Production quality

Production quality

From the 2012 annual shareholder meeting: "We don't do statistical testing, we do literal testing, where every car is tested before it gets to the customer. Our aspiration is not to have a low defect rate, it's to have no defect rate." (Elon)

He also relates to the fact the Steve and he himself received their cars a few weeks before the public, for a reason: They are thoroughly personally testing and reviewing their cars to catch not defects, but all minor nuisances or imperfections before the car gets to actual customers. He made a point that he wants every aspect of the car as perfect as possible, even those that usually go unnoticed. Even a perfectionist should be satisfied with his Model S.

Bold statements indeed, but he did not let us down so far. This is going to be great!

I just rented a fully-optioned brand-new Audi A6 TDI. It's an enjoyable experience to drive and actually surprisingly economic at the same time. Thinking that the Model S will be in an entirely different class than even this car (only think of the 17" and the silent ride) makes me wet my pants... I can't wait!

Brian H | 8 juin 2012

Wet day dreams! More than we wanted to know, VB ...


Jason S | 8 juin 2012

I imagine having the Roadster owners come next will get the last of the issues at least identified if not fully resolved.

I can't wait either!

jbunn | 8 juin 2012

One interesting thing about delivering the Sigs early, is they are the most expensive in the series, have the full range of options, and the highest expectations. Bold move actualy, to be working out any defects with your most discerning audience. That anyone would have the audacity to do this is eiether very arrogant, or very competent.

Right after the most recent SpaceX launch, someone remarked something to the extent of "Elon when speaking sometimes has a way of pulling things out of his backside. But it's NOT bragging if you can do it."

It's not bragging if you can do it. Sums it up. Would make a great title for a biography...

B.Noing | 8 juin 2012

Production Quality is a very interesting subject and for me, the jury is still out. Tesla is engineering driven and I fully expect to be satisfied- even dazzled on that front.

If you are expecting the interior to be of Audi quality, I think you may be disappointed. I am one of those that like the interior design (except for the lack of storage) but I found the quality of the latest traveling beta cars disappointing and more like a mid to high level Detroit car. Hardly Audi or BMW standards. Steering wheel nicely shaped but tinny, non damped buttons. Soft leather but strangely non sensual and flat. Horrible graphics on both screens (don't get me started on trying to hit a button the size of a nickel at the bottom of the screen at 70mph to adjust the temperature one degree). Overall, more early Windows than late Apple both visually and in the user interface. Bottom line is that Elon, for all of his genius is no Steve Jobs concerning the visual and tactile.

Then again betas are for sorting these things out and they still have a few weeks……....

Whity Whiteman | 9 juin 2012

ok, I cannot say anything about the production quality about the interior ... just from seeing the videos. But for the graphics in the car: It's luckily upgradeable!

Liz G | 9 juin 2012

Luckily, I've never owned a luxury car before so moving from my current car, 2006 Subaru Baja, to the S is going to be a big upgrade for me. So I expect to be completely dazzled by my S. This is the first year model. I expect that Tesla will improve on this over time. Some improvements will be easily incorporated into the 'older' cars and some won't. Touch screen changes (design, programs,etc) shouldn't be a problem. Even some interior changes, if done, shouldn't be that hard to upgrade to after the fact. Overall, since my motivating factor is partially to see EV's succeed and thrive, I'm OK with not having all the fancy bells and whistles,etc. As long as it is reliable, meets the miles per charge as advertised and the ride/seats are comfy I'll be happy.

With all that said, I do appreciate those of you who 'nitpick' the car. I wouldn't know what to look for and I have found many of your comments very enlightening. Plus I know that Tesla reads these forums and where possible incorporates feedback. So thanks to all the 'nitpicking' I will get an even better car.


TikiMan | 9 juin 2012

I know this has been brought up um-teen million times on this board, however, I would be VERY curious how Elon and Steve are enjoying all their extra stuff rolling around in the open center area? Do they find it more pratical... like a kid who doesn't clean his room, so he can see all his toys in a state of chaos?

IMHO it's a huge flaw on the S, however, I guess it's only a flaw if you prefer chaos over organization.

Eithet way, as the first S's start getting delivered, I would really like to get more feedback on how owners will deal wih this 'chaos'. I want to see real world photos of everyone's center area, and how organized people will deal with it, and if it will start to drive them crazy having all their 'stuff' (iPod, Kleenax, extra change, chewing gum, phone charge, sunglasses, note-pad, writing pens, cell-phone, etc) in an open state of perpetual chaos. Or stow it all in the glove-compartment, and risk their lives by taking their eyes off the road as they reach over to get things while driving.

Sousaphil | 9 juin 2012

The touch screen software package must not have been anywhere near final. I watched a presentation given by one of the UI designers and he specifically called out utilizing large buttons that would be easy to press while driving. He said the 17 inch screen is a lot of real estate and they took full advantage of it.

I'm expecting the UI will be far superior to any other system, and we won't miss physical controls at all.

petero | 9 juin 2012


Somehow I don’t see Elon or Steve having a bunch of stuff in their Teslas and needing/wanting the ‘normal’ amount of storage. Elon, seems to be a minimalist, judging by his desk at TM HQ.

However, I will presume that the “X” will have plenty of storage for Elon’s kids.

Soflauthor | 9 juin 2012

@Tikiman: The open center "storage area" is not a bug, its a feature, at least as far as TM and Elon are concerned. Some on this forum are happy with that feature, but I would submit that a majority consider the open storage area a bug.

Tesla is moving at warp speed toward delivery of the Model S on June 22nd, and I know their resources are stretched very thin. I do hope, however, that in the weeks following the 22nd, TM will provide a peek at the promised center console accessory (CCA) and provide some indication of when it might be available. George B. promised us a CCA, and I for one want to see that promise kept -- sooner rather than later.

Sudre_ | 9 juin 2012

Well I guess I am done with another thread that is going to cry about a center console again.

They are making one.

jerry3 | 9 juin 2012

I have a centre console and door pockets and there is still stuff on the floor (right now it's only an ice scraper).

ddruz | 9 juin 2012

+1 everyone's comments on the center console accessory and lack of closed storage. Lack of closed storage may be the only major flaw in the car's otherwise spectacular design from the perspective of the average car buyer. Hopefully the promised CCA will show up on the options page very soon and will be a work around till Tesla incorporates some closed storage as standard in the next version of the S. Somewhere I read the CCA would be available in the fall. Can others corroborate that?

dborn | 9 juin 2012

+1 for centre storage/console

Brian H | 9 juin 2012

TikiMan | June 9, 2012 new
I guess it's only a flaw if you prefer chaos over organization.

I think you bot that gackwards!

bsimoes | 10 juin 2012

From a woman's point of view, I am thrilled with the lack of a center console. Finally, a place to put my pocketbook or school bag when I have a passenger. Usually, I put these items on the passenger front seat, but when I have somebody with me, I have to put these items in the back, which is quite inconvenient. I like that Tesla will be providing the option of having a console, but I would most likely opt out.

TikiMan | 10 juin 2012


It's my subliminal way of saying... chaiotic people are flawed :-)


Yes, I agree with you. If our uber traditional society had more acceptance towards man-purses, this might not have even been an issue.


I am glad Elon and Steve can afford to be minimalist, and the area where they live still have proper infrastructure designed to handle the amount of people who live there, without having to sit in gridlock traffic five days a week. But then again, it's too bad they didn't think that the main reason why SO many of us want this car, is because we aren't them.

petero | 10 juin 2012


Don’t get me wrong, I too prefer a center console for added storage and arm supports that extend further out. I too live in SO CA and commuting is a drag. Perhaps that is why we carry so much stuff around.

BYT | 10 juin 2012

I just want my car! They have brought it to us at warp speed but still doesn't seem fast enough... ;)

Volker.Berlin | 10 juin 2012

Well I guess I am done with another thread that is going to cry about a center console again. (Sudre_)


They are making one. (Sudre_)

...but nobody's listening. I hope they will show it soon to stop the lamenting.

Volker.Berlin | 10 juin 2012

If you are expecting the interior to be of Audi quality, I think you may be disappointed. (RobQ)

I hope not. That's exactly what I've come to expect, solely based on Tesla's own communication. The Model S must favorably compare to E-class, 5-series, A6. Everything else would be a disappointment indeed.

Ohms.Law | 10 juin 2012



jbherman | 10 juin 2012

Volker.Berlin +1
For $110K, the interior of a BMW 5 series or Audi A6 is a low bar to set. It may be minimalist (and that's OK), but the finish quality best be good. The display should be astounding (I haven't seen it in person yet).

Brian H | 10 juin 2012

Heh. No, the grammar is reversed! Thimk. Chaos-preferrers would regard the mess in the open space as a benefit, not a flaw. Read your sentence aloud, and listen to yourself!


TikiMan | 10 juin 2012

Brian, LOL! I was just joking. Yes, I got it backwards.

Sorry for getting it going again... I'm still frustrated I have to buy and have it installed as an a aftermarket option, when it should have been standard equipment, with the option to have it removed before delivery. Thus when I see a thread about 'defects', it really gets my goat.

B.Noing | 10 juin 2012

The Model S must favorably compare to E-class, 5-series, A6. Everything else would be a disappointment indeed. (Volker.Berlin)

I stepped from a $ 46,000 Range Rover Evoque directly into the S performance model at Fashion Valley and based on the interior (not the exterior) felt like I was in a car costing significantly less. A Quattroporte was on display down the mall and, or course, the sublime interior of that car was from a different planet.

Like I said, the general design of the interior is coherent and quite original. The materials and detailing are another matter. While I haven't seen the cloth in the flesh yet, I think the most "luxurious" option may actually be piano black and cloth. Never thought I would order a cloth car.
Bottom line is that Tesla had to find some way to pay for that battery and the innovative mechanics. My take is that the hit list included the switch gear (big screen is a lot cheaper), storage cubbies, dumbing down the design of the front headlights and rear tail lights and side emblem, and interior craft and detailing.

Or it could be that Americans, like the Japanese, just aren't very good at interiors. Can't think of a post 1940's American car that could compete with Maserati, Audi, or even Range Rover.
At any rate the Tesla seats are comfortable, the steering wheel feels good and the door design a delight. Just stay away from the "wood" inserts.

Norbert.Vienna | 11 juin 2012

I saw the Model S Beta in Geneva and after seeing all the Audis VWs Mercedes interior designs I set down in the Model S and
it was a different mixed impression
beside all the innovative technic the interior made me doubting
if I should keep my reservation up
I had the feeling that they had no professional interior car designers on hand that the material they used are from the 10k $ class car as well the craftsmanship was poor
But I said to myself I hope the do something till delivery to improof that
hope is still up

Volker.Berlin | 11 juin 2012

RobQ, Norbert.Vienna, I can't object your observations at this stage. I agree that the Beta models were lacking in the workmanship department. However, they were only betas, and from reports in these forums it seems that quality has improved with each generation. I trust that Elon has driven his share of high-end vehicles (I think he currently uses a Q7 to haul family) and that he knows what he's talking about when it comes to production quality, including interior details. We'll learn soon enough; at this point we can only speculate, hope, and pray. Which I do (not necessarily in this order). ;-)

LarsT | 11 juin 2012

If a man can build a payment system on the internet and sell it for more than 1500 Million Dollars...

If a man can build a spacecraft with a private company and service the ISS in the earth orbit for NASA...

If a man can co-found a company that hat put affordable solar panels on ten-thousends of residential and commercial buildings in the US...

If a man can build a new car company and proactivly challenge not only the US car industry, but even those in Europe and Asia...

...then it is very likely that this man will be able to turn out a final product that awes us all - even on the inside... Way to go, Elon!