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Tesla eyes second Sydney showroom

Charging hard: Tesla stores – not dealerships – offer owners free charging bays with a well-stocked waiting room.

Goulburn charging bay opens soon as Tesla considers second Sydney store

27 Jul 2015

TESLA is eyeing off its second Sydney store close to the heart of city, as it looks at increasing the recharging footprint for its fleet of electric vehicles.

The American-based car-maker has just three stores in Australia so far, one in Sydney’s northern suburbs and two in Melbourne.

Tesla Australia marketing and communications manager Heath Walker would not be drawn on where the new site might be located or when it would appear, but added that the company is also looking to expand its retail network of ‘stores’, as the company prefers to call them, into other states, notably Queensland.

“Moving forward, besides having one service centre in each major city, we’ll go to a retail model. Our next store in Sydney will definitely be a retail set-up,” he said.

“With the Gold Coast and Brisbane so close, it’s logical to think we would look there.” Meanwhile, a supercharging centre for Tesla vehicles in the New South Wales country town of Goulburn is a “few months away,” according to Mr Walker. Eight bays will be provided in the Goulburn Visitor’s Centre car park, which can add 270km of range in 30 minutes of charging, according to the company.

The facility can only be used by Tesla vehicles, due to a unique plug design and an electronic ‘handshake’ between charger and vehicle.

Goulburn is located two hours south-west from Sydney and an hour north east of Canberra, and is located on the Hume Highway which runs through to Melbourne.

The facilities are all owned by the parent company, which works hard to ensure uniformity of message across its network.

“Everything is own by the US,” said Mr Walker. “We do have a Tesla Australia trading arm, but that’s one unique thing about our staff set-up we only have one CEO and that is (Tesla founder) Elon (Musk).

“We don’t have country CEOs, but we have country sales directors who are responsible for sales, we have marketing heads, but everyone reports back up through the vertical.” Tesla sent a retail development team to Australia to supervise the fitout of its three stores – one in Sydney’s northern suburbs and two in Melbourne – right down to the shade of epoxy paint on the workshop floor and the colour of the tiles in the showroom.

“We want the cars and our imagery of the vehicles to do the talking along with our staff,” Mr Walker said. “The experience once you get in-store is more like a retail store rather than necessarily a dealership. There’s no sales pitch it’ s more about education, and making sure the car is right for the individual.” While the brand is very visible online, and cars can be ordered online, Mr Walker said that Tesla is very hands-on in the purchase process.

“We provide a range of ways to purchase a vehicle you can come into the store, or you can go home and purchase it online,” he said. “We actually encourage people to go home after their experience to customise their vehicle even though we don’t put pressure on the customer to make the decision in store, they still feel the pressure just by sitting alongside someone and designing a car with them.” Telsa also employs ‘delivery specialists’ who liaise with new customers prior to delivery. From time of ordering, Tesla says that a customer will receive their new car in three months.

The company also holds ‘cars and coffee’ events as well as owner panels, where existing customers can talk to potential customers about the cars.

“Prospects who might be saying 'I’m not sure if the Model S is right for me' can hear stories from the customer base rather than us spruiking our own product,” said Mr Walker.

Tesla currently sells a single model in three variants. The Model S 70 (the numerals refer to battery capacity in kilowatt-hours) rear-wheel drive single-motor sedan starts at $100,100 plus on-road costs, has a 420km range, 235kW of power and can spring to 100km/h in 5.8 seconds.

The single-motor 85, meanwhile, has a range of 502km, a 0-100km/h figure of 5.6s and 278kW of grunt. It costs $114,200 plus on-road costs.

Both the 70 and the 85 can be upgrade to all-wheel-drive for $6,800.

The range-topping P85D sports motors front and rear, has a slightly shorter 491km range but a much faster 0-100km/h time of 3.3sec thanks to its 193/375kW front rear motor combo. It starts at $148,000 plus on-roads.

An optional Ludicrous Speed upgrade lowers the P85D’s 0-100km/h time to 3.0s, according to Tesla’s website, for an additional $13,500. A $4,100 battery upgrade is also required to tick the Ludicrous box.

It is estimated that around 150 cars have been sold via the brand’s Sydney and Melbourne dealerships in the eight months since the Model S has been on sale.

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