Published on March 1
10. March 2019 by Zachary Shahan
I suppose I should preface this video by saying that it is largely a joke. It is hopefully obvious within a few moments of seeing it. However, the article is not a joke.
Enter into Tesla's large open, light office space at its Fremont factory, it only took a moment before something struck me. The atmosphere is vastly different from the image of Tesla that you find in much of the media.
The day of our visit was less than a short week after the company announced both its $ 35,000 model 3 and a switch to just online sales. While much of the media (including CleanTechnica ) feverishly tried to figure out what everything meant, what stimulated the sales changes, what happened to the stocks, and what Tesla's future would look like, hundreds of Tesla employees were happy working on the desk, talking to each other and coming in or out of the front doors.
When we walked through the factory, it was the same. People were calm, smiling and working hard. When we stopped to talk to some of them, they often radiated pride in their work and happiness for being part of the Tesla story. They did not hide from cameras (mostly), but they were not prepped for the visit – sometimes staring at us as if we were rare animals in the zoo. Media? Spies? Enemies or friends?
Of course, some of them were ordinary CleanTechnica readers who roll our stories as they wake up in the morning before they leave the bed and over to the breakfast table. It was cool to hear, and definitely not was expected. These people did not highlight any drama, did not drown in their sorrows or showed any signs that Elon whipped them, and they could not feel down to the inflexible media attacks. They had fun! They were happily mourning away in their cool jobs and enthusiastically told us what they were doing every day, and broadly respond to all our questions – just not those pointing to specific numbers, since of course it can't be revealed to people like me.
I definitely did not search for this story that I am writing right now. On the trip to learn more about Tesla, I just expected to get into the details. I went into the doors with an open mind, ready to soak up what I saw and write about anything that swam my boat. It only struck me after a few minutes in Tesla's doors and walls, " How can the atmosphere of the company be so different from how the media portray it? "
It reminded me of my first test run of a real, live Tesla Model 3. The title of this article was "Sorry, Elon-Tesla Model 3, much better than I expected." The excuse (which was meant as a joke, but since Elon actually ended up seeing and retweeting the chip, there was a real apology) partly an excuse to fall for the anti-Tesla FUD. I thought FUD didn't affect me, but when I experienced the super premium Model 3, its amazing doors and feelings, the soft seats and the easy-to-use navigation screen, I realized that the countless comments of the Tesla trolls had even seeped into my expectations. The good news is that I was happily surprised by the car. (The second part of the excuse was because I liked Model 3 more than Model S, which is still the case.)
But let's get back to the Tesla trip we took last week. When we got into the factory and talked to various production engineers, we asked questions about burst prices, slow periods and much more. Top engineers did not understand where the media hype if any of these things arose. They were consistent – production is continuously rolling strongly. They are constantly trying to produce a stable and high volume flow of cars. There are no big "cracks" and lower production. And the whole production process goes well. Now, if you're cynical and suppose you know better, you might think I was lied to, fooled, taken for a fool. I consider myself to be a pretty good read of character and very good to notice when someone pulls my chain or tries to mislead me. These people were not. Tesla production, like many things, is not what corporate critics wanted you to believe.
It was funny, I had this story on the article list after the Tesla visit, I was ready to make it, and then I saw the following tweet from Ross Gerber:
The experience in the media and the reality at Tesla is a great bay. This company is doing very well, and the worst is obvious. $ tsla
– Ross Gerber (@GerberKawasaki) March 8, 2019
I do not know if he went on a trip around the same time or just came to the same thought in another way but Ross tweet lined up evenly with my thoughts. It's anti-Tesla hype, and that's the reality.
Someone in Tesla indicated that Tesla leaders routinely misquoted, with some "quotes" apparently coming out of thin air. It is clearly frustrating for them and confusing. The whole approach many in the regular media have toward Tesla is confusingly aggregated. There is a US production revival on the scene ( a cleantech on it ), but many in the media seem to lubricate the company, sometimes with completely erroneous quotes. Unfortunately, it has become a major part of the broader Tesla story.
We have much more to come from our visit and our interviews, but have no doubt about it, the motto of Tesla is essentially this: "Stay calm and Charge On."