A electric car maker aiming to convert the world to eco-friendly motoring is opening a showroom in Birmingham – offering its latest models at a cool £50,000 each.
Tesla admits that it is not cheap, but claims lower running costs and innovative design means drivers will never go back to petrol again.
The Californian-based electric vehicle manufacturer is opening a ‘store’ in Digbeth High Street – its first outside the South East in the UK.
The firm’s £50,000 Model S has been described as “a game changer” for producing an electric car that makes no compromises.
Offering a range of between 240 and 312 miles, it also offers performance that is getting into supercar territory, the range-topping version boasting a top speed of 130mph and a 0-60mph time of just 4.2 seconds.
The firm’s UK & Ireland country manager Georg Ell said: “Is it a game-changer? Absolutely. It can travel from 0-60mph faster than a Porsche 911, has a capacity greater than BMW 5 Series Estate, a range of 312 miles and is also the safest car in its class.
“We didn’t just set out to build the best electric car but to build the best car for the money.
“It starts at £50,000, so it is not a cheap car, but it is an equivalent priced car against those it competes with and has also got dramatically lower running costs.
“The savings can be many thousands of pounds a year, so it’s not like insulating your home and having to wait for years to save, it is an extraordinarily tangible saving.
“It really has put electric vehicles on the map. People who drive it will never want to go back to a petrol car again. When you get used to it there’s no way you would want to go back to a petrol car.”
Tesla Motors has been making waves in the automotive world since it first burst on to the scene just over ten years ago.
It was founded in by entrepreneur and innovator Elon Musk in 2003, along with four others.
Tesla is set on expansion in the UK, after establishing stores near Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
Mr Ell said: “Our intention is to change the world’s mode of transport to a sustainable one.
“It is as much about educating people and it’s incredibly important people come and visit and don’t feel pressurised.
“People can test-drive the car, even if they’re not looking to change now but think they have seen the future.
“There will also be a service area unlike any other with clean white walls and bright red and no dirt, smoke, oil spills or dodgy looking calendars.”
Its Birmingham outlet represents its first foray north, though it is also looking for locations in Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
“Birmingham was part of the plan from the beginning and I came here eight months ago,” said Mr Ell, who unlike most car industry bosses comes from a technological rather than an automotive background.
“We wanted some anchor points around the country where we could put sales facilities and Birmingham had been identified as a good anchor city for us.
“There has been a lot of interest from the region. It is a major city in the UK and we need to be there.”
Mr Ell said what sets Tesla apart from others in terms of electric vehicles was starting from a blank sheet of paper, unlike other manufacturers who have sought to add EVs to their range.
“We started with a battery and built a car up around it. We want to accelerate the transition to sustainable cars, to show how electric vehicles should work and can work.
“If that is successful then we trust other manufacturers will follow us into the market and that market should become much bigger.”
Tesla’s new Birmingham facility complements a supercharger facility that was launched at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Broad Street in August.
It enables Tesla cars to be fully charged in just an hour and the firm is currently establishing a network of these around the country in a bid to make travelling between cities easier than ever.
Mr Ell said the Birmingham store was also looking to recruit further staff who are “passionate about electric vehicles”.