You can tell a full year has passed since we announced the Tesla Roadster because we’re starting to repeat annual events. Last weekend we participated in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for the second time. This is a terrific event held on the grounds of the Pebble Beach golf course each year.
The best way to describe the Concours d’Elegance is NASCAR meets the Kentucky Derby. The variety of people is as vast as the portfolio of cars. The four-day event is filled with auctions, manufacturer exhibits, automotive memorabilia, and displays of unique cars. The show culminates with the judging of the Concours competition, and this year a 1935 Duesenberg SJ Special was named “Best of Show.”
Last year, the Tesla Roadster made its very first public appearance at the Concours d’Elegance. The show came on the heels of our company/Tesla Roadster unveiling in July 2006. It was an exciting and chaotic time for Tesla Motors. Media attention was astonishing and overwhelming. Suddenly our stealth operation had become very public and all eyes were watching every move. The Concours d’Elegance was our first opportunity to display the Tesla Roadster to the general public and educate visitors about our advanced EV technology. Not knowing quite how to prepare for such an event, we packed up our brochures and display boards and headed to Pebble Beach. We were the toast of the show, displaying two freshly-minted first-generation prototypes next to a small 10- by 10-foot tent and surrounded by exuberant Tesla Motors staffers. Visitors clamored for a first look at the sexy, high-performance electric car. A highlight of the weekend was a breakfast we hosted to meet our members – our name for Tesla Roadster customers.
Fast forward to last weekend and our repeat appearance at the event. So much has happened in a year. It was great fun to show off two of our second-generation prototypes – one in electric blue and the other in sterling silver – and we again had a heavy flow of visitors to our spot on Peter Hay Hill. Once again we gathered our members for a party Saturday afternoon. Last year at this time, we had just begun to accept reservations for the Tesla Roadster and had only 10 members in attendance at our brunch. Now on a sunny California afternoon, we hosted well over 100 people, in and around our expanded 20- by 20-foot tent. It was a great showing from among our nearly 600 members. Spending time with those folks gave the Tesla Motors crew a great boost. In the thick of completing an ambitious car program, it was great to be reminded that so many people are committed to electric cars and are counting on us. Our members are the key to our success and a huge support to our vision. Many placed a reservation without ever seeing the car in person. At the show members were given exclusive access to Validation Prototype 9 (our second-generation prototype painted in Electric Blue). I watched many of their faces gleam with elation as they climbed in and shut the door.
My job rocks! I got to spend four days in one of the most beautiful places in the country while hanging out with fellow colleagues and members. Every time I meet a member I have a renewed energy for our mission, and this weekend was no different.
What is a Roadster Club member like? Well, they are all different. Each member is motivated by different factors. Whether it is the amazing performance specs or the fact that the car is emissions free – I’d like to think that the commonality between all of them is their desire to help Tesla Motors change the perception of electric vehicles and arguably the landscape of the automotive industry. (Check out our "Hear" channel for blogs from some of our customers.)
What about next year? I’m already planning for the 58th Annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. As much as I like to get caught up in the details of aesthetics and catering, I am most looking forward to our members pulling up to parking spots next Peter Hay Hill in their Tesla Roadsters. Based on conversations, Radiant Red and Obsidian Black seem to be the top choices. After checking out these photos, I'm sure a few more Electric Blue orders will be added.