"A test drive prior to purchase isn't needed. You can now return a car within seven days or 1,000 miles for a full refund. Quite literally, you could buy a Tesla, drive several hundred miles for a weekend road trip with friends and then return it for free," the company's website states.
Tesla will be winding down many of its showrooms over the next few months, with a small number of those in high-traffic locations remaining as galleries, showcases and Tesla information centers, according to the company's website.
A Tesla spokeswoman could not comment on whether the Palo Alto showrooms at Stanford Shopping Center and on El Camino Real, near West Charleston Road, are among those that will remain open or how many employees will be impacted.
According to California's Employment Development Department, the company filed a notice in January that it would be permanently laying off 78 workers in Palo Alto before the end of this month. The company spokeswoman told the Weekly that those staff reductions are not related to the closing of its showrooms. Tesla announced the layoffs in January, she said, as part of its goal to shrink its full-time employee head count by 7 percent globally. With the cost savings, the company plans to focus on increasing production of its mid-range Model 3, which has a range of 264 miles, according to the Tesla website.
The Stanford showroom, in particular, has provided local Tesla car owners, as well as the curious, a sneak peek at the company's electric cars. It was here where the company officially unveiled its Model 3 for the first time in January 2018, attracting a crowd outside its doors waiting to get a hands-on look at the sedan. Many, like Stanford University employee Jean Nguyen, had been waiting for months for the opportunity to check out the Model 3 in person since putting down deposits on the car nearly two years earlier when the company began taking reservations. After the January 2018 unveiling, Tesla planned to bring Model 3 display and test-drive vehicles to showrooms across the country.
The release of the Telsa Model 3 mid-range version has been long anticipated. The company started limited production of the Model 3 in 2017 but only made high-end versions of the vehicle with an average asking price of $55,000 when the first batch rolled off the production line. Last week, the company announced that the Model 3 is now available starting at $35,000.
On the heels of that announcement, Tesla founder Elon Musk tweeted this week that the new Model Y, a crossover based on the Model 3, will be unveiled on March 14.
"Model Y, being an SUV, is about 10 percent bigger than Model 3, so will cost about 10 percent more and have slightly less range for same battery," he wrote on March 3.
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