Elon Musk talked up a storm at the Detroit Auto Show overnight.
We’ve collected all the important points from Musk’s presentation and subsequent Q&A here. But he gave out another, tiny anecdote which said a lot about his legendary attention to detail.
Yesterday, we reported a case the WSJ picked up on in which Musk halted production on the first Model S just three weeks before the first delivery. He’d taken a look at decided it needed bigger tyres on the back because “they looked better”.
It sent the engineering team into conniptions and they cited concerns with how it would affect anti-lock braking, range and liability. But Musk got what he wanted.
“You can always tell when someone’s left an Elon meeting: they’re defeated,” wrote a Quora user claiming to be a SpaceX engineer.
“[Musk] won’t hesitate to throw out six months of work because it’s not pretty enough or it’s not ‘badass’ enough.”
The Verge picked up on another instance during Musk’s appearance at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. He described how one updated Model S came off the production line without reading lights in the back.
The official line from Tesla was that the lights had been removed to increase headroom. Musk and his engineers assumed everyone was using backlit devices anyway.
One of Musk’s kids wasn’t. He told his dad the new Model S was “the stupidest car in the world”.
Result? The lights went back in.
Even those customers who received the models without lights were offered re-installation free of charge.
And while it’s tempting to read that as a case of a doting father being pushed around by his kid, it’s far more likely to be a example of how an eccentric, intense, wildly ambitious inventor still manages to stay in touch with the real people who use his products.
How many other electric car manufacturers can you name that are so intently focused on the future, yet still concern themselves with something like being able to fit two extra kids in the boot space?