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
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!