When I saw Nissan’s Mark Perry a few weeks ago, he referred to the Nissan LEAF introduction as “the launch that never ends.” In other words, passing over the keys to the first customers is only the beginning of a long slog: producing one vehicle after the next, responding to issues brought up by early adopters, and educating the market over and over again about how a EV is different than an internal combustion car. That’s the first stage that Tesla now finds itself after the successful into of the Model S.
Last Friday, Tesla Motors delivered its first Model S. For quality-control purposes, according to the company, Tesla is now building only one salable Model S per day at its factory in California. Tesla execs anticipate that production will slowly ramp up to a rate of 80 per day by the end of 2012. Company officials anticipate the plant will ramp up to a production rate of 80 cars a day by year’s end. In a perfect world, that equates to roughly 1,600-plus Model S electric sedans rolling off the lines per month. To date, Tesla has built “at least 20″ Model S sedans, said Gilbert Passin, Tesla’s head of manufacturing.