Saturday, August 6, 2016

Factories: Tesla and Chocolate! - Day 12

The big day has arrived! It is Day 12 and Oliver gets to visit the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California. Joining us on this tour will be fellow Tesla fan and cousin Monica. Our tour is scheduled for 10 AM. We got up bright and early so we could arrive by 9 AM, the time we thought the customer delivery center opened. Turns out it opened at 10 AM so we ended up spending some time visiting the property. During our explorations, we visited one of the employee/visitors entrances to the factory, they have a very nice setup. One happy coincidence was that Tesla was testing a joint venture with a washing service for those that are supercharging. The service claims to use just one cup of water to wash a car. Ours probably took two as we brought part of Death Valley with us. After Monica arrived, we spent some time catching up on things and showing her our car. For this post don't expect too many pictures from inside the factory,  No cameras are allowed.

Our tour guide, Adam, came out a little before 10 AM to get all tour attendees ready for the tour. Everyone over 18 was asked to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements. Adam was going to have Oliver complete one, but Ollie got lucky. From there we were taken into the factory. At the tour assembly area, they have some significant Tesla prototypes on display. They even had a celebrity on the display, the Roadster that appeared in Iron Man. We were given a lesson on metallurgy and plastics manufacturing. We got to sample the some of the aluminum components to see how light they are. After that we, boarded an electric tram (DC Motor and Lead Acid Batteries) that would take us through the plant. The plant is huge. Employees use bikes to travel through the factory it's that large.

In the factory there is an impressive array of technology. Robots everywhere doing all sorts of tasks. Huge presses forming metal. Scanning devices for ensuring parts are at tolerances smaller than hair's width. All this was going on, in an very clean environment. Robots can't work without supervision and there's a ton of it. Employees everywhere doing everything. Like many tech companies, there are free soda and snack machines available. In addition, they looked to have a very well appointed cafe for the employees. The tour lasted about an hour, but we could have spent a day in there. Short and sweet is still neat. Adam, our tour guide, was very enthusiastic. I suppose this is enthusiasm run throughout the company and that what makes game changing companies.

After the tour, we spent some time shopping in the Tesla store and speaking with Adam about Tesla in the early days. He shared many great stories with us and we got some information from a true insider. After most everyone from the tour was dispersed, Oliver received a special gift from the management. In honor of his winning the North Carolina State Math Fair for his Tesla Coast to Coast project, Adam gave Oliver a 1:18 scale limited edition Tesla Model S that was molded using the equipment they mold the plastic parts used in the interior of the cars. This is a very cool piece that Oliver will cherish for quite some time.

After Tesla, we had a nice lunch with Monica. We ate a restaurant that pretended to be Irish but didn't have a lick of Irish food. It was good to catch up and exchange stories as we haven't seen Monica in person for several years.

Later in the afternoon we spent some time at our hotel in San Francisco. It is a game oriented hotel
they had table tennis, shuffleboard, miniature shuffleboard, circular table tennis, connect four, backgammon, and more. Oliver's favorites were connect four and the circular table tennis. After some hardcore gaming, we went on over to Boudin's for a light dinner and then on to Ghirardelli's for a chocolaty treat.

Another great day on our Tesla Coast to Coast tour!

No comments:

Post a Comment