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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Part 11: Waiting and Sourcing Parts

"Sourcing Parts" they say...  Every time I checked the Tesla website-- for weeks-- all I saw was that they were "sourcing parts".  Really??  I didn't think there were that many parts to source.  Wasn't that the point?  Yes, yes...  I know.  It's a part of the newly birthed tradition of the Tesla "waiting period".    As was recently written to me (shout out to "Ugliest1", which has win an award for the most self-deprecating username ever) I'm "taking owners nostalgically back to that near-unbearable 'waiting period' feeling between car purchase and delivery".
So sit down kiddies and let Grandpa Matt tell you about the days when we had to WAIT for our Teslas to be delivered.   Back when they were actually dragged on open air-gravel-kicking trailers all over the country-- not 3D printed in your basement gameroom.

Tesla wasn't the only one who could "source parts".   I had a shopping list.   I had time.   I was a-gonna do some shoppin'!!

Obviously buying another license plate frame was out of the question.  Even though we have two cars-- there was NO WAY I was going to risk Jake's CURSE and sacrifice my Subaru to Elon's volcano.  I was having trouble enough keeping the 300 healthy (even now it's in need of another repair-- probably drop it off the day after our Tesla arrives).

Jumping when we did meant this car would be rear wheel drive only.  The Model X is still at least a year away and we were tired of waiting for an AWD version of the Model S.  Reports from the crazy Winter were that the Model S is a good snow car if-- IF you properly outfit it with snow tires.  Snow tires have come a long way in recent years... but that's a topic for this Fall.  

As luck would have it, one of the several companies catering to Tesla owners that has sprung up in the past couple years released new wheels right then.  Literally.  As I was looking, they just popped up.  Not only that, but this company was offering free shipping on a set for the first 15 orders.  Do I need to remind you that we just bought a whole car to get a small tax rebate?  I can proudly proclaim myself to be Order Number 14 (yeah, I know, I almost missed it!).  Jake, of course, was Order Number 1.  The debate for us became whether or not to get grey or silver wheels.  We both decided on grey. 
The company is called TSportline and what really caught my eye was that their wheels were the ONLY ones specifically manufactured for the Model S and could even use the factory center caps and lug nuts.  No spacer rings, no goofy modifications, no tire shop tinkering with sledgehammers necessary.  What's more, they perfectly scaled down the factory 21" wheels into the pothole-friendlier 19" size (see picture above).  I mean PERFECTLY.  You want some cake AND eat it?  Awesome.  A picture of one of my wheels is at the top of the page here (and all over the Cranberry post) and above you can see how it compares to the factory 21" in silver.  If you're a Tesla owner you can find out more on THIS thread on the TMC forum.

Other parts were quickly sourced as well-- to make the transition to Tesla as seamless as possible.  Jake provided a (hopefully) curse-free "Tesla Parking" sign for my garage.  I ordered full all-weather Tesla mats for the interior and rear trunk (we're keeping the frunk for "clean" luggage/niceties).  I'll be moving the Subaru's dashcam to the Tesla but I needed a longer cord because the Tesla is much bigger.  And a weird accessory for a car-- until now-- I ordered a screen protector for the main 17" touchscreen.  It's more like a rolling smart phone than a car, in many ways.
Parts were all sourced on my end but Tesla was still trying to find enough of theirs.  So we busied ourselves with life while we waited.  The Chrysler broke a few more things and the Subaru is in need of new front brakes.  A quick trip to Philadelphia included an excursion to the King of Prussia Tesla Store.  I had a chance to talk to Chris, for the first time, as a bonafide near-owner.  We talked Superchargers and roadtrip strategy between Pittsburgh and Philly (there are still some Supercharger gaps between the two cities) as we'll be making another trip there soon-- but in the Tesla.
Parked in the Philly store was the same grey Model S we'd seen at the Shannopin Country Club a few months prior.  It was so different looking in the relatively dim light of the mall (you can see it with the hatch open).  The grey really has a lot more personality to it than you'd expect.  We also wandered across a silver Tesla in the Chestnut Hill shopping district.  Philadelphia has (roughly) about ten times as many Teslas as Pittsburgh.  Chris estimated over 400.  I bet that evens out when we have a store and service center here.
 After we returned home the next Teslavent (trademark, copyrighted) was the soft-opening of the Cranberry Supercharger.  After a month of delays, the inspections were finally scheduled and Tesla was ready to test and "go live" with it.   Trying to repeat our achievement as the first customer charge (from Somerset), Jake and I arrived early on the morning of the final certifications.  You can see how it went in the video below:

It was impressive to watch how the Supercharger team was able to troubleshoot equipment from the other side of the country and then coordinate software downloads remotely and...  and...  I get the distinct impression these are some VERY clever people.  <ha>  As for our mission, it was accomplished-- Jake has now had the first customer charge at TWO Supercharger sites!  If any more are forthcoming and nearby... you can bet we'll be there!

About a month after the certifications the OFFICIAL grand opening ceremony finally happened.  Chris Vance, Will Nicholas, and other Tesla staff made the trip from Philadelphia in the familiar visage of the grey Tesla we'd seen so many times before (still looking great, btw).   Here's Chris (left) and Jake (right) cutting the ribbon:
 It was fun to have such a vested interest in the site and tomorrow when we take delivery we'll be making a stop there to verify my car is working properly with the Superchargers.  But I digress-- you can see more pictures from Cranberry HERE.
And that pretty much brings us to present day.  As I write this I must apologize that it's getting a little less comedic and lively.  I'm about 8.5 hours from delivery and ready to try and get some sleep.  

Thank you so much for coming along on my delivery journey with this 11-part series and I do hope you'll continue to check back here-- not just for my delivery post-- but in the days to come as I share my experiences with you.  It'll get more entertaining when I get more rest!  

One final thank you to all of you who have helped us get to this point of making the leap, especially Jake.  I would probably have turned and run from a car-stalker but you didn't and we are grateful.



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