What does it mean to live the Tesla lifestyle? Well apparently Tesla thinks it involves a certain amount of surfing and apparently at least 200 fans of the electric car company were quick to agree over the weekend.

Tesla Motors sold out of its latest non-polluting "vehicle" in a single day as its limited edition Tesla surfboard quickly sold out after appearing in the lifestyle section of the company's online shop

Of course, probably not all owners of the new boards will display them proudly alongside (or on top of) their brand new Model 3; plenty of them are already being resold on ebay for up to $5,000.

It's a time-honored tradition in the automotive industry to play up the small things to set your car apart from the mass of vehicles out there that, let's be honest, aren't really all that different from each other.

Car companies like to really market things like leather seats, fancy and instantly out-of-date "infotainment systems" or best of all: a certain lifestyle that a brand works to associate itself with. Think Lexus for luxury or Subaru for skiing, maybe. 

Then there's Tesla Motors, which actually does have a vehicle that is very different from the masses. But that doesn't stop Elon Musk's electric car juggernaut from also selling the "Tesla lifestyle." 

It's actually not that clear to me what this lifestyle might entail. Tesla owners are probably environmentally conscious, but honestly it seems to me the larger public perception is that most people driving a Model S are from a clan of affluent hipsters, kind of like Musk himself.

Thing is, though, Tesla hasn't really been doing too much to cultivate the lifestyle side of its brand, at least not as far as merchandise is concerned. The "lifestyle" section is filled with a pretty anodyne selection of hats, mugs and desktop scale replicas of its cars: your basic gift shop fare. 

In fact, the only item under the "sports and outdoors" subsection is the sold-out surfboard.

By the way, it is a pretty nice looking board, designed by Lost Surfboards and pro shaper Matt "Mayhem" Biolos alongside Tesla's own design studio to make sure it fits both inside and outside the Models S, X and 3.

So is Tesla looking to compete with the likes of Jeep and Subaru as the brand you think of for toting your gear to the beach or the ski lift? Maybe. Or maybe it's a distraction from the company's other problems as my colleague John Brandon has suggested.

If I had to guess I'd bet somebody inside Tesla likes to surf, thought it would be a cool idea and managed to get a green light. 

I'd guess this is the truth because it's also a basic description of how Musk has managed to fundraise another of his ventures, the tunnel boring startup The Boring Company. Musk has sold hats, working flamethrowers and bricks to help finance the side project to remarkable success.

More than anything, it's the latest testament to Musk's ability to generate publicity and turn a quick buck at the same time. It could also be a sign he's learning from his mistakes: given Tesla's trouble turning new cars out of its factory to fill orders, it was smart to limit the board run to just 200.

Published on: Jul 30, 2018
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