Long Island Tesla Gallery Is a Lure for New Model 3 Buyers

Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station on Long Island is the newest home of a Tesla gallery, where shoppers on their way to Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, or Saks Fifth Avenue can peek in at the ever-alluring Tesla electric car line. The opening comes on the heels of Tesla’s announcement that its Fremont factory is shutting down to retool in order to ready for new Model 3 production beginning February 20.  

Tesla’s mass market Model 3 sedan, with anticipated starting price of $35,000 before incentives, is a vehicle that Tesla hopes will capture the attention and wallets of slightly more mainstream automobile buyers, as it will run about the same cost as an upscale gasoline-powered car. “You can touch them, go into them, and really see what they’re all about,” Dave Ackerman, director of marketing and business development at Walt Whitman Shops, explained. “You can schedule a test drive, too, but you can’t drive the vehicles in the mall.” (chuckle, chortle)

The Model 3 is expected to achieve a minimum of 215 miles of range per charge and has been designed to attain the highest safety ratings in every category. According to the Tesla website, “The Model 3 combines real world range, performance, safety, and spaciousness into a premium sedan that only Tesla can build.”

Since the Model 3 has a starting price of about half the base price of the flagship Tesla Model S, the Model 3 comes to this Long Island location at a time in which a new upper middle class clientele seeks out markers that signify their particular financial comfort, identity, dreams, and lifestyles. The Walt Whitman Shops seem quite upscale to middle class folks, so much so that one visitor mentioned in a review, “There is no food court here (rich people don’t eat at food courts).”

As a status symbol, the Tesla Model 3 may be just the right fit for this upwardly mobile Long Island community and those who may wander through on a warm summer’s day jaunt.

The Tesla also has appeal to this particular mobile clientele in the form of a state-sponsored electric vehicle rebate. Last April, the New York state legislature  included a rebate program for zero-emission and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles within the SFY2016-17 Budget. The program provides consumers with a $2,000 per vehicle credit. It also moved the state closer to achieving Cuomo Administration commitments of reducing climate-altering pollution 80 percent by 2050 and putting more than 800,000 zero-emission vehicles on the roads in New York State by 2025.

The Walt Whitman Shops’ three-car gallery will also showcase the exquisite Tesla Model S sedan, with initial sticker price at around $70,000, and the Model X SUV, with its cool wing doors and starting price just above $80,000.

Other New York Tesla locations include Brooklyn, East Hampton, Manhasset, Manhattan, Westchester, and White Plains.

Photo credit: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region via Foter.com / CC BY


Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn grew up in Stafford Springs, CT, home of the half-mile tar racetrack. She's an avid Formula One fan (this year's trip to the Monza race was memorable). With a Ph.D. from URI, she draws upon digital media literacy and learning to spread the word about sustainability issues. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Google+