Tesla expands UK

base

Tesla Birmingham Store

TESLA, one of the world's newest automotive brands and one which is aiming to convert the world to sustainable motoring, is continuing to make a mark in Britain and has opened up for business in the Midlands.

The Californian-based electric vehicle and powertrain manufacturer has opened a 'store' in Digbeth High Street close to Birmingham city centre, its first outside the South East in the UK.

The firm is promising an experience unlike any other car dealership and although its latest vehicle, the Model S, costs upwards of £50,000 - anyone who wants to “see what the future holds" is promised a warm welcome.

The firm's UK & Ireland country manager Georg Ell said: “It is going to be a combination of sales, service and delivery.

“We will have a showroom - though we tend to call it a store - as it is very much a retail experience.

“It will be friendly and non-threatening. Showrooms can feel quite combative but our team will welcome people in a friendly way.

“We want people to come in with children and enjoy the experience - a little bit like the first time you see an iPad - with absolute wonder that this thing from the future has arrived.

“Our intention is to change the world's mode of transport to a sustainable one.

“It is as much about educating people and it's incredibly important people come and visit and don't feel pressurised.

“People can test-drive the car, even if they're not looking to change now but think they have seen the future.

“There will also be a service area unlike any other with clean white walls and bright red and no dirt, smoke, oil spills or dodgy looking calendars."

Tesla Motors has been making waves in the automotive world since it first burst on to the scene just over ten years ago.

It was founded in by entrepreneur and innovator Elon Musk in 2003, along with four others.

Its Roadster single-handedly changed people's perceptions of electric vehicles and proved performance need not be compromised in the interests of sustainability.

Since then the firm has expanded the its offer with its Model S saloon and has unveiled its Model X, an SUV which is set to go into production next year, with further models in the pipeline.

Tesla is set on expansion in the UK after establishing stores near Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Its Birmingham outlet represents its first foray north, though it is also looking for locations in Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

“Birmingham was part of the plan from the beginning and I came here eight months ago," said Mr Ell, who unlike most car industry bosses comes from a technological rather than an automotive background.

“We bolted together a plan for the UK where we would not just be a London and South East story.

“We wanted some anchor points around the country where we could put sales facilities and Birmingham had been identified as a good anchor city for us.

“There has been a lot of interest from the region - both existing and prospective customers - instead of travelling to London. It is a major city in the UK and we need to be there."

Mr Ell said what sets Tesla apart from others in terms of electric vehicles was starting from a blank sheet of paper, unlike other manufacturers who have sought to add EVs to their range.

“We started with a battery and built a car up around it. We want to accelerate the transition to sustainable cars, to show how electric vehicles should work and can work.

“If that is successful then we trust other manufacturers will follow us into the market and that market should become much bigger.

“We hire people that are very bright and we work very hard - throw all of that together with a very clear mission and as a result we are able to innovate very quickly."

Tesla's new Birmingham facility complements a supercharger facility that was launched at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Broad Street in August.

It enables Tesla cars to be fully charged in just an hour and the firm is currently establishing a network of these around the country in a bid to make travelling between cities easier than ever.

The firm's Model S has been described as “a game changer" by some for producing an electric car that makes no compromises.

Offering a range of between 240 and 312 miles, it also offers performance that is getting into supercar territory, the range-topping version boasting a top speed of 130mph and a 0-60mph time of just 4.2 seconds.

Mr Ell said: “Is it a game-changer? Absolutely. It can travel from 0-60mph faster than a Porsche 911, has a capacity greater than BMW 5 Series Estate, a range of 312 miles and is also the safest car in its class.

“We didn't just set out to build the best electric car but to build the best car for the money.

“It starts at £50,000, so it is not a cheap car, but it is an equivalent priced car against those it competes with and has also got dramatically lower running costs.

“The savings can be many thousands of pounds a year, so it's not like insulating your home and having to wait for years to save, it is an extraordinarily tangible saving.

“It really has put electric vehicles on the map. People who drive it will never want to go back to a petrol car again. When you get used to it there's no way you would want to go back to a petrol car."

Mr Ell said the Birmingham store was also looking to recruit further staff who are “passionate about electric vehicles".

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