Tesla Motors (TSLA) is building on its strategy of exposing the pubic to its electric cars in high-end shopping malls with 10 new locations planned for fall 2012.
The expansion brings the number of Tesla showrooms to 24 in North America and 34 worldwide.
These aren't your average car dealerships, they are more like interactive marketing studios meant to evangelize electric vehicles and, in particular, the company's sporty Model S hatchback, which carries a sticker price of $50,000 for the base model.
Each location is loaded with interactive multimedia displays, where customers can pick the features they would like in their own Tesla Model S using a large touchscreen and then view what the vehicle would look like an 85-inch video wall. Every showroom has a Tesla Model S premium model on display, and most have vehicles to test-drive.
"As we open locations throughout the country, our approach continues to be geared towards engaging and informing more people about Tesla and Model S and the technology behind it. says George Blankenship, vice president of worldwide sales and ownership experience. "Customers can walk into a no-pressure environment, ask questions and engage with informative product specialists to learn more about the many advantages of going electric."
Here are the US locations that Tesla is planning:
- Roosevelt Field (Garden City, New York)
- Natick Mall (Boston area)
- Westfield Old Orchard (Chicago area)
- Westfield Garden State Plaza (Paramus, New Jersey)
- The Mall at Short Hills (Morristown, New Jersey)
- Westfield University Town Center (San Diego)
- Lincoln Road (Miami Beach, Florida)
- Tyson's Corner (McLean, Virginia)
- Westfield Topanga (Topanga, California)
The list also includes Tesla's first Canadian location at the Yorkdale Shopping Center in Toronto, Ontario.
California is expected to dominate US electric vehicle sales, but the potential in certain affluent metropolitan areas is high, shows recent data from Pike Research.
Tesla's Model S is actually sold out for the rest of this model year - with 5,000 cars made to order for buyers. The company plans to sell 20,000 for next year, and the pace of orders suggests it is well on its way - through July 2012, more than 12,200 reservations had been made.
The Model S can be configured with three different battery pack densities. It boasts a range of 265 miles, the longest of any production electric car in the world; the high-performance model in the line accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds.
Tesla's bold expansion plan stands in contrast to the ongoing troubles of Smith Electric Vehicle Corp. The maker of commercial electric vehicles announced this morning that it is pulling its plans for a reduced initial public offering of about $76 million. The company wasn't able to raise enough money and will look for private financing instead.