Tesla is walking back its plan to close most of its showrooms worldwide. The company said that it's still shifting to online sales, but it won't close as many stores as originally thought. Tesla now says it closed 10 percent of its stores, but a few of those will be reopened. Another 20 percent are being evaluated and some could stay open. The company gave no numbers. It had 378 stores and service centres worldwide and about 100 U.S. stores. Tesla announced last month that it would shutter most of its stores to cut costs so it could make money on the $35,000 Model 3 electric car.
Tesla also introduced a new electric sports utility vehicle slightly bigger and more expensive than its Model 3, pitched as an electric car for the masses. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk showed off the "Model Y" at the company's design studio in the southern California city of Hawthorne, and the company began taking orders online.
The all-electric Model Y has a starting price of $39,000 for a version with a 230-mile (370-kilometer) range. A long-range version of the SUV capable of traveling 300 miles (483 kilometers) on a single charge was priced at USD 47,000.
Deliveries were expected to begin late next year for higher-priced Model Y vehicles, with the standard-range version would likely get to buyers by spring of 2021, according to Tesla.
Musk said the Model Y has "the functionality of an SUV but it will ride like a sports car" accelerating from stand-still to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
Model Y featured a "panoramic glass roof" and could seat seven people, according to Musk.
The latest addition to the Tesla line-up comes shortly after the California-based company rolled out its lowest-priced Model 3, an electric car designed for the masses, at a base price of $35,000, with deliveries promised in one month.
At that price, the Model 3 is less than half the cost of most Tesla on the road and may be eligible for tax incentives which could further lower ownership costs.
The new vehicles suggest Tesla has been able to overcome production bottlenecks to ramp up production to meet demand, and moving toward Musk's goal of making electric vehicles widely available.
The Model Y will share about 75 percent of the parts that make up the Model 3. That means the Model Y should eventually start at about $38,500, and run as high as about $63,800. Tesla will start by making and selling the most expensive versions of the Model Y when it goes into production in 2020.