Email to George Blankenship & his response

Email to George Blankenship & his response

Like many folks out here, I have called the stores and corporate with questions and get different answers depending on who you talk too. Because of this, I emailed my open questions to George Blankenship last Thursday. I received a quick response two days later. I thought I'd pass along the info...

Provided I'm using the HTML tags correctly, his comments are in italics. :)



Thanks for the note. Nice to hear from you.

Yes, insanely busy, but I still want to get you the best answers possible at the moment.

Please see my inserts below. I know many of the answers are not finalized or specific, but I think it best to tell you where we actually are vs trying to "spin" an answer for you. I'd rather just tell you where we are on each item.

Have a great weekend!


Date: Thursday, September 6, 2012 1:00 PM
To: George Blankenship
Subject: Open Questions concerning the Model S

Mr. Blankenship,

I am reservation holder P2736 and I just received the email to order my Tesla Model S! I called Tesla Motors corporate to get answers to some key questions and was less than impressed with the information provided.

Thank you in advance for reading this email and giving me any insights.

When will I get to test drive a finished production car with all the options prior to ordering?

This depends upon your definition of "all options". We now have a test drive car ready to start test drives in Seattle. It does not show any center console options or rear seat console options. It does not include some of the items in question below. But it is available to test drive and see many features that people are asking about.

When will we get the federal government’s rating for the 60 kWh battery? Should I expect a similar downgrade as was found on the 85 kWh battery?

The Fed rating for the 85kwh battery came out literally days before we started delivering cars. I would expect a similar timeframe for the 60. As for a similar "downgrade", there really was not a "downgrade", it was a change in EPA testing that yielded a different result. They previously used a two cycle test and now use a five cycle test. The battery and car stayed the same, they just got a different, 265 mile, result on a different test. You might find it interesting that Motor Trend just published a story this week that showed how they made a trip from LA to Las Vegas and got over 285 miles both ways. This was in a fully loaded 85 kWh car (with all the heavy options), with 21" wheels and passengers in the car. They would have easily achieved more if they kept the windows up, had less weight in the car and didn't drive up a significant elevation change. They got a lot more than the 265 stated by the EPA, and could have gotten even more if the car was not as heavy and did not climb the hill to Las Vegas.

Sound Studio Package: When will the upgraded stereo be finished and available to the public? The test car I drove had horrible sound quality and was not acceptable for a car in this class.

The sound studio package in Model S is awesome. I got my car 3 weeks ago and have been driving it everyday when not traveling. The sound quality is incredible, among the best I have ever had in a car…and I had a Lexus SC430 with the Mark Levinson stereo. In our most recent software update, we added additional sound adjustment options and "best sound placement options". In short, it is awesome. And listening to internet radio is a joy!

When will we be able to see the final shade bar for the Panoroof? I hope it is not the plastic bar that was in the test car.

I don't think we've had any shades in our test drive cars. We discussed the future shade again in our exec meeting this past Wednesday. We rejected the third option that was presented by the team. I don't have an answer for you at this time on this subject. All I can tell you is that I am driving my car everyday with the panoramic roof and no sun shade and the sun is not a problem at all in the front seats. I think it is more impactful in the back seats. We will begin communicating more about this when we have an option we are happy with. Sorry I can't be more specific than that at this point.

Center and Rear Consoles: When are these expected to be finalized?

I just reviewed options again this morning and gave comments. I really like the way this is going. It is modular and let's customers decide how much of the space they want to use and not use for additional pieces. I don't have a timeline for these yet, but will let everyone know as soon as we have finalized a direction.

Lighted Sun Visors: What is the expected date to be finalized?

Work has progressed well. We are working now with suppliers to finalize timing. It is still several months away from being delivered with the car, but is an item that all cars currently being delivered will have easily retrofit. We are keeping track of all cars without them and will install them as soon as received.

Exterior - I love the way the car looks! I have heard that the carbon fiber accents were being removed for durability issues. If this is the case, what will be used to replace them? This change was announced in a blog back in July.

The only carbon fiber accents being changed are the 1" wide piece below the front air dam and the small piece in the back below the rear valence. It is being replaced with the same material we used on Roadster in these areas. The carbon fiber décor on the inside and carbon fiber spoiler are both still active options on the Performance version. I have the spoiler on my car :)

Thanks again for your time as I know you must be insanely busy!

Geoff2013 | 11 septembre 2012

darn it! I missed a tag...but you get the drift...

TheAustin | 11 septembre 2012

Wow...Awesome that he took the time to write to you, and give you more than just stock, middle of the road answers. Thanks for sharing!

Whity Whiteman | 11 septembre 2012

nice conversation... the Sun Visors seems to be a bigger problem. For me this is no big thing, as long they are on it- and we know: they are! Day and night, so it couldn't be better at this point (got it?).
I hope to get my "S" in March 2013 (European P#502), maybe I'll get one of the first real production- cars and...
Dear George -if You read this- hopefully there will be a "Autobahn-Option", which gives the Performance-S the ability to go 250km/h, like every german midclass-sedan. If You compete with Panamera & Co, then You really need to address this.
Imagine a Model S-Performance on the german highway, where the VW-Golf drives much faster ...
avoid please! If I can go 150-200 Miles under full fire- ahm full Amp, would be perfect!

Thank You Tesla team and sorry for this incomprehensibly bad english =)

ddruz | 11 septembre 2012

Geoff2012--awesome letter you wrote him and great, straightforward responses from George. Thanks so much for posting it.

weeandthewads | 11 septembre 2012

Thank you for posting your email and response. I am impressed with the response. It appears they are proceeding with the intent to swap out or upgrade various items for the early cars. That is a great sign. The only item I would like to see added is some type of Bill Board on the website saying "delivering this week P250 - P300".

smorgasbord | 11 septembre 2012

Keeping my fingers crossed that the sunshade remains deleted, or at least is a deletable option.

Todd Burch | 11 septembre 2012

I agree...Tesla: I cannot find one person who has been in the car and still thinks the sunshade is needed. Get rid of it! The shaded, insulated glass is more than shade enough!

Todd Burch | 11 septembre 2012

Will these retrofits require us to pay Ranger service costs? I sure hope not.

Electric Machete | 11 septembre 2012

Great information. Thanks Geoff for sharing. Thanks GB for the well thought out and prompt response. Much appreciated.

Timo | 11 septembre 2012

Dear George -if You read this- hopefully there will be a "Autobahn-Option", which gives the Performance-S the ability to go 250km/h, like every german midclass-sedan. If You compete with Panamera & Co, then You really need to address this.

I'm not George but I have to point out that this option would not come without price: reduced acceleration.

Car definitely has enough motor power to reach 250km/h, but reason why it doesn't is that at high RPM:s motor torque drops significantly (and you hit the mechanical RPM tolerance too). If you go with lower reduction gear you gain higher speed with same RPM, but it also means lower torque at the wheels which translates to lower acceleration.

I do think this is doable, but you would need to settle with 0-60 in seven or maybe eight seconds to get it (increase in air drag at high speed requires more torque increase than just 1/4 RPM change would give).

sergiyz | 12 septembre 2012

You can't do it well with a single gear, and TM had some issues with two gears before (roadster) and gave up on it.
Unfortunately, if you want to drive at high speeds, you're stuck with ICE at this point.
Besides, between trucks doing 80kmh and passing each other in the left lane, and VW doing maybe 110kmh tops, there are *very* few cars exceeding 200kmh let alone 230kmh and above.
I know since I was one of them ;)
At those speeds you can see fuel level indicator moving as you drive and at €100 to fill up very few can apparently afford it.
That probably explains why about the only car passing me was a Porsche :)
I was driving an A6 and it wouldn't accelerate past 220kmh (137mph).
The top speed for tesla s performance is 130mph, dunno how long it will last at that speed.

Timo | 12 septembre 2012

I'm guessing somewhere around 900-1000Wh/mile at 130mph, so 85miles?

250km/h is closer to 130mph than I realized (time for more coffee). Maybe, just maybe, you could reach that with 0-60 staying under six secs.

Vawlkus | 12 septembre 2012

@Todd Burch
No, it has been stated that upgrades of that sort will be on Tesla's dime and not yours. I'd post a link but my iPhone does NOT make that easy to do :P

Whity Whiteman | 12 septembre 2012

Tesla's CTO once said, that there is nö problem
to shift topspeed for German requirements.
In fact, 230KM/H would be enough. In real world
driving this is usually the maximum speed in german
Do it

Volker.Berlin | 12 septembre 2012

Whity, I do see one problem with those Germans (being one of them): They will go full throttle, particularly when the environmental bad conscience (and the fuel cost) is out of the way. And they may possibly find (speculation) that top speed cannot be sustained over a longer period because some electric component heats up until power is reduced to protect the drive train. Or they will find that sustaining top speed drains the battery to a range of (again, speculation) 120 km. In either case, they won't be happy customers.

Long story short, it may actually be a good idea to restrict top speed to a "reasonable" 200 km/h. You would still be able to use the left lane whenever you like (particularly given the superb passing acceleration of the Model S), but Tesla would protect themselves and yourself from the "problems" (dissatisfaction) outlined above.

Volker.Berlin | 12 septembre 2012

P.S. Do not underestimate the difference between 200 km/h and 230 km/h. The numbers look similar, but aerodynamic drag increases by the square.

mik | 12 septembre 2012

Anyone knows about a GB fanpage ? Volker ?

Captain_Zap | 12 septembre 2012

We made the mistake of renting an economy car in Germany. We had the pedal to the floor the entire time on the Autobahn and we were still being passed as if we were standing still.

One glance in the rear view mirror and there is a barely visible speck (not bacon, a car) on the horizon behind you. By the time you look forward again they were already flying past you in a blur. Surreal.

That is when we figured out the reason why there were no cupholders in our German cars at home.

Volker.Berlin | 12 septembre 2012

One glance in the rear view mirror and there is a barely visible speck (not bacon, a car) on the horizon behind you. By the time you look forward again they were already flying past you in a blur. Surreal. (Captain_Zap)

And burning hydrocarbons like crazy.

That is when we figured out the reason why there were no cupholders in our German cars at home. (Captain_Zap)


Whity Whiteman | 12 septembre 2012

Funny thing about german speed limits is, that the "green-Party" and others among them fight for 120km/h (75MpH)... but if they bring this on in whole germany, there would no more reason to buy german cars. So, it is a special situation and Germany is the only country in the world with this "problem" =)
The point is, the only arguments for speed limits in Germany are environmental ones...
so, pollution and noises... with the S, this all is obsolete

Volker.Berlin | 12 septembre 2012

I don't want to get political, and I admit that I enjoy driving fast on the Autobahn. Nevertheless, let me just quickly state what my inner voice of reason has to say on the matter:

Environmental reasons are not the only reasons why some people push for a speed limit, and even the environmental reasons are not all obsolete with the Model S. I'd be glad if it were that simple, but *sigh* it isn't.

Even the Model S needs energy, and consumes considerable more energy at high speeds. Sustainable energy availability is still very limited, meaning that either you feed your Model S with "dirty" electricity, or you take away sustainable energy from some other use which then has to use "dirty" electricity to make up for it. ("Dirty" being coal or nuclear, which IMO should both be abandoned asap, although for different reasons. That's a discussion in itself.)

Another at least equally important argument for a general speed limit is road deaths. Vehicle safety has come a long way and fortunately we see a generally declining rate of road deaths, but it's still in the 300's every single month (in Germany). That's 300 fathers, mothers or children of someone who loves them and depends on them. Hey, we aren't fighting no frickin' war! The single most effective way to overcome vehicle safety and die in a modern car, is very high speed. At 75 mph, there is a fair chance that either you can avoid an imminent collision altogether -- possibly assisted by various car systems that, e.g., optimize the effectiveness of your braking efforts -- or that you get away with some bruises and maybe a broken bone here or there. At 160 mph (260 kph) -- not so much.

As an environmentally conscious car lover and speed lover with a family to grow, I tell you: Reality sucks! ;-)

Ah, and I don't believe that German cars would sell less if Germany had a general speed limit like every other state in the world. IMO, that's a convenient and widely unvalidated argument used by those who love to speed.

As I said, I don't like getting political and therefore I won't follow up on this topic any more.

Whity Whiteman | 12 septembre 2012

If I go on Öko-Strom in a 5-Star Car with HD-Monitoring, I think- in this case the model-S driver is out of discussion..=) | 12 septembre 2012

@Volker.Berlin Well said.

Whity Whiteman | 12 septembre 2012's getting a little serious here, I think. I'm just kidding. If the topic is "silent super E-cars", the little boy in me wants to play.
Also mal nicht ganz so ernst nehmen- bitte. )

Volker.Berlin | 12 septembre 2012

If the topic is "silent super E-cars", the little boy in me wants to play.

Same here. Einverstanden! :-)

vouteb | 13 septembre 2012

if you 2 keep writing German, maybe time for a German "Bloeg"?


ManuVince | 19 septembre 2012

And anyway, for Germans (and other nearby europeans ;-) ) that have a need for speed, there is better than the autobahn (and safer at very high speed), there is the Nürburgring ! :D

I think Tesla should install a super charger there.

Oups, I think we have drifted completely off topic.

VB to direct me in the right thread in 3..2..1... :-)

txjak | 28 novembre 2012

George's answer to the question about the Fed rating for the P60 sort of begs the question of whether the Fed is waiting until the P60 is ready or Tesla is waiting on the Fed to test it.

Has anybody seen a P60 yet?