Tesla raises $82.5 million for new retail stores

Electric-car maker will use funding from Fjord Capital and others to open more stores in North America and Europe.

Tesla Motors in Los Angeles, Calif. Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors has garnered $82.5 million in "Series F" funding for the purpose of expanding its chain of stores in North America and Europe.

The deal was first announced Monday by participating investor Fjord Capital Partners. Tesla Motors then confirmed the deal to several news outlets on Tuesday. Daimler, already a 10 percent investor in Tesla, and Abu Dhabi fund Aabar Investments also contributed to the fund.

The California-based electric-vehicle manufacturer has had stores in Los Angeles and Menlo Park, Calif., for some time. It recently opened stores in New York, Chicago, Miami, London, Seattle, and Munich. It has plans to open a store in Monaco before the end of the year, and has said it's scouting for locations in Washington, D.C., and Toronto.

But don't call them dealerships.

Because the electric cars are light on service work, and don't need things like oil changes, Tesla plans to forgo the traditional dealership/service business model of yesteryear's car industry. Instead the company plans to maintain full retail control over its cars and brand, Tesla announced in early September.

Tesla Motors in Menlo Park, Calif. Tesla Motors

"Tesla takes its showroom cues from Apple, Starbucks and other customer-focused retailers. Tesla stores provide a welcoming spot to surf the Web, test drive cars and learn more about Tesla, the only production automaker selling highway-capable EVs in North America or Europe," Tesla said in statement.

News of the latest funding deal also follows the unveiling of Tesla's production model of the Model S sedan, as well as a tuner version of its Roadster, at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show this week.

The prototype of the Model S was unveiled in March as a way to augment Tesla's lineup with a more "economical" option to its Roadster luxury sports car. The Model S is expected to cost around $50,000--about half the cost of the Roadster.

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About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

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