Hanging out with the Tesla Model S P85
This was one of my more bizarre car related experiences...don't worry, the authorities were not involved. I was on my morning walk around downtown Sacramento last October when I noticed a Tesla Model S P85 and a small gaggle of guys in hardhats at the convention center loading dock. I wandered over to see what was up and maybe take a few pictures of the Model S which was really burrowing into my heart at that time. It turns out the guys in hardhats worked for a crane company. Not only were they there to gawk at the car, but they had plans to hoist it up on to the second floor of the convention center as part of the California Independent Systems Operator's Stakeholder Symposium 5.0. I guess the plan the crane guys laid out to me was too much for my brain to handle so I took a couple of shots of the car, bid fare well to the crane guys and went back on my merry way.
So I'm back on my walk about 45 minutes later when I hear the a revving engine and the mechanical whine of hydraulics coming from the East side of the Convention Center. I decide to investigate, so I head off to another loading dock just as the same Model S is pulling into the driveway, driven by two young and relatively nervous looking Tesla Employees. There in the driveway was a pretty large crane, two large custom lifting jigs, the crane guys from earlier, a chipper Convention Center operations director and a beautiful Tesla Model S. What happened next transfixed me for some time that morning.
It was quite an ordeal to get the car rigged up on the two intentionally over-engineered jigs. The driveway wasn't level and had a dip in the middle...far less ideal than the Rocklin, CA showroom where the engineers conceived the their plans. But there was no turning back. With some repositioning, a lot of elbow grease, a couple of big hunks of wood and some sledge hammers, the jig was in place. The look on the faces of the two Tesla employees was priceless! Their sole mission was to bring the car back in the same condition it was in when it left. They were less than prepared to see some burly crane jockeys swinging 5 pound sledgehammers mere inches from their charge.
You may be asking yourself why the hell someone would bother to write about a car and a crane...and you'd be right to. I guess there are three reasons. The first is that it's not something that you see every day. Second, the Model S is an amazing car by many measures. What self respecting car lover wouldn't want to stare at one? Finally, there was a moment in the process that hit me like the iconic opening scene in Rain Man where the Countach is coming off the cargo ship. It came off the ground in perfect elegant silence despite the crane truck straining away, it took me in. The way it slowly turned on it's new axis gave me new perspective on it's subtle yet aggressive styling. I also got to see an angle that I hardly anyone sees, namely, the bottom. Like the rest of the small gathering watching the ascent of the Tesla, I marveled at the flat bottom; our eyes and brains long accustomed to the sight of at least something mechanical or recognizable under a car. If you've followed the car at all, you know that almost none of the old conventions apply to the Model S.
So that's it. That's how I spent one October morning hanging out with the Tesla Model S P85.