Tesla wants to become so much more than an automaker.

Tesla Motors Goes Mobile With Funky, Perfectly-Formed Shipping Container ‘Pop-Up’ Shops

Here’s a question for you: what’s bright red, made of steel shipping containers and canvas, gives you access to the world’s fastest production electric car and travels the country on the back of a truck?

The Tesla pop up shop has everything you'd expect from a full-size store.

The Tesla pop up shop has everything you’d expect from a full-size store.

Answer? Tesla Motors’ [NASDAQ:TSLA] new mobile pop up shop, of course. And it’s heading out on the road this summer to venues all across the U.S.

While it might be temporary in its nature, Tesla’s mobile pop up shop is everything you’d expect from a Tesla store. The walls are adorned with official Model S press photographs, there’s a place for customers to sit and chat with Tesla employees, and of course, the centre of the store houses a brand-new, top-spec Tesla Model S.

There’s even a miniature design studio, where customers can see and touch the various trim options and materials for themselves, as well as a tiny shelving area housing Tesla-themed merchandise like T-shirts, water bottles and caps.

Tesla’s mobile pop up shop is everything you’d expect from a Tesla store.

The only difference? This store can be transported by truck and erected in a few hours. Each end of the store is made of of a standard 20-foot shipping container, while the central portion of the store — equivalent to two more 20-foot shipping containers — features a solid yet portable floor, wide double doors, and a steel-framed roof structure on which a canvas skin is placed over.

The whole thing can easily be dismantled and packed away in a few hours.

The whole thing can easily be dismantled and packed away in a few hours.

The results is a small yet perfectly formed Tesla Store that can be placed wherever there happens to be a captive audience, be it Santa Barbara or the Hamptons, a regional event or even a temporary roadshow venue.

“The unique shipping container experience was designed to be mobile and follow customers to the summer’s most popular destinations,” said Tesla spokesperson Alexis Georgeson in an email over the weekend. “The mobility and convenience of this design allows Tesla to bring our unique retail approach to customers in new locations where we do not yet have a brick-and-mortar location.”

The shop, which debuted in Santa Barbara last week, will spend a month in its first location before moving to the Hamptons in time for the traditional summer vacation. Meanwhile, other Tesla Pop Up shops based on the same design are expected to tour Europe and other key market areas in the U.S.

In fact, it’s worth noting that this particular store isn’t the first Tesla pop up we’ve seen. Late last year, a pop up store appeared in the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent on the outskirts of London.  Currently, it and two other pop up stores are in Denmark, France and Switzerland, mirroring the movements of the one U.S.-based pop up shop.

The pop up shop shares everything you'd find in a brick and mortar store -- like this one.

The pop up shop shares everything you’d find in a brick and mortar store — like this one.

It’s worth noting too that the pop up shop, with its self-contained yet temporary nature, could be the very thing Tesla needs to help it bring its electric cars and consumer-facing wall-mounted energy products to customers in states which currently prohibit it from owning and operating traditional Tesla stores.

This could even be Tesla’s secret weapon in beating anti direct-to-customer legislation in some states.

Operating as a mobile Tesla Gallery, the mobile pop up could easily tour states where Tesla is prohibited from operating a brick-and-mortar store, allowing potential customers to see and experience the Model S — and find out about electric cars in general — without violating any state auto dealer law. What’s more, the pop up shop would likely cost Tesla less to operate, since it could easily go into storage when not required.

Tesla will be adding more stops to its pop up shop tour in the coming weeks and months, but we’re curious to hear from you where you’d like to see this unique  mobile Tesla store head.

Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the Comments below.


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