Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla is moving forward with plans to open a sales and service center in the Orangecrest neighborhood, tentatively scheduled to open in fall 2022. The 50,000 square foot building previously housed an Amtrak call center.
Consultant Adam Hooienga of Hofman Planning Associates of Carlsbad, consultant for the project, said the service center will prepare cars newly-arrived from the factory for customer delivery, perform basic maintenance such as tire changes and balancing, minor repairs and paint and body work. Hooienga says zoning changes are being sought for the site, as well as a designation as a “green” or clean energy business. Ward 4 Councilmember Chuck Conder said he looks forward to the opening. “I’m very pleased that the first Tesla center in Riverside will be in Ward 4,” he said. “We want (Tesla) to be part of the community.”
Shopping for a Tesla is different than buying from other carmakers: for example, there are no neat rows of vehicles lined up on a car lot. Instead, customers schedule appointments to visit the showroom and schedule a test drive. Driving your new car off the lot the day you buy it also is not an option: To purchase, customers check out the handful of models on display, choose paint color, features and options on an iPad, order their car, and wait weeks or months for delivery. Price points for most Tesla cars range from about $47,000 to $138,000, though certain models and features can cost as much as $200,000.
The building Tesla will repurpose and establish as a Riverside sales and service center became available in January 2019 when Amtrak decided to close the call center, lay off its 550-employee workforce, and relocate the operation to Philadelphia.