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Reviewed: Tesla Model S part 1: Ordering and pre-delivery

This article was been published more than 6months ago. The information contained herein may be outdated.

Last year, my wife and I decided it was time to swap out our old car with a newer one. After a lot of discussion, dreaming, and looking for small change in the couch, we landed on ordering a Tesla Model S. This is my review of the experience up to just before we took delivery of the car.

Tesla makes the entire ordering process very easy. No matter if you order from a dealership or online, the process is the same; you go to their website, click the “Order your Model S”-button, and enter the ordering system. Options are many and varied, but mostly divide onto a few categories:

  1. Looks – interior and exterior design variations
  2. Functionality – the stuff you don’t see, but which adds to the car
  3. Drivetrain – including battery pack size and whether to have rear wheel only or four wheel drive

No matter what options you add or remove, you can’t get away from the fact that the Model S is not a cheap car. As of this being written, it is, however, priced at significantly less than a comparable fossile fuel car, and leaps and bounds ahead of them in terms of technology and features. Once you’ve configured your car to your liking, you hit the order-button, and pay a deposit. Your order is locked in, but you may still make changes to the configuration. The order lives in limbo for fourteen days, and can be changed or cancelled without cost (the deposit will be refunded). If you’re like me, you’ll want to confirm the order, to have it put into production as soon as possible.

The day after I confirmed the order, locking it in, I was contacted by a Tesla employee, a delivery specialist (DS). The DS is your single point of contact (SPOC) for any inquiries you may have about the car, progress, add-ons and so on. Our DS was very helpful, and answered questions quickly for about the first month or so after ordering. More on that in a moment. You will also receive an email containing the address to a site where you can follow the progress of the car. That site will be updated with estimated delivery times as changes happen. In our case, the estimated delivery time went from December/Early January when the VIN was assigned, to Late November/December when the car exited production.

After the car exited production, I had further questions for our DS. When ordering in Norway, there is no information about what add-ons (such as center console, dual charger, and frunk cargo net, to mention some) are available, though that information is available for US customers through the Shop link at the top right of the website; a link that does not exist on the Norwegian site. My DS sent me a PDF price list which listed a lot of the options, though not all. Conspicuously missing was e.g. the Dual Charger.

Once production and QA testing is complete, the status changes to “Production complete: Your Model S is in transit from the factory.” Cars going to Europe are shipped with Wallenius Wilhelmsen. If you go to their track & trace page, and enter your VIN in the Cargo ID field, you’ll be able to see what ship it is shipped on. Now, you could stop there. I did not. I used an online ship tracker – fleetmon.com –  to track their progress as far as arriving into the port of Drammen.

Once the order had been locked in, it took 30 days until the car entered production. It spent 12 days in production (and presumably QA), and another 50 days in transit and delivery prep, bringing the time from order to delivery to a very impressive 93 days.

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