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