Tesla Motors says it plans to open its first European dealership this spring smack-dab in Knightsbridge, the label-conscious epicenter of London high society.
Burberry's flagship store marks the corner of Knightsbridge and Brompton Road, but the beacon of the district is Harrods, the six-story, 4.5-acre department store castle that will leave you penniless. You can buy Burberry there, too, but a signature plaid scarf is still around $100 (sorry, more like £68).
Among the busy shoppers and obvious gawkers in Knightsbridge are the supercar owners. It's not uncommon to see an open-top Carrera GT inching behind a double-decker, or a Murcielago parallel-parked on one of the back residential streets. There's plenty of other deliciously rich parts in London - Piccadilly, Mayfair, Marlborough, Notting Hill, South Kensington - though none so teasingly retail as Knightsbridge.
On Wednesday, London's mayor Boris Johnson proposed a £60 million plan to fund 25,000 charging stations and get 100,000 electric vehicles on the road within the next few years. The Roadster, like all EVs, would be exempt from the city's congestion charge, a controversial attempt to curtail emissions and traffic by making drivers pay £8 to enter designated downtown zones. Biofuel-powered cars get a discount, but the authorities are strict: E85-capable Koenigsegg CCXRs are still full price.
Tesla says it's also considering dealerships in Munich and Monaco - where soup runs about $80 a bowl - when it starts European Roadster deliveries in late June. In a press release today, CEO Elon Musk said sales would "eventually be split evenly between the US and Europe."
The California-based automaker says a Chicago dealership will also open in the spring and that management is poring over locations in Manhattan, Miami, and Seattle.
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|Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
|Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
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