Tesla opens new Palo Alto showroom showing off Model X SUV image

The 27,000 square foot retail outlet, the auto equivalent of an Apple store, is the fifth Tesla location in the Bay Area, with the company now having 41 locations in North America.

Founded in 2003, the Palo Alto-based Tesla Motors has become a darling of high-tech geeks and environmentalists. From 2008 to 2012, the company delivered 2,400 units of its first vehicle, the Tesla Roadster, a two-seat electric sports car, which started from $109,000.

“It’s in the heart of Silicon Valley,” said Telsa spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson. “The market is very strong for us in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley. We’re opening stores in places where we expect to sell vehicles.”

Its second car, the Model S, is a sedan that came out last year to incredibly favorable reviews. The electric sedan, which can last up to 265 miles on a single charge and goes from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, earned the highest score ever from Consumer Reports. The car has a base price of between $69,900 and $79,900 before tax credits, depending on the chosen battery pack.

“It’s awesome. It looks easy to drive, and it looks so much better than a minivan. Minivans are for old people,” said Vilma Estacio-Melamed, of San Jose, who admired a white Model X in the new showroom.

The company has already attracted 6,000 orders for its Model X SUV, with prospective buyers down paying $5,000 for the standard version and no less than $40,000 for the signature version, even though Tesla has not yet announced the price of the vehicle.