There's not much but empty space at this former Chevy dealership on El Camino Real in Menlo Park, but keep an eye on this Stanford University-owned lot. When the much delayed Tesla Roadster finally rolls off of the assembly line, this is where you'll see it parked.
This site, at 300 El Camino Real, will house one of the first Tesla dealerships in the country. Others will open in Southern California, Chicago, New York, and Florida.
Production, first targeted at fall 2007, then December 2007, is now slated to begin in 2008, with only 50 cars due to be produced in the first quarter and a target of 600 for the entire calendar year. The first model of the company's fully electric car costs $98,000; cheaper models are promised to follow, starting in 2010. Even without actual cars to deliver, the 2008 production is just about sold out. Soon, potential customers will be able to sign up for the 2009 waiting list--at a cost of $5000.
For a while, then, this lot won't be too crowded, but it will have models on display and early adopters coming in to pick up their cars or visit the service center. And it may become a popular hangout; test drives of the long-awaited vehicle are likely to be in high demand. Tesla couldn't have picked a better spot to be noticed by potential customers, it's next to the Stanford Park Hotel, a popular spot for Silicon Valley power breakfasts, and just off Sand Hill Road, the venture capital industry's main street.
Menlo Park Mayor Kelly Fergusson sees the Tesla dealership as the beginning of what she hopes will be a "green alley" of environmentally friendly businesses lining El Camino.
We'll be watching this space to see if she's right.