Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Visit to the Tesla Showroom

The new Tesla showroom opened here in Austin last weekend. The showroom is situated on the main shopping street of The Domain, a high end mixed retail, residential, office, and restaurant development on the old IBM Austin factory site. The opening coincided with the start of South by Southwest, the annual film/music/technology festival here in Austin. The weather was quite lovely on a Tuesday afternoon so I decided that a visit in the evTD would make a for great outing. 

The store front is kind of long and narrow, just fine for showing off the Model S that was front and center, along with displays for the color and material options along with some diagrams of the technology.

The attendants are young, bright, articulate, and seemed well informed on their product and market. They said Elon Musk had visited the Grand Opening on his way to deliver a keynote address at SxSW.

In the back of the store was what I was told is one of the few remaining Tesla Roadsters for sale. The Model S is gorgeous and eminently practical, but the Roadster still is the one that gets me charged up (pardon the pun). I think Tesla has chosen the right place to market these since Austin demographically has the money  - lots of tech people cashed in on the bubble before it burst - and a strong "green" attitude.

They let me sit in the driver's seat, and I was impressed with the materials and finish of the interior. It is definitely a cut above my Nissan Leaf as well it should be. The available range on the display said 244 miles, also about three and a half times the Leaf. You get what you pay for, and the relative value seems to be appropriate. The exterior is top quality as well, a very well turned out motor car.

When I told them I had driven my converted MG TD, the staff got excited and wanted to see it, then wanted pictures of my car in front of the store. Some other patrons came out of the shop and I gave them a look under the hood and the boot with a general show and tell about the car's components and the process of doing the conversion. Lots of interest and I didn't even mention that I was driving electric for a fraction of the cost.

Now if my inheritance from that unknown uncle in Nigeria comes through, I'll be back to put a deposit on a Model S.

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