Is Tesla Stealing The LA Auto Show's Thunder?
The Show Outside the LA Auto Show
The hottest exhibit during LA Auto Show days may actually be taking place at the Petersen Automotive Museum.
By Roy Nakano
Sun, Nov 20, 2022 07:50 PM PST
Featured Image: An overhead view of the Tesla Cybertruck and Cyberquad in the Petersen Automotive Museum’s Mullin Family Grand Salon. The corner insert is an actual quote from Forbes magazine, circa 2011.
All images by author Roy Nakano
It’s the elephant at the LA Auto Show and it’s not even in the Convention Center. It’s happening across town in the Wilshire-Fairfax District, at the Petersen Automotive Museum. And it opened right smack in the middle of the LA Auto Show—on Sunday, November 20, 2022, and will continue on through October 22, 2023.
“Inside Tesla: Supercharging the Electric Revolution” is what the Petersen calls it, and it’s the largest exhibit of past, present and future Teslas ever put together in one location,” says Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges.
Why It’s Such a Big Deal
The significance of a Tesla exhibit opening during the LA Auto Show may not be readily apparent, but there are several reasons why it’s a big thing. First and foremost, the automaker went from its humble beginnings in San Carlos, California, to become a multinational automotive and clean energy company with a net worth exceeding all other car companies.
It did this while not spending any money on conventional advertisements or commercials. In 2020, the company had the audacity to dissolve its public relations department, becoming the first known carmaker that doesn’t talk to the press in conventional ways. And, we might add, Tesla rarely does exhibits at auto shows - at least in the USA.
Always In The News
Of course, Tesla gets plenty of press coverage. The automotive press keeps an eagle eye on its developments, both good and bad. And Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, manages to be in the news on an almost daily basis.
The current news surrounding Musk may be the most controversial to date. His purchase of the social media giant Twitter for $44 billion has caused quite a stir, to put it mildly. Tesla’s stock market value sank $125 billion the day after the acquisition, raising concern that the preoccupation with Twitter would have consequences on the car company.
The Mother of All Tesla Exhibits
It is with this backdrop that “Inside Tesla: Supercharging the Electric Revolution” opens at the Petersen Automotive Museum. “Gathering the most comprehensive collection of Tesla products to date, the exhibit features everything from early concept vehicles to rarely seen prototypes and world-record-breaking production vehicles,” says Karges.
“Beyond vehicles, attendees will enjoy a wealth of information and displays that tell the story of Tesla’s energy ecosystem, manufacturing automation, Autopilot and Full Self-Driving expertise, among others, plus one-off projects with SpaceX, The Boring Company and Hyperloop,” says Karges.
Everything, Including the Sledgehammer and Steel Ball
Very little is spared at the exhibit. Even the infamous sledgehammer and steel ball used to demonstrate the strength of the upcoming Cybertruck doors (with mixed success) are on display.
“Tesla has revolutionized the automotive, EV, technology, and manufacturing spaces within a relatively short time span, begetting the question, ‘How did they do that?’” says Karges. “This exhibit strives to be a holistic walk-through of how the brand became a global phenomenon and further details what lies ahead.”
The exhibit is open to the public as of November 20, 2022 in the Mullin Family Grand Salon and Phillip Sarofim Porte Cochere on the museum’s first floor.
For more information about the Petersen Automotive Museum and to purchase tickets, go to petersen.org/tesla.
About The Author
Roy Nakano gave birth to LACar in the late '90s, having previously delivered LA Audio File back in the '80s. Aside from the occasional review, Roy likes to stray off the beaten automotive path: "Six Degrees of Reparations" reflected on the regretful ethical paths taken by car companies throughout history. "Traveling Through the Past and Present of the Green Book" looked at businesses that took a stand against racism and the man that wrote the book on where to find them. "Best Cars to Drive in Rush Hour Traffic" was an LACar guide published in the pre-GPS era. "In Search of the First Datsun 510 Tuner" looked at one of the milestones in the origin of import tuners.