Plug into Tesla’s luxury vi­sion of a petrol-free world

Elec­tric av­enues

The Wharf - - Front Page - Laura En­field

For weeks the Tesla store in Ca­nary Wharf re­mained shrouded in mys­tery, the win­dows blacked out and bear­ing only a logo. But on Fri­day, April 21, the bar­ri­ers came down and the doors of the shop­ping mall’s first show­room hous­ing ac­tual cars slide open.

The ar­rival was al­most as si­lent as the car man­u­fac­turer’s award-win­ning Model S and Model X all-elec­tric cars, which dom­i­nate the space in­side.

Am­bi­tious and enig­matic owner Elon Musk does not do in­ter­views, we are told, and nei­ther do his Tesla em­ploy­ees.

Per­haps he saw a re­port from trad­ing in­sight web­site Bezinga that said Tesla shares dropped more than 3.8% af­ter Bloomberg pub­lished its in­ter­view with him in Fe­bru­ary.

In­stead a state­ment is is­sued from a spokesper­son which said: “Ca­nary Wharf is a great lo­ca­tion be­cause it’s the per­fect af­flu­ent, high foot­fall lo­ca­tion and con­tin­ues our unique ap­proach to car re­tail­ing where peo­ple can learn more about elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

“There is also great charg­ing in­fras­truc­ture in the Ca­nary Wharf area for own­ers and future own­ers.”

De­spite this less than per­sonal ini­ti­a­tion, we are ush­ered into the sleek, pre­dom­i­nantly white show­room with grace and smiles.

It is housed in the for­mer Austin Reed store in Cabot Place with no desks or clut­ter and the var­i­ous trims and paint colours ar­ranged like art­work on the back wall.

And the com­pany is pulling out all the stops to make the cars ap­peal­ing to the pass­ing masses in Ca­nary Wharf who see them­selves in the en­vi­ron­men­tal van­guard.

Driv­ers can drop in and climb in­side the cars with­out an ap­point­ment and find out more from the ad­vi­sors about the pros and cons of own­ing an all-elec­tric ve­hi­cle.

Those think­ing of pur­chas­ing a car can visit the de­sign stu­dio and use in­ter­ac­tive screens to ex­plore the va­ri­ety of spec­i­fi­ca­tions on of­fer from paint colour to seat­ing ar­range­ments.

It will tell you where charg­ing points are, how much money a model will cost to run and show you op­tions like the Back To The

Future-style Fal­con Wing Doors. Tesla knows how to use lan­guage to max­i­mum af­fect. The ac­cel­er­a­tion modes are named Sport or Lu­di­crous and there is an ac­tion movie-sound­ing sub­zero weather pack­age, which in­cludes heated seats and steer­ing wheel.

If you get these you will be able to switch them on from the com­fort of your home us­ing the app so you can step straight into a toasty warm car. James Bond would ap­prove.

In­side the mid-size Model S is also a tech lovers dream with a huge, larger than A4 size screen in lieu of a tra­di­tional dash­board.

The touch­screen al­lows you to con­trol ev­ery­thing from the su­per­sized sun­roof, to the Spo­tify app, sat nav, cli­mate and locks.

It can be dis­tract­ing at first hav­ing such large images danc­ing in your pe­riph­eral vi­sion but the au­to­matic car is so easy to drive, with a sep­a­rate dis­play show­ing your po­si­tion­ing on the road and a warn­ing beep if any­thing strays too close.

Tesla has also en­tered the whim­si­cal world of Easter eggs, hiding fea­tures such as a paint type pad and Mars Rover sim­u­la­tion in the sys­tem.

But prag­ma­tists will be more in­ter­ested in whether the car will run out of juice on their jaunts to the coun­try­side. T he com­pany has in­stalled charg­ing points in the Canada Place un­der­ground carpark and will keep sev­eral cars there for test drives. And is has the op­tion of in­stalling more if a com­pany de­cides to pur­chase a fleet of ve­hi­cles.

It also has 35 Tesla Su­per­charger points for long dis­tance charg­ing and more than 150 top up Des­ti­na­tion Charg­ers across the UK.

Prices start at around the £63,000 mark and go up to around £129,000 de­pend­ing on which ex­tras you choose.

As one es­tate se­cu­rity guard, who stopped us af­ter we cir­cled West­ferry Cir­cus five times, pointed out that was the same price as a de­posit for a house.


Take a test drive around Ca­nary Wharf

The Tesla test drive car, in­side and out

The min­i­mal­ist show­room in Ca­nary Wharf

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