Until this week, Tesla had only two facilities in Australia, a combined sales and service center in North Sydney and a service center in Melbourne. On Wednesday, it opened a spectacular new Tesla store in the trendiest shopping center in Sydney’s Central Business District. Known officially as 20 Martin Place, it is located next to an Apple store.
Tesla makes no secret of the fact that its stores are patterned after Apple locations. The way they look and the way they operate is basically the same. Both use their sales facilities as places where people can come to learn about their products in a relaxed, no pressure environment. Not everyone knows about electric cars and they tend to have a ton of questions. It should be noted that traditional car manufacturers have done an abysmal job of teaching people why they should want an electric car.
Like all Tesla stores, the two story, 5,000 square foot facility in Sydney features floor to ceiling glass in front. Inside is a spacious, welcoming environment with large pieces of art work and photos of Tesla automobiles gracing the walls. There are three Model S sedans on the first floor. The Model X is not yet available Down Under, but will be along later this year.
There is a full design studio on the first floor, where customers can view colors and options to help them decide how they wish to configure their cars.Upstairs, there is another design studio and several private areas where customers can meet with a member of the Tesla sales staff personally.
If they see something they like on display, they can purchase it right off the showroom floor, but they will have to wait a few hours to drive it home. The store does not have a back door large enough for cars, so the staff need to shuttle cars in and out using specially constructed ramps that traverse the front stairs. Moving cars is reserved for times when the mall is closed to pedestrians. Test drives are available upon request nearby.
To date, Tesla automobiles have traveled more than a half million miles in the country, saving Australians more than 185,000 gallons of gasoline. Tesla has a network of Superchargers along the highway between Sydney and Melbourne. In addition, it has more than 100 destination chargers available to motorists with 75 more planned by the end of the year.
In what may be a sign of the future, at the back of the store is a display featuring the Tesla Powerwall home battery storage system. The Powerwall isn’t sold directly through Tesla, but staff can direct potential customers to one of the company’s third-party suppliers and installers, who package the battery with an inverter and solar panels.
Solar systems with battery backup are very popular in Australia, where electricity costs are significantly higher than in other countries. As Tesla starts to think about becoming an energy company after it merges with SolarCity (if it does), all Tesla showrooms may one day offer information on residential solar products.
Source and photo credits: Gizmodo Australia