Tesla Model 3 hits showroom for first time ever - in Palo Alto

REUTERS  Kim Kyung-HoonA man looks around Tesla Motors Model S P85 at its showroom in Beijing

The product was first promoted by Tesla, the biggest U.S. installer of rooftop-solar systems, with installation of the shingles on the homes of several employees and the company now will start installing roofs for customers within the next few months.

Tesla is starting to bring production versions of its mass-market Model 3 electric sedan to retail stores as customer deliveries begin. The other is at the company's showroom in Century City, near Los Angeles. By actively featuring the Model 3 in two of its showrooms in California, Tesla seems to be making a very bold statement - one that suggests that the company is now confident it can scale the compact electric car's production to address the overwhelming demand for the vehicle.

The store at the Stanford Shopping Center is one of two locations where the auto will be on display.

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For holders of reservations for the production-delayed Model 3, the company's move to put it on display may echo the Greek myth of Tantalus, a starving king condemned to stand with a bounty of fruit just out of reach. According to a Tesla owners forum, it has 25 charging stalls.

Tesla delivered 1,770 Model 3s to buyers in the second half of 2017, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, but production and delivery have been far slower than CEO Elon Musk projected. That's coming later, the company said in a press release. In the electric vehicle maker's Q4 2017 delivery report, Tesla stated that it is expecting to hit its target pace of manufacturing 5,000 Model 3 units per week by the end of Q2 2018. Tesla would not disclose how many reservations it had received for the solar roof. For the longest time, the company had been anti-selling the Model 3, comparing it less favorably to the Model S, and emphasizing the long wait associated with the more affordable vehicle.

The Model 3 is Tesla's first offering in the entry level luxury segment. University of MI researchers have just published a report concluding that across the USA, the average annual cost of fueling a gas-powered vehicle is $1,117, while power for an electric vehicle costs $485.

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