Click for a high-res gallery of Tesla's Menlo Park Store

Rumors and promises of a Midwest Tesla Motors store have been in the air for years now. These rumors don't make the official announcement of a Chicago sales and service center scheduled to open this spring any less exciting. In fact, considering the recent slight fall from grace that Tesla has suffered, confirmation or future growth is a great thing. Chicago is only the first of seven new retail locations that are planned for 2009. The other cities on the list include: London, Manhattan, Miami, Seattle and, further ahead, Washington, D.C. and Munich, Germany.

If everything goes well - and we know it won't, but we can still hope for smooth progress - then the new retail locations will be the spearhead for the Model S, which will be unveiled in a few short weeks. In the official announcement about the Chicago store (read it after the jump), Tesla CEO, Chairman and Product Architect Elon Musk said, "Tesla has no intention of being a niche automaker. The Chicago store will introduce the company to even more people in the United States and position us to launch a more affordable sedan for mainstream drivers." At the very least, tourists will soon have something to snap pictures of in the Windy City other than the Sears Tower and the Bean.


[Source: Tesla Motors]

PRESS RELEASE:

Tesla to Open Midwest Regional Sales & Service Center in Chicago

Automaker also plans stores in London, New York, Miami, Seattle, Washington DC and Munich



March 2, 2009

SAN CARLOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tesla Motors Inc. is opening a Midwest regional sales and service center in Chicago, the first of seven retail facilities the electric vehicle manufacturer plans to launch this year.

The Chicago store -- which will open this spring -- is at 1053 W. Grand Ave., near the Kennedy Expressway in the River West neighborhood. The site is visible from the Ohio Street off-ramp and offers convenient access from the suburbs and further afield. The location gives prospective customers the opportunity to experience Tesla's best-in-class performance under a range of driving conditions, including highways and urban streets.

Tesla's first showrooms opened last summer in Los Angeles and Menlo Park, Calif. After Chicago, Tesla plans to open a store in London, U.K. It is finalizing site selection in Manhattan, Miami and Seattle and is scouting sites in Washington, D.C. and Munich, Germany.

"People in Chicago will soon see how the Tesla retail experience is vastly different from that of a traditional dealership," said Michael van der Sande, Tesla's Senior Vice President of Global Sales, Marketing and Service. "Tesla's cars are unique, and the look and feel of our stores reinforce the close connection we have with our customers."

Tesla is the only production automaker selling highway-capable EVs in the United States. The Tesla Roadster beats nearly every other car for acceleration yet is twice as energy efficient as a Toyota Prius. With an EPA-estimated range of 244 miles per charge, it costs roughly $4 to refuel and can be completely recharged in as little as 3.5 hours.

The Tesla Roadster has far fewer moving (and breakable) parts and requires less maintenance than an internal combustion engine vehicle. Tesla requests that owners bring in the car - which never needs oil changes or exhaust system tune-ups, among other costly repairs -- every 12,000 miles or once a year for a diagnostic check and software upgrade.

Tesla will unveil a prototype sedan March 26. The Model S will be an all-electric, zero-emission four-door with an anticipated base price of $57,400. After a federal tax credit of $7,500, the effective price should be less than $50,000. Because of tax incentives and relatively inexpensive maintenance and refueling, the lifetime ownership cost will be much lower than luxury cars with similar sticker prices.

"Tesla has no intention of being a niche automaker," said Tesla CEO, Chairman and Product Architect Elon Musk. "The Chicago store will introduce the company to even more people in the United States and position us to launch a more affordable sedan for mainstream drivers."

About Tesla Motors

San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla Motors Inc. designs and manufactures electric vehicles with exceptional design, performance and efficiency, while conforming to all North American and European safety, environmental and durability standards. The Roadster, which has a 0-to-60 mph acceleration of 3.9 seconds and a base price of $109,000, is the only highway-capable production EV for sale in North America and Europe. Tesla expects to begin producing the all-electric, zero-emission Model S sedan in late 2011. Please visit www.teslamotors.com.

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