Peter's Tesla Tale

(Shortcut to my Random Musings as the owner of a Tesla Model 3)

My first hands-on with a Tesla was giving my then 100-year-old father, Lindsay Lafford, a spin in a Model S that his Kidney Specialist had just bought, in September 2013.  My father, who died in 2014 at the age of 101, was always interested in cars, summarized in these two posts on the ClassicCars.com website (http://links.asu.edu/LLcars1 and http://links.asu.edu/LLJayLeno, and in a call I had on CarTalk (http://links.asu.edu/PALCarTalk).  My father and the doctor had talked about cars a lot, and he promised my father a ride, documented in this YouTube video: http://links.asu.edu/LLTesla.

We were all impressed with the Model S, though we weren't in THAT market, and my wife and I were intrigued by Elon Musk's plans to bring out a Tesla for the masses, "in a couple of years."  Fast-forward two and a half years, to March 2016, and it was time to get in line for the Model 3!


Wanting to be among the first, if not THE first in the door, I showed up at the door to the Scottsdale Fashion Square mall near the Tesla Gallary around midnight, March 30, 2016.  But I found someone there for the same reason ahead of me!  Oh, well, 2nd in the door wouldn't be bad. But because the mall didn't open until 6:30 or 7:00 AM, the security guard said we couldn't wait there at the garage, so we decamped to the Denny's down the street, open all night, and came back around 7:00 AM. 


Upon our return, we found a few dozen people in the mall outside the Tesla Gallery, with one enterprising individual who thought to bring a roll of numbered raffle tickets to help manage the crowd he had anticipated.  That would turn out to be quite useful, since the mall was not going to allow people to line up, or even loiter, in front of the Gallery until 9:00 AM, which would let people in starting at 10:00.  I was envisioning a kind of musical chairs, where the crowd would be milling about in front of the Tesla Gallery in the mall scheming to be right in front at 9:00 when Mall Security would open up the crowd management ropes and allow the line to form.  


It was a little contentious at 9:00, however, when new and old people filtered into the line, and others with a numbered ticket returned after 9:00 expecting to assume their numbered place in line.  The Tesla Gallery employees, however, tasked with managing the crowd, at first maintained that the numbered tickets had no official impact, coming from a non-Tesla source, but in the absence of a better plan respecting the dedication of the early arrivals, later relented, allowing us to assume our spots by ticket number. My fellow Model 3 Midnight Marauder and I were about 30 and 31 in line. 


Following an hour of sharing Tesla enthusiasm, at 10:00 AM they started letting people in, two at a time, to make their reservations.  The Gallery Advisors handed you an iPad, where you filled in your Contact and Credit Card info, and hit "submit."  It was nice and efficient, as evidenced by the 10:13 AM documentary pic I asked the Advisor to snap on my iPhone. 


On my way out the door, I accepted the bottle of water they offered from their cooler, to celebrate the event.  I noticed it was a Crystal Geyser bottle, and took the "SELL BY 03/02/18" as sign from my father that we would take delivery of our Model 3 by that date. Exactly 14 years earlier than Reservation/Reveal Day, (March 31, 2002), my father and I had come upon the main Crystal Geyser West Coast bottling plant in Olancha, California, while on our first road trip in his Honda Insight Hybrid, (another ground-breaking car on the road to a cleaner future).

 Every Crystal Geyser bottle I see reminds me of that trip, and with the Tesla connection I have with my father, I get the feeling he's helping push things along. In this picture, he is wearing his (now my) Tesla cap in March 2014, with the water bottle from March 2016, presenting the March 2018 SELL BY date. 

Reservation accomplished, I headed off to the rest of the day, anxiously awaiting the Model 3 Reveal Event to be live-streamed from California that evening, to actually SEE what the Model 3 was going to look like.  All day long, I was holding strong to my faith in Tesla that they would maintain the sleek, clean lines of the Model S and Model X, and would NOT be heading off to the angry, angular lines taking over the Toyota and Honda design studios. In fact, it looked great in the Reveal Event, and all reports since are that it looks even better in person!


Fast forward another year and a half, and we're eagerly expecting an email inviting me to order our own Model 3 in the Configuration Studio website for a "November 2017-January 2018" Delivery Window for a "First Production" Model 3.  Maybe that email will arrive on my father's birthday, October 27!

As for the next chapter of My Tesla Tale, stay tuned...  

UPDATE: January 28, 2018:
Sometime in September 2017, Tesla acknowledged their production ramp-up projections were a little optimistic, and slid the Delivery Estimate out a month or two, and since then my window was December 2017 - February 2018, for “First Production.” Here at the end of January, we see reports of First-Day (or First-Week) current Tesla owner reservation holders all across the country getting their invitation to configure (or stubling upon the AVAILABLE TO DESIGN status on the website, without yet having had the email).  While there are still reports of slower-than-anticipated production ramp-up, we non-owner First-Day reservation holders are still watching for that email, hoping it will come by the end of February. Fingers crossed.

I DID get to see, sit in, and even drive a Model 3, when an early non-employee customer embarked on the “Tesla Model 3 Road Trip,” fully documented on Facebook.  He picked up the car in Fremont on a Friday, set off on Saturday for a 12,000, 21-day jaunt covering all four corners of the US, with meet-and-greets at Superchargers and locations all along the way.  I encountered it on Christmas Eve in Scottsdale. It just served to sharpen the anticipation, and sway my color choice to the pearlescent white.  Now we’re still watching for that invitation to configure!



Stay tuned!
February 12 update:  Delivery Estimated window now March-May 2018.
Stay tuned!

February 22 update: Upon seeing the Wall Street Journal story that Tesla was inviting first-day non-owners to configure cars, I checked my account page, and still found the March-May Delivery Estimate.  Then a half-hour later, my 
fellow Model 3 Midnight Marauder messaged me: “Check ur Tesla account!” And, indeed, it said, “Available now.” And NOW I have an email saying, “Your order is confirmed!”  Now we get the HPWC installed, financing in gear, and wait for the call to arrange delivery!
Stay tuned!

March 7 update: Got the Tesla Wall Charger installed this morning. 

Now just waiting for the VIN to be assigned, (which will allow us to move forward with financing and insurance), and for the delivery to be arranged.  Two weeks tomorrow since configuration...so the official estimate starting at 3-6 weeks from configuration to delivery, would now be 1-4 weeks.  
Stay tuned!



March 9 update:
Spotted the VIN on the website yesterday morning; had a phone call and email in the afternoon; “Car should be able to deliver it in a week!” 
Forwarded the VIN to the Credit Union so they can finalize their offer.
City of Mesa inspector visit: He came, He saw, He approved. So now the NEMA 14-50 outlet is ready, and we have the Tesla Wall Charger ready to go! I stayed home today to make room in the garage for the impending arrival.

Stay tuned!
March 16 update:
We took delivery this morning!  Amazing car! Worth the wait.
(Two weeks short of two years from placing the reservation.)
Three weeks + one day from configuration (within the “3-6 weeks for delivery” window.)
And I’d say the Crystal Geyser water bottle prediction of “Sell By 03-02-18” was right on!  One more indication my father was involved: the VIN on his 2001 Honda Insight ended in 867. The VIN on our Model 3 ends in 8757. So, “8-6-7”, represented in four digits, is “8757,” representing the “6” by bracketing it, “7-5”.  Thanks, Dad! 

Stay tuned!

March 20 Update:
Had a great trip to Gila Bend.  Wrote up random thoughts at:

Had another sign from my father driving home last night, when I spotted BA289, the British Airways 747 flying in around 6:00.
That’s the flight he always took back to Phoenix after his summer trips to England.  I think I saw him giving a THUMBS-UP through one of the windows! 

March 31 Update
On the two-year anniversary of placing the reservation on March 31, 2016, we returned to the Tesla gallery with the Crystal Geyser bottle to share the experience.  The Tesla Advisor who took my picture in 2016 was there to take an update.






Peter Lafford

(My email: PALafford@gmail.com)


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