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Tesla Opens A Showroom in Honolulu

Tesla showroom at Ala Moana

For a couple of years, Tesla has had a showroom and service center in Hawaii, at Waipahu on the island of Oahu. After spending years in California driving 400 miles from Los Angeles to Berkeley and back about once a month, I feel a little silly admitting that I've never visited it despite the fact that it's only sixteen or seventeen miles from downtown Honolulu; I just don't get out that way very often. However, several months ago they opened a gallery (not a full showroom, but somewhere to learn about their products) at the Ala Moana Center shopping mall in Honolulu, which among other things hosts my "home base" Apple Store, and on August 28, 2016 they opened a full showroom at the other end of the complex. The photo above shows the showroom from the inside of the open-air mall; apart from the car visible through the front window, it doesn't stand out dramatically from the Disney Store and various mid- to high-end clothing and jewelry retailers around it.

Inside the store

Inside, it's clear the merchandise is a bit different. At present, among wall displays that wouldn't look out of place at the Apple Store down the way, they are showing a Model S sedan, the chassis of a Model S, and a Model X SUV.

Tesla Model X on display

This is actually the first Model X I have seen up close and personal. One of the reps at the store told me there are already a dozen or so in Hawaii, and nationwide nearly 10,000 have been put on the roads as of the end of August. I understand that the chassis and drivetrain are based on those of the Model S sedan, so it's no surprise that the two vehicles are about the same length and width; I understand you can get the same battery pack size (i.e., range) and power upgrades, including Ludicrous Speed, for the Model X as for the Model S.

By the way, I got to experience the insane acceleration of Ludicrous Speed in a Model S that Tesla brought to Kalaeloa Airport when I took my family to the public Solar Impulse 2 open house following the supporters' open house on which I reported this spring. I was going to shoot a video through the windshield with my iPhone; however, the G-force slammed my phone back so that my face hit the "stop" button right at the start of the run, and I only got a few seconds of video (download, 3.7 MB) consisting of the driver's countdown followed by the first quarter-second of my voice hollering "Whoa!" about an octave above its usual pitch... Amusing, if not particularly informative.

Tesla Model X in garage

At the back of the store is a (spotless) garage that was occupied by another Model X, ready for a test drive, when I visited.

Teslas parked outside

The garage opens onto the makai (seaward) parking deck of the mall, where four other vehicles were parked ready to be driven, and I was told that a fifth had just been dispatched to pick up a customer. So potential buyers are able to look over a variety of colors and, I presume, other options here. I look forward to test driving the forthcoming Model 3, which is more in my family's price range, in a year or two.

The new showroom opened during the quadrennial World Conservation Congress, and just before National Drive Electric Week, which I'd say is propitious timing. Unfortunately it also coincided with the first hurricane watch on Oahu since 1982, but Lester passed to the north a few days after Madeline veered south, so all the people who took Tesla up on their invitation to take test drives during the Grand Opening week had pretty nice weather. I wish Tesla great success in the islands; they've got some ground to make up with all the Nissan LEAFs (LEAVES?) around, which have the same kind of mindshare here that the Toyota Prius had in its early days (say "hybrid", and people think "Prius"; say "EV", and they think "LEAF"), but I think they've got the chops.

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new 10 September 2016