Tesla Motors opened its sales, service, and delivery center in central San Francisco to the press and VIPs on Monday and Tuesday, and will open the store to the public on Friday. The 65,000-square-foot facility is Tesla's largest in North America. It's located about 40 miles from both the electric-vehicle maker's Palo Alto headquarters and its Fremont factory.

The store is about 40 percent larger than Tesla's Montreal facility, though the company's center in Oslo, Norway, remains the world's largest, Bloomberg News says. The property is located on the city's Van Ness Avenue at a site that was first occupied by a Chevrolet dealership in 1937. That thoroughfare was once known as the city's Auto Row, though many dealers have moved out because of San Francisco's expensive real estate. About 400 people attended the opening festivities. With the opening, Tesla has 28 stores in California alone, including San Francisco Bay Area locations such as Palo Alto, Corte Madera, Dublin, and San Jose.

Tesla, unlike other automakers, sells its vehicles direct to consumers without third-party dealerships. The company has about 260 stores worldwide, and is looking to boost that figure to about 440 by the end of next year. That's when the $35,000 Model 3 will start production. That model has received more than 373,000 advance reservations.

Based on that demand, Tesla expects to produce as many as a half-million vehicles a year by 2018. The company held the grand opening of its $5-billion Gigafactory near Reno, Nevada, late last month. The factory, which is about 15 percent complete, employs about 1,000 people, though that number is slated to eventually swell to about 10,000.

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