Tesla is opening a risky new store in the Hamptons

Tesla Model STeslaThe Tesla Model S, ready for summer.

Last year, Tesla took aim at one of its key markets: the affluent Hamptons, a strip of town stretched out across the coast of Long Island’s South Fork, long a vacation destination for New York City’s moneyed elites.

The 2015 edition was a “pop-up” store. Adorned with Tesla branding and built from shipping containers, it welcomed potential customers in Southampton for five weeks.

The concept was so successful that Tesla is opening a fully blown store in 2016, located in East Hampton (Tesla is also opening a vacationer-oriented store in Massachusetts’ Cape Cod).

But opening in this location comes with inherent risk because many people leave after Labour Day.

Automotive New reported that the new store would experience a major slackening off in business during the non-summer months, but that Tesla assumes interest from Memorial Day to Labour Day will be strong enough to make the effort pay off.

Last year, Tesla offered test drives in the Model S sedan, but wasn’t able to sell anyone a car. In New York, Tesla can sell cars to consumers on only a limited basis, using its direct-sales model. Interested buyers can go online after sampling a vehicle and arrange to buy, taking delivery at a later date.

The electric-car maker now has an additional vehicle to sell. Last fall, after the Hamptons pop-up location closed, Tesla launched its Model X SUV.

SUVs are extremely popular in the Hamptons, where wealthy families journey from New York City to their summer homes. A trip on the Long Island Expressway or around 120 miles one-way would consumer about half the Model S or Model X’s battery range.

There are currently no Supercharger locations in the Hamptons, so a complete Tesla store will be a welcome addition to owners who don’t have access to fast charging. (The Supercharger network is Tesla own system of fast-charging station, where a vehicle can be fully rejuiced in about an hour, rather than overnight as is the case with slower systems.)

Tesla is under pressure to deliver substantially more cars in 2016 than 2015, when moved just over 50,000 vehicles. The company is guiding to 80-90,000 deliveries in 2016, and CEO Elon Musk has set an ambitious, accelerated 2018 target of 500,000 vehicle deliveries.

The Tesla store in the Hamptons will join a new location in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighbourhood that opening earlier this year.

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