Tesla Motors, which sells the world’s only highway-capable electric vehicle, opened its European flagship store in the heart of London’s exclusive Knightsbridge district on June 25.
The 5,000 square-foot showroom on Cheval Place is within walking distance from Harrods department store and convenient to Heathrow Airport – a high-profile expansion of Tesla’s international presence. Tesla will also have regional sales and service centres in Monaco, Munich and Zurich, and four new stores in the United States. All stores provide test-drive opportunities to prospective customers and information on the growing number of electric vehicles.
Teslas qualify for numerous incentives in European countries and cities, including waivers of luxury tax, reductions in VAT, free parking and free charging. In London, Teslas are exempt from the congestion charge, a saving of up to £2,000 per year for commuters.
Tesla will begin delivering cars to European customers this summer of which the first 250 will be the Signature Edition Roadster model, priced from £94,000 on the road, with the option to upgrade to the more powerful Roadster Sport. A right hand drive entry-level variant of the two-seater sportscar will be on sale in the UK during the first quarter of 2010 to capitalise on the growing demand for the Roadster, for which 1,300 orders have already been taken across Europe.
“Thanks to an abundance of discriminating drivers and progressive public policy, Tesla is already well known in Europe,” said Tesla CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk. “We expect the London store to dramatically increase our brand identity throughout the continent, and with right hand drive models now due at the beginning of next year, the UK market will provide a solid foundation on which to build this.”
The Roadster is the first electric vehicle to travel more than 200 miles on a single charge, and the first ever EU and US-certified lithium ion battery electric vehicle. The Roadster gets the equivalent of 256 miles per gallon, travels more than 240 miles on a single charge and produces zero tailpipe emissions.
Tesla is also taking reservations for the Model S sedan, which Tesla expects to produce starting in late 2011. The Model S, which will likely be the world’s first mass-produced, highway-capable EVs, will have unrivalled passenger and cargo space and travel up to 300 miles per charge.