Tesla on Fast Track to San Jose

ABOVE: What it’s like to ride in a Tesla Roadster for the first time. Filmed on Aug 10, leaving the former residence of David Packard in Los Altos Hills, California. Driver is Zeev Drori, CEO of Tesla Motors.

If all goes well, San Jose could be the headquarters of the world’s coolest car company. The maker of high performance electric cars is interested in a piece of land near San Jose’s Water Pollution Control Plant for its central manufacturing and R&D facility. On Aug. 19, the city council is slated to vote to direct the city manager to pursue a deal with Tesla Motors.  The facility, according to insiders, would directly employ more than 1,000 workers and create an ecosystem of more than 10,000 jobs.

Tesla CEO Zeev Drori upstaged governor Arnold Schwarznegger at Monday night’s annual Silicon Valley Leadership Group barbecue by parking a silver Tesla roadster outside the former Los Altos Hills residence of H-P founder David Packard. The governor is working with Mayor Chuck Reed’s office and city economic development officials to land the Tesla prize. Although other cities are competing, San Jose is in a strong position, city officials believe.

Since we were headed the same way, I hitched a ride with Drori, who claims to be a Formula One driver and drives the 13th Tesla vehicle to be produced. Compact and low to the ground, the two seater was so quiet I wondered aloud if the engine was even running as its wheels rolled down the hill towards the late Mr. Packard’s iron driveway gate.  “A motor,” Drori corrected. “It doesn’t have an engine.”

The auto, which redlines at 13,000 rpm, has no clutch or transmission and goes from zero to more than 120 mph in a single gear. To prove his point, Drori accelerated briskly on a few straight stretches of the hillside road, providing a pulse-quickening thrill. As we reached the Foothill College parking lot, a police siren screamed. Luckily for Drori, who pulled to the side, Sheriff’s deputies were on the way to an unrelated emergency call.


  1. #2 Kenny,
    No. The Tesla will be another toy, an indulgence that will be flaunted by the rich to demonstrate to the rest of us peons just how green and enlightened they are.
    Personally, I’m more intrigued by the compressed air car which is coming into production in India and may soon be available in the U.S. and will be affordable to others than just the priveleged, spoiled elite.
    Even those of us who aren’t city workers will be able to afford one!

  2. Hopefully this will happen and won’t go the way of Nvidia’s HQ’s at Sobrato Tower, BEA Systems HQ’s at Sobrato Tower, Living Tomorrow Pavilion at First & San Fernando, Palladium Redevelopment project downtown, The Grand Prix…need I go on.

  3. Catch-22, unfortunately.

    I’d love to have the Tesla manufacturing capability here. However, I’d also like the Tesla to become affordable enough for ME to have one.

    And both of those are not likely to happen.

  4. Very cool.  They are planning for more economical models in the next few years.  Think of it like Apple—there will always be people that will pay above top dollar for a cool product.  If you wait a bit, there will be less expensive models on the market.

    The dealership is just being finished on El Camino Real in Menlo Park.  It looks really nice.

  5. An electric car that we just plug in and drive. Sounds so “green”. Problem is the electricity has to come from somewhere, mainly coal and gas power plants. This just transfers where the pollution is generated. The electric car makes no rational sense until nuclear power plants are built.

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