The idea was simple: Celebrate the one-year anniversary of Tesla’s first showroom with a “Roadster Rally” and say thank you to customers in Southern California, our largest regional market.
We didn’t realize we’d get such an overwhelming response!
The first owners arrived last Saturday from San Diego around 8:30 a.m. They charged up their cars and mingled with other owners in the West Los Angeles showroom. By 9 a.m., we were getting a steady stream of Roadsters in a rainbow of colors -- first lining up neatly through the alley on the west side of the building, and later curling around to the north ally and spilling out onto Pontius Boulevard to the east.
As I watched the parade of all-electric sports cars get longer and longer and snake around the block, I couldn’t help reflect on the scene from one year ago, at our grand opening party: A combination of celebrities, environmentalists and sports car enthusiasts all came together to celebrate a car that had been eagerly anticipated for years – including dozens of people who had put down deposits but had yet to drive or see the car in person.
We offered rides that night with three cars, including two production cars fresh from the factory. People were delighted and overjoyed– the scorching acceleration, the jet-like whirl of the motor, the unrivaled responsiveness of the throttle, and the idea that they were in the vanguard and a part of the future of transportation.
One year later, we’ve delivered more than 500 cars and are launching a retail network spanning two continents. We’re building roughly 100 Roadsters per month. We’ve been able to reduce our pre-order backlog, so if you buy a car now, you needn’t wait years for delivery as our first customers did. You’ll get it within six months.
It was clear from all the smiles and laughs last weekend that owners still experience pure joy when driving the Roadster. But they’re also moving beyond exhilaration and novelty, and they’re increasingly talking about how convenient and easy it is to live with the Roadster as an everyday commuter car. With an EPA-estimated 244 miles per charge, Roadster owners merely top off the charge from the comfort of their garage or office parking structure. They never need to take another detour to visit a gas station again, and the car requires virtually none of the service and maintenance of its internal combustion cousins.
A growing number of owners are also talking about the reactions that the Roadster elicits. They get thumbs-up signs from Prius drivers. Car buffs stop them in the parking lot to tell them what a cool car they have. They feel proud of their purchase and want to show it off – at a time when owners of other exotics often say they’re downright embarrassed to be seen in expensive gas guzzlers. It’s one of the fastest cars at its price point – and the only one that’s socially responsible.
Talking to owners was great – but seeing their cars lined up and ready to take a cruise through the Santa Monica Mountains was a truly impressive sight.
Video courtesy of speedandmotion.com
Tesla client adviser Michael Sagaria kicked off the 50-mile rally in VP28. We headed north on Interstate 405, then went west on the 101 to Mulholland Highway, where the real fun began. The Roadster effortlessly chewed up the slow, sweeping curves of Mulholland. Then we stopped for a short rest at the world-famous Rock Store, where more than 30 Roadsters paused for photos. For the first time in history, electric cars outnumbered motorcycles at the Rock Store!
We continued on Mulholland to Kanan Dume Road to Latigo Canyon, a very technical, switchback-filled road (my personal favorite) and continued to the Pacific Coast Highway, where all of the Roadsters paraded back up into the Malibu Hills. We finished at Greener Pastures Ranch, a breathtaking property in Malibu owned by Roadster customers.
The finish line had more Roadsters parked side by side than we could have ever anticipated. After that, we enjoyed the spectacular scenery and ate a gourmet barbeque lunch. We set the bar quite high for the second annual Roadster Rally – but, given Tesla’s philosophy of continuous improvement, we plan to have even more fun next year!