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Tesla Model S Factory Tour in Fremont, CA

Sue and I took a tour of the Tesla Model S factory in Fremont, CA today.  This is the old NUMMI plant.  If you haven't heard the NUMMI story between GM & Toyota, and you're a car buff, there's a This American Life episode about it that's just mind blowing.  The net of it is that GM tried to learn Just In Time assembly practices from Toyota, they built a factory together for Toyota to transfer this know-how to GM, and GM completely blew it.  The factory shut down and was sitting idle after that fiasco.

When Elon Musk was looking for a place to build his new Model S sedan, he approached Toyota with a $50MM bid for it, which Toyota accepted.  Why would Toyota sell a car production plant arguably worth $1 billion or more for $50MM?  For the answer to that, you really have to understand the relationship between Musk and Toyota, which is well portrayed in this 2010 WIRED magazine article.

As a reservation holder for the Model S, I'm proud to support one of the most amazing entrepreneurs of our generation.  What makes Elon even more amazing is that he's not only revolutionizing the automobile industry, but the space industry as well, with SpaceX... at the same time.  Elon, my hat is off to you.

Below are a number of pictures and vidoes of the factory and the event, which was very well done.

Exclusive Peek Inside Tesla's Model S and Model X

This weekend, Telsa held an exclusive Model X preview for reservation holders. As the CEO of a mobile startup, I have mad respect for Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla. Here's a guy who, after starting and selling PayPal, started not one, but two companies with prescient timing: Tesla and SpaceX. As gas heads towards $5/gallon (with the imminent threat of shooting up higher) and the US retires its Space Shuttle program, Elon's two startups are positioned perfectly. For more background on Tesla, take a look at the blog post I wrote after touring the Tesla Factory.

Critics are raving over the Model X. As someone who's passionate about cars & motorcycles and hopeful for the future of electric vehicles that perform as well or better than their fossil fuel burning brethern, I was originally a reservation holder for the Model S. When I saw the Model X, I immediately swapped my reservation out. Now I'm #486 on the list for a Model X. You can get a reservation of your own here -- it's a $5k refundable deposit. Your only risk, really, is that Tesla doesn't stay viable as a company, but as someone in the tech industry, I really believe in Elon, his vision, and his ability to execute. I'm willing to take that risk.

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