Tesla Motors’ new sales and service center in the Red Hook neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York, is opening this Friday to the public. Customers will be able to custom-build, purchase, and take delivery of their Teslas at the location, and have them serviced there as well. Passersby can also just pop in to drool over the cars.
This week Tesla invited Business Insider to take a tour of its new space. Here’s what we saw:
As we reported in February, the electric-car maker has leased 40,000 square feet at 160 Van Brunt St. Its newest location is set in an industrial warehouse with 100,000 square feet. The building used to be home to the Golten Marine Terminal and is now being converted into an office space for tech firms and startups.
'It just made sense when this real-estate opportunity came along that we jump on it,' Jeremy Snyder, the general manager for Tesla Motors northeast region, told Business Insider.
Tesla is one of several new businesses transforming Red Hook, which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. There is lots of new construction happening in the neighbourhood, and there is a growing number of new shops, bars, cafés, and restaurants.
Tesla told Business Insider that the location fits well into its greater New York-market strategy.
'We needed a lot of space,' Snyder said. 'We have a tremendous number of cars on the road, and only more that are going to be on the road, so we wanted to identify a space that could service thousands of vehicles, and Red Hook is the pinnacle of up-and-coming area in Brooklyn.'
Tesla's only other New York location is in the Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan.
'We also wanted to put down a greater stake in the New York market,' he said. 'We wanted an iconic building that we could develop out. This is one of a number of opportunities that we'll see growing in this market.'
Click to watch the 'falcon-wing' doors open on the Model X.
And click again to watch the doors open on the Model X from behind.
A poster on one of the showroom walls helps customers visualise Tesla's self-driving tech.
'Tesla stores invite customers to learn about electric driving with enticing visuals, interactive displays, and a design studio where customers can create their own Tesla,' the company said.
'Part of the real excitement of building your own car is that you know every choice you're making,' Snyder told Business Insider. 'It's like building a custom home. People get really into it and excited about it. It's not often that you get that opportunity to build your own car.'
Above, one of Tesla's Superchargers.
So how will Tesla owners in Brooklyn charge their cars?
'We've partnered with almost all of the major garage companies in Manhattan, which also service Brooklyn,' Snyder told Business Insider. 'We have added a lot of Tesla high-powered wall connectors into the most popular garages where we know our customers frequent. Basically that is to allow our Tesla customers to have an easy ownership.'
'With a Tesla there are far fewer moving parts compared to an internal-combustion vehicle,' Snyder said. 'Because of that, it requires a lot less servicing. For instance, an internal-combustion engine has 200 to 300 moving parts, and an electric motor in a Tesla has one moving part.
'So when you're taking about our all-wheel drive Model X or our Model S, you're taking about one moving part in each motor, so far fewer things to go wrong, which requires far less service -- no oil changes, no filter changes, nothing like that.'
'Just as customers would with any other car, they can pull into their garage, their lot attendant plugs it in for them and charges it, and they wake up every day to a full charge,' Snyder said.
'That's living in Manhattan. We're doing something similar in Brooklyn. We have an interesting partner here called Lux, basically a valet that comes to you. You plug in where you're going to be with your car on your app, they meet you there, take your car, charge it, and then drop it back off to you.
'So if you're home for the night, they will pick up your car at your house, have it charged, and have it back to you in the morning when you need it. It's really an amazing solution for Brooklynites who don't have their own garages. Some do, but some don't, and a lot of people street-park. We wanted to make sure we launched our Brooklyn site with a solution that would work for our customers, at least in the short and medium term as more infrastructure is added.'
'We'll be able to service thousands of vehicles out of this location,' Snyder told Business Insider. 'Most people are used to dropping off their cars at a service center, where there's a tech assigned to a car and the car is sitting for like, a day, maybe two depending on what work you're waiting for, and they work on the car until it's completed.
'Tesla takes a very different approach to service. What we do is much more of a pit-crew-style servicing of a car. If it's a small thing that needs work, we'll fast-lane it in, bring it out, within minutes or hours rather than days. If it's a bigger issue, there will be multiple people who get on that car immediately as it arrives.'
'So you have a scheduled appointment, a bunch of people get on that car immediately, get it resolved, and get it out the door,' Snyder said. 'The goal is that nobody is without their car for more than a day. But really we want folks to have a very seamless service experience. In fact, we have the highest consumer-satisfaction rating for service of any auto manufacturer.'
After our little tour, we got to take a short test-drive in the luxurious Model S P90DS. It goes zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds in 'Ludicrous Mode' and handles beautifully. The Autopilot system takes some getting used to, especially if you're new to self-driving cars, but it's definitely cool.
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