Tesla will tomorrow open its doors to its new Australian flagship store to the general public.
Located in Martin Place in Sydney’s CBD, the store is the first Tesla store in Australia to offer 2 levels of shop floor, and the first to have a Tesla Powerwall (for home battery storage) on display.
The Powerwall, however, will not be available for direct sale, with customers directed to authorised 3rd party dealers to purchase their home energy needs. “You can still come into the store, take a look at the Powerwall and find out all the information you need. We will be able to help customers put together a solution that fits their needs,” says spokesman Heath Walker.
The opening of the store is part of an expanding footprint Tesla is leaving on the Australian EV market, with more stores in the works. “We’re always looking at opening new venues where people can come and educate themselves on the benefits of Tesla, and shopping centres are a big part of that plan,” Walker said.
“The aim of the shop is to educate people on what Tesla can offer in terms of EVs and home storage. The difference is we’re not a traditional dealership, we don’t actually have any stock held in our stores. The aim is to give people the opportunity to learn about our products, and even test drive them.”
Though located in the busy foot traffic street of Martin Place, the new flagship store will offer test drives. “You wouldn’t think Martin Place is a great location for an automotive store but actually its perfect for test drives,” Walker says.
“We have the opportunity to show customers how the auto-pilot feature works in heavy traffic in the city, as well as the option of going out through the Eastern Distributor or the Anzac bridge so we can show a little bit of the Tesla torque.”
The new store expects to have the highest foot traffic of any of the Tesla stores in Australia. How many people exactly?
“Lots”, Walker said cautiously. “It’s great timing (the opening) because awareness was a slight barrier with Tesla when we first launched our stores in Australia. But now with the Tesla 3 (“mass-market” electric vehicle) and Powerwall people are already aware of the brand before walking in.”
Despite the proposed merger of Tesla and SolarCity, Tesla has no current plans (officially speaking) to sell solar in their stores. “It’s too early to tell as the merger hasn’t even gone through yet, though understandably there is a lot of speculation about how selling solar might look like through our stores”
With only half a dozen staff on hand at any one time to help customers, the store setup is set up as self service information desk, with any purchases done on a computer or one of their touch screen TVs.
Tesla vehicles have already driven over 9 million kms in Australia, with 700,000 litres of petrol saved in just over 18 months. The company is not, however, revealing official numbers on sales.