The electric vehicle world is pretty quiet right now; following the much-hyped launches of the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt (and subsequent criticisms of the Volt’s safety), there hasn’t been much to pique mainstream America’s interest. That’s going to change soon, when the Tesla Model S, billed as "the world’s first premium electric sedan," rolls off the assembly line.
At $49,000 (with a $7,500 tax credit), the vehicle isn’t incredibly cheap—but it’s a bargain compared to Tesla’s old offering, the $109,000 Roadster. And after months of Tesla teasing us with pictures and video, the Model S is finally going to be released on Friday. But Tesla has released some teaser videos of the car in the factory, so we can take a look at the production process of the vehicle. In the video above, we can watch as the vehicle gets stamped.
Below, we can see the body center, a place where robots rivet and weld to their hearts’ content.
Next comes the painting process:
And finally, the assembly center, where high-definition 3-D cameras properly position the panoramic roof, the seats, center console, and the drivetrain and batteries are installed. Exterior components are also added. Then, according to Tesla, comes the industry’s first "all-glass water test booth, where it is sprayed by water from 360 stationary nozzles to ensure your car has perfect water tightness."
The Model S certainly has its skeptics. This Slate article sarcastically notes that the "Tesla Model S is practical and affordable, as long as you’re rich." And many people agree that this is a make or break moment for Tesla. For the sake of the larger electric vehicle industry, we hope Tesla succeeds. At the very least, the industry could use a little excitement. Stay tuned—we’ll be at the Model S launch this week and will come back with in-person impressions.