I would strongly prefer to be able to see the colors on a full car, but I don't see any way for that to happen. If you felt strongly enough, you could exercise your option to delay, but I'm eager to have my car ASAP.

Soflauthor | March 1, 2012

As an aside, has anyone seen a "tan" interior on any Beta that's been displayed at the stores or in Fremont?

If you have, did the tan look "dark" (coffee with lots of cream) or "light" (beach sand) when you saw it in person?

gagliardilou | March 1, 2012

RB I'm with ya. I am a very visual person and would REALLY want to see the car in the color first BUT I would not pro-long my wait. I would just pick the one I liked off the paint chips - in the daylight of course.:)

Peak Oil bruin | March 1, 2012

Took all the paint chips out in sunlight a few months ago at the Oak Brook, IL store- IMO, not that helpful. Even though the green and blue look very gray-blackish, I'm probably going to go basic black on the exterior.

David70 | March 1, 2012

On paint color, the only thing I'm certain of yet is that I want metallic. I'm glad portable samples will be available in the stores soon.

Brian H | March 1, 2012

Wasn't there some statement earlier in a review that there were about 20-30 cars already off the production line, with a total of about 80 to be on hand for test drives etc.?

Or maybe I'm hallucinificating.

Crow | March 1, 2012

I'll have whatever Brian H is having. What are those, 'shrooms?

olanmills | March 2, 2012

I'm pretty sure, in fact, that Elon said the opposite. That they would focus on delivering the first customer orders on time, and so wouldn't produce a bunch of vehicles early for the purpose of reviews etc.

David den Boer | March 2, 2012

I actually looked at the paint samples for the S at the Menlo store a few weekends ago. Took them outside to see in the sun, and settled on pearl white or blue (ie. I did not settle on either and am still undecided).

Brian H | March 2, 2012

Not for reviewers, for purchaser/potential purchaser test drives. I think Elon/TM want to present the reviewers with a fait accompli, pretty much. After all, they have no need of positive reviews to get the first 10,000 cars out the door and onto the roads; that's already a given!

jackhub | March 3, 2012

I was at Santana Row today. Michael, the Tesla rep said that the mileage ranges in the specs are for the 19" wheels. The 21" wil be about 5% less because of the wider tread- more road contact.

nhurst | March 3, 2012

jackhub - I don't understand. It seems to me that the total contact patch must be the same for any tires since the supported weight is the same and presumedly the sidewalls support negligable weight.

Tom A | March 3, 2012

This thread reminds me of something I wanted to pass on to the community: I was at the DC store last weekend to see the Model S powertrain display. Very cool. So neat to be able to walk right up and spin a tire.

The sales rep told me a few interesting things:

1) the air suspension will be able to raise the car to 8" clearance, and lower the car to 4" clearance. The 8" is news to me. Will that be enough to clear your driveway, Timo? :)

2) a pearl white Model S beta will be in the DC store from this Sunday through next Sunday (3/4-3/11). I'll be there probably Saturday, the 10th, as soon as they open (10am, I think).

Brian H | March 3, 2012

Tire contact varies with the width of the tire. Consider a bicycle tire instead of the 21"!!
The whole point of the wider tire is more contact and better grip.

wtrask4 | March 3, 2012

8-inches, maximum height... that's not bad.

A Toyota 4Runner only has 9-inches!

That means the Model S should have plenty of Ground Clearance!!!

I'd like to see the official word on this 8-inch maximum clearance for Air Suspension.

Schlermie | March 3, 2012

Tom A,
4 inches is pretty low. That would look really cool on the freeway.. I read 5.2" would be as low as it would go though.

William13 | March 4, 2012

@sofler... The tan interior is a very light tan on the sample at the factory event. On the club forum a large number have been advocating a "saddle" color leather option.

Soflauthor | March 4, 2012

@William13: Thx, that's what I was afraid of. I'm one of those who have been in favor of saddle. We'll see if TM responds, but it doesn't look good.

Robert.Boston | March 4, 2012

I've given up hope on factory-installed saddle leather for my P1635. One useful thing I've learned from you all is that there are good after-market alternatives to customize the interior. I'll probably live with the tan ("Mojave") for a year or so and then decide whether to rip it out and put in something darker. (That will also let my finances rebound from the purchase cost!)

Soflauthor | March 4, 2012

@R.B: That's going to be my strategy as well. I'll probably configure black leather, and after a year or two (or sooner if it's unbearably hot in summer), I'll rip it out and install saddle. If however, TM makes the serious mistake of not providing a center console (CC) or a CC option (I'm cautiously hopeful on that), I'll have one fabricated to my design within a month of buying the car.

Robert.Boston | March 4, 2012

@sofl: Lacking a factory CC option, I think there will be many of us looking for creative designs to fill that void. I'll rely on people like you and will happily pay the person with the best design for my needs.

Volker.Berlin | March 5, 2012

Re: Air suspension maximum height... There has been a letter by Tesla's Walter Franck (Ownership Experience Advocate) dated Nov 2011 quoted at TMC:

There it says:

Dynamics on how the active air suspense will handle when corning is to be announced, but I can expand upon the height levels. Manual Adjustments are as follows:
Normal height = 6”High Level 1 = 0.90” taller; When the vehicle accelerates above 19 mph, the clearance adjusts back to Normal height.High level 2 = 1.3” above Standard and can be used for ascending a steep driveway or fording deep snow. Clearance reverts to High Level 1 above 10 mph.Low Level = 0.79” under Standard; Active Air Suspension will automatically lower the vehicle for highway driving to improve aerodynamics. Low Level is also accessible from the touchscreen for loading/unloading of passengers. When the vehicle begins driving the clearance adjusts back to Normal height.The suspension will also self-level the car. For example if you load a lot of weight in the trunk the vehicle will remain level.

This totals a maximum clearance of 7.3". Given the accuracy of the numbers quoted, I give them more credibility than the purported 8" number -- but that's close enough, probably not a huge difference in practice.

brianman | March 5, 2012

We got a lot of mileage out of Mr. Franck's responses that day.

Maybe I should start assembling another list to bide the time as we get anxious about July.

My5bAby | March 6, 2012

My question is how much is lowering the car by .79" predicted to affect range?


Tom A | March 6, 2012

After that release with the specific heights, it does seem strange that they would just change it, over such a short period of time, to 4" and 8" clearances. I just passed along what the rep at the DC store said, just to see if anyone had come across the same information.

mvbf | March 6, 2012

Didn't Elon mention something like a "water card" in an investors meeting when asked how he would deal with the model x stealing some of the model s reservations? It might have that effect on me anyway. I prefer the clearance and awd option the x has but do not want to wait 2 years. Maybe 8 inches would help me rationalize going through with the s reservation instead of deciding to wait for the X. FYI the mud and ruts are beginning to get deep on VT dirt roads.