Shields Activated - smart move by Tesla

Shields Activated - smart move by Tesla

Tesla is shielding early production issues from the general public by building initial Model 3's for Tesla/Solar City/SpaceX employees. I'd guess well over one thousand would come off the line prior to the general public and some with issues. As we know, Tesla employees must remain silent both on the forums and publicly or their job is at risk. So employee build complaints should be, basically, non-existent to Consumer Reports, Seeking Alpha and us. Great plan! Additionally, the builders have a real vested interest in getting everything right. If you are like me, an early reservationist and/or current owner, this Shield coupled with the fact Tesla is no longer a rookie in car manufacturing increases my confidence in receiving a solid, well built early Model 3.

A comment to future first time owners:

Understand the unique Tesla philosophy of not having a traditional model year build cycle. It doesn't take a year to see a significant change in a Model S or X. I'm fully aware of this important issue and you need to process it ahead of time. I understand my early Model 3 may not have all the new bells and whistles after just three months of ownership. You see my Model S85D doesn't have the biggest battery, V2 hardware or ventilated seats. But it's still such a sweet ride!

carlk | 9 dicembre 2016

That's the idea. It's more than just to shield regular customers from problems but this will make any initial problems easier to access and evaluate. Real issues will less likely be masked by noise from learning curve or user error from first time buyers not familiar with the car. Current owners who are familiar with Tesla cars and procedures and west coast customers who are closer to their engineering facilities will be the next to receive their cars for the same reason. By the time regular customers receive theirs the teething pain should be more or less over. Very smart strategy I would say.

Haggy | 9 dicembre 2016

Tesla can't stop employees from commenting on personal issues outside of work. The forums are company run so Tesla can have rules for that, but they can't tell employees not to take a CR survey. Whether Tesla employees would overlook issues when responding to CR is another matter, but I don't think they will make up a high enough percent of responses that it will matter. CR would not publish statistics if the sample size is too small since they wouldn't be considered representative.

Bluesday Afternoon | 9 dicembre 2016


You are probably correct (I'm not an attorney) but we seldom hear leaks coming out of Tesla and I would think their employees are reluctant to criticize publicly. We'll see what happens in the May thru October months.

carlk | 9 dicembre 2016

"CR would not publish statistics if the sample size is too small since they wouldn't be considered representative."

Not sure of that. CR wrote its first article about X "problems" with zero sample size. Even the just published formal rating likely has very small sample size.

More important about what op stated may be Tesla will not be overwhelmed with complains of all sorts by novices but can concentrate on solving real issues at the initial stage. In other words Tesla is selective in choosing beta testers.

carlk | 9 dicembre 2016

BTW I'm a west coast current owner I don't mind to be a beta tester.

Frank99 | 9 dicembre 2016

I'm a Phoenix non-owner, and an engineer, and I'd love to be a beta tester. In fact, I fully expect to be one with my 11:00 AM MST March 31 reservation priority...

bmalloy0 | 9 dicembre 2016

If I could volunteer as tribu--beta tester, I would do so so fast...

mntlvr23 | 10 dicembre 2016

As long as we are volunteering, I am an engineer and early reserver and will offer my services on this wishful list.

EaglesPDX | 10 dicembre 2016

@SimplyRed "Understand the unique Tesla philosophy of not having a traditional model year build cycle. It doesn't take a year to see a significant change in a Model S or X."

Not many car mfgs do anymore but specific to Tesla it does have big changes that can obsolete your car pretty quickLynn, the first Autopilot, the AWD, the bigger batteries available, tow package, most recently autonomous driving.

With Tesla the obsolescence comes a bit quicker. Spending so much for a car, one has to be sure one can live with choice because it will change. Building in things like Autopilot and Autonomous and allowing the customer to purchase them later helps but others you need to buy upfront like AWD, tow package/airsuspension, battery range, cold weather, air filtration, audio.

Frank99 | 10 dicembre 2016

So if those early Model S's are obsolete, with no Autopilot, dual motors, bigger batteries, tow hitch, or autonomy, I can pick one up for almost nothing, right? Right? That $65K 2013 Model S is worth how much now, did you say? Surely it's seen the same 50% drop in value that something like a Nissan Leaf would have in the same time?

The last time I priced a 2013 Model S-60, I could pick one up for $50K - compared with about $60K for a brand-spanking new one. I think your definition of "obsolete" doesn't match with the general consensus.

carlk | 10 dicembre 2016


You are right. Depreciation of "obsoleted" 2013 Model S is actually less, or much less, than Leaf or convention luxury ICE cars. The lesson here is those fast improvements "obsoletes" the entire auto industry at a much faster pace than it "obsoletes" Tesla cars.

SUN 2 DRV | 10 dicembre 2016

Haggy wrote: "Tesla can't stop employees from commenting on personal issues outside of work."

Actually I'd expect that signing an NDA is one of the requirements to qualify for an early employee Model 3. And similar terms are probably already in their employment agreements.

Frank99 | 10 dicembre 2016

What it tells me is the base car has a remarkable value to it, independent of the options that can be added to it. The new options on a new Tesla don't obsolete the old Teslas, they simply add value to the new one.

Carley&#039... | 10 dicembre 2016

Agree 100% with carlk and Frank99. The improvements I've received on my mid-year 2015 S 85D have already convinced me beyond any doubt that (1) Tesla was the right choice and (2) their product strategies put all other car manufacturers in the dust.

tstolz | 10 dicembre 2016

Couldn't be happier with the OTA updates my car has received ... it just keeps getting better :)

All manufacturers will eventually adopt continuous model updates and OTA ... or they will always be behind if you think about it.

Nexxus | 12 dicembre 2016

Well, all one will have to do is keep an eye on the Fremont plant parking lot to see when the employees start receiving their M≡'s sometime after the last reveal. Then we'll know how fast from there that the ramp up begins.

PhillyGal | 12 dicembre 2016

Brilliant as a shield, yes. But I also like to think they truly want to reward the employees who have worked so tirelessly to design, build and deliver the greatest car in history - but couldn't own one themselves due to size, price, etc.

andy.connor.e | 12 dicembre 2016

It only makes sense that they "test drive" thousands of their own products to absolutely ensure that there will not be any problems when they hit the consumers driveways.