So, I had been planning a surprise for SMS’ birthday for months! Now that I own a Model 3, I am eligible for a factory tour every year with 3 of my closest friends. SMS kept saying how it would have been so cool to have a factory tour with the Tesla pick-up so I decided that it was better late than never!
I made the reservation about seven weeks ago. The site advises about a month’s advance notice but I really wanted the birthday date! I also invited our friend from Park Place and Mark’s second cousin. It was a nice group and we were all very excited!
It starts in the customer service center where each of us was given a badge and a NDA to sign via iPad. I didn’t really read it so I don’t know what I can say on my blog with five readers (+1 now that’s shown up on Elon Musk’s Google news alert?!?!?!?!). After an introduction, all tour group members pile into a red mobile of golf-cart like seats linked together.
What was most interesting to me was how “vertically oriented” the Tesla production process is. Rather than have low inventory with a constant inflow of parts from other sites, almost all the car parts are made on site. This is amazing since storage is expensive and the plant is located in a very expensive area. It makes more sense though, when the backstory of NUMMI is known and that Elon Musk bought the place at a firesale price. It’s a huge complex and a lot of production equipment was included in the sale, including the biggest metal stamper in North America, which sets of the seismic detectors in Berkeley when it’s in use!
So, yes, there is plenty of room for storage and many parts are made on site. Then we went past the S and X production lines. It was very interesting and I’m glad we went. There are definitely some differences compared to our Porsche factory tour in how the line is structured and timed. It was cool to have a basis for comparison.
Afterwards, we had a birthday dinner at the house with Barnaby and Mark’s rock climbing friends and their partners. I ordered food from Oren’s hummus and then we had a Japanese-style cake from Satura cakes in Los Altos. It was awesome. Great food, easy set-up, and great company!
The next day, we went to Chromatic coffee. We also walked around the Stanford mall later in the day which has the most beautiful flowers outside of Neiman Marcus (this makes sense to me).
On Friday, I went on a 20 mile run to try and build up for my upcoming marathon. It was a beautiful day on Shoreline and I got sunburned since my sunscreen couldn’t hang for 3 hours. Plus, I did skip my arms thinking it was still early but that was an unwise decision! That evening, we went to Los Altos for a drink and then we saw a community orchestra that labeled itself “Terrible” and they’re not too far from the truth. I think the main problem was that they picked very popular classical pieces so the difference between them and the radio versions from some of the best orchestras in the world was rather stark. Afterwards, we met up with friends for dinner at a Thai restaurant.
Saturday was a mellow day. We went climbing, which was so much fun. It had been a little while for me and I really enjoyed myself. For dinner, we went to Sushi Tomi. It was so delicious.
So yes, that’s SMS’ birthday weekend in a nutshell. It was great and so much fun!