So if you happen to live in Santa Monica, CA, or some where close by, you can stop by what is Tesla’s first retail location located on the Santa Monica Promenade, otherwise known as 3rd street (it’s on the last block, closest to Wilshire). The location is less than 4 weeks old, and effectively shuts down the showroom located on Santa Monica Blvd, next to the ING building (or the entrance to the 405 freeway) – it’s now purely a service garage.
Tesla is calling it a retail store, and while you can’t physically touch the car they’ll eventually be offering ride and drives that will accessible from the store’s back alley. Only one S Sedan is on hand for viewing, but they’ve outfitted the store with a wide array of goodies. The one I found the most intriguing was a touchscreen monitor that allows potential customers to vary the types of environmental and driving conditions one might encounter during a journey. The interface is very slick, and with a flick of the finger you can vary the speed, temperature and a few other factors, all of which influence the range of S sedan’s on board batteries. In other words, if it’s 100 degree F and you’re traveling at 70mph, the S’ range will shorten. However, what we didn’t know is that Tesla’s battery tech allows them to individually cools each battery in the cluster. This means that if one battery gets too hot – this would not only lead to less mileage, but a degration of the battery’s life – it can shut down the individual battery and cool it until it reaches a usable level. The touchscreen kiosk, for lack of better words, also provides a wide array of info regarding Tesla and their technology.
Nevertheless, we suggest you stop by the retail store, if not for nothing to simply view the S Sedan in the flesh. The vehicle appears to be extremely well crafted, and we can’t help but get excited about that massive 17-inch touchscreen located in the car’s center dash. Which mind you is Linux based, and runs their proprietry apps. No, Tesla hasn’t opened up an API or dev kit, but they will eventually.