I flew to San Jose from San Diego last night to grab the 9am factory tour this Thursday morning.
First, do the factory tour if at all possible. It was awesome. Watching the giant presses stamp out a five stamp part (one press after the other, with a robot moving the pieces from one machine to the other) was amazing. These giant presses had to be moved cross country. Tesla was told it would take 9 months to get them installed and working. Apparently Elon said we can do better and got them working in something like 3 months. They had to dig out a two story underground area for the extra foundation and whatnot for these presses.
Robots were everywhere doing amazing things. One particular robot's functions used to be done by hand, and is now automated. The single robot picked up the rear and front windshields, had glue applied to them, and inserted them into place. It then picked up a different "hand" and grabbed each front seat and placed them inside.
The place was really humming, lots of activity. If at all possible, try to go on a weekday tour - there will be more manufacturing activity, and your tour group will be smaller. Ours was only three people. Weekends can get 40 or more people per tour.
OK, actually driving the car, some thoughts:
First, I've heard about lots of minor complaints about the car from these forums. Let's see, yes the turn signal stalk is lowish, but it isn't a problem, easy to get used to it, especially if you use cruise control. I heard that the seats were too hard - well only after sitting in them for 8 hours - before that they were fine. Headlights too dim - nope they were very bright, although the high beams could be better. The sun visor was fine for me.
But gosh, this car is amazing to drive. No ICE gear struggling when going up mountains. Don't ever smash the accelerator down unless you want a heart stopping thrill ride. Slacker radio just works and is easy to use.
The most surprising thing I ran across was how fast the superchargers worked. I'm an impatient guy and I had visions of me reading the manual or whatever waiting for charging - not at all. I hit all the Superchargers along the route (Gilroy, Harris, Tejon and Hawthorne), and had more than enough range each stop after doing whatever I needed to do (quick bites and/or bathroom breaks). In hindsight, I almost certainly could have done a longer charge at Tejon (skipping Hawthorne) and gone all the way to North County San Diego, even with the Tejon pass mountain in the way. That would have been a 185 mile journey. When charging, I used the rule of thumb to only use 2/3 of the rated charge. ie. if I had a 100 mile stretch, I would charge until I got 150 miles rated charge. This allowed me to drive fast and would (I think) have covered me for weather related range issues (I had perfect weather, 70 degrees).
Some numbers. When I left Gilroy, I had 259 rated miles (after the shortish ride from the factory and an In and Out burger). I drove 111 miles to Harris Ranch and ended up with 117 rated miles left (so used 142 rated miles).
At Harris, just had a bathroom break and a talk with a random Tesla admirer. Charged it for 19 minutes and left with 184 rated miles.
Got to Tejon with 32 rated miles left after having driven 116 miles, and thus used 152 rated miles (I wasn't driving slow!).
Had dinner at Tejon (lots of places to choose from), charged for 45 minutes and left with 208 rated miles.
Got to Hawthorne with 109 rated miles left after having driven 92 miles (up and down the Tejon pass), so used only 99 rated miles. So even after going up and down a mountain pass, I basically just used rated miles! I'm sure this was partly due to slow traffic I hit in Los Angeles, but still, you gain back a lot of energy going back down the other side.
At Hawthorne, took some pics, followed their sign to find the porta potty for after hours use, and only stayed 15 minutes and left with 170 rated miles.
Got home after 104 miles travelled with 44 rated miles left (so used 126 rated miles).
All in all, a very fast quick trip. I'm very impressed!
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