Tesla Motors, continuing its European push in places like Germany and the Netherlands, quietly rolled into the United Kingdom this week with the debut of its first retail store. It also announced it will be selling its popular Model S electric sedan for a starting price of £49,900.
Tesla, which said the Model S will be available in this island nation by the end of next March with a right hand drive configuration, opened its newest store in London’s Westfield Shopping Centre in White City, one of the capital’s most popular shopping destinations. Like its other retail locations, which are more like being in an Apple store and less like being in a car showroom, it features interactive displays and design studios enabling people to design their own Model S.
The Model S coming to British drivers will sport is traditional electric powertrain that delivers a NEDC electric vehicle range of 310 miles. It will offer one of two battery configurations, 60 kWh or 85 kWh, with the battery floor-mounted to give the car a low center of gravity and better handling. Sporting a five door design, the EV allows for additional luggage space in the front since it lacks a traditional gas engine.
Company officials pointed out that there are a number of financial benefits which can be applied to the Model S given that it is an alternative vehicle. These include zero showroom tax, zero Vehicle Exercise Duty (road tax) and exemption from London’s Congestion Charge. Those who turn the electric car into a company ride “can also benefit from a 0% Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) rate until April 2015, after which the BIK is set to a rate of 5%.”
“Tesla is taking the UK market very seriously, said Telsa Motors CEO Elon Musk in a statement, “and there are more stores and service centers to come. We’re also going to establish a Supercharger network so Model S customers will be able to drive long distances anywhere in the UK using our network for free, forever. The first Supercharger will be energized next quarter and we’ll aspire to have the entire country covered by end of next year.”