Tesla delivers first Model S to customers, ushering in more to come
Before a packed crowd that included Gov. Jerry Brown, NHTSA Administrator Strickland, and other dignitaries, Tesla Motors made the first deliveries, to paying customers, of the company's luxury electric car, the Tesla Model S. The moment marked the end of over four years of development for the Model S, and marked the beginning of what may become the first successful new start-up automobile manufacturing company in America in over 50 years.
Gov. Jerry Brown opened the event congratulating Tesla for having achieved a great milestone. He was followed by JB Straubel, CTO of Tesla Motors, who reflected on the 9 year journey saying "This whole thing started about 9 years ago, with a simple idea, to build the next Great American Car Company, to build the best cars in the world, not just the best electric cars, but the best cars, and to do all that with technology that did not burn any petroleum, to help get us off oil completely." He went on to talk say the company had exceeded all its goals, and was knocking it out of the park in terms of delivering excellent cars, and that the real accomplishment was more than the cars themselves, it was the team which had been built in order to design, manufacture and test these vehicles. He said "The success of Tesla hinges on the awesome group we've assembled," and that the company has brought together some of the most talented, most motivated people in the world, with a targeted mission, to "make transportation sustainable, and to make the best cars in the world." Another milestone reached by the company was to grow to over 2000 employees.
Next up was Franz von Holzhausen, the lead Designer at Tesla Motors, who talked about the laundry list of features given to him by Elon Musk that "didn't equal a Sedan." These features included seating seven passengers, best aerodynamic efficiency, lowest center of gravity, best 0-60 time of any sedan on the market, best functionality, best looking car in the world, and "on and on and on". Four years later they are delivering what Holzhausen described as a dream, and not only did they achieve every item on the laundry list, but they achieved more, if only because of the extremely high safety rating achieved by the Model S. It is a very aerodynamic car, it does seat seven people, and it has more functionality than some crossover vehicles. In an inspiring closing he said, "Imagine, if this is where we're starting, imagine where we're going."
Next up was Elon Musk, Chairman and CEO of Tesla Motors who, asking what is the Model S really about, said "The Model S is about breaking a spell, that the world has been under this illusion that electric cars cannot be as good as gasoline cars, that if you have to go with an electric car, you're accepting a product that's worse. What the Model S is fundamentally about is breaking that illusion, it's showing that an electric car can in fact be the best car in the world."