Tesla to raise prices and keep more stores open

In brief: Tesla has backtracked on plans to close virtually all its stores following a move to an online-only sales model. There will be no price increase to the US$35,000 Model 3.

Tesla said last month that they would close down numerous stores and launch the "online-only strategy" to pass on the savings to customers through price cuts.

On Feb. 28, the company said shifting totally to online sales would allow it to lower all vehicle prices by 6 percent, on average, including its higher-end Model S and Model X.

The carmaker, founded by Elon Musk, said that keeping more stores open would require a rise in vehicle prices by about 3% on average worldwide.

"Depending on their effectiveness over the next few months, some will be closed and some will remain open".

It will keep the same price at its Model 3 at $US35,000 ($NZ51,500).

But Tesla says it has been evaluating that decision over the last two weeks and has decided it would be beneficial to keep some physical stores open. The company also has a list of about one hundred stores that it's evaluating: Some will close and others will stay, it says.

According to Tesla, potential Tesla owners will have one week to place an order before the price raise takes effect on March 18. Most staff will be trained to show a customer how to order a vehicle online from their phone.

CleanTechnica spoke to several retail store employees after the news of Tesla closing retail stores went out and the sentiment was universally unsettled.

The blog said that sales would be made online only and that drivers would not need test drives as they could return the vehicle within a week or before driving 1,000 miles, whichever came first.

Musk merely put his "shorthand gloss" on Tesla production numbers consistent with information already public and in a manner that was "celebratory and forward-looking", according to his attorneys. Social media posts from Tesla workers show that even the company's executives were helping out in delivering Model 3s. InsideEVs, a publication close to Tesla, tracks U.S. electric vehicle deliveries and according to its numbers, January and February deliveries were down by around 80 percent compared to the months leading up. Most of Tesla's leases didn't have cancellation clauses, either, leaving the company exposed to potential lawsuits.

Separately, Bloomberg reported on Monday that Tesla is in discussions with Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd on a deal for the production of rechargeable batteries for the Model 3.

The silver lining: This will happen for all vehicles except the $35,000 Model 3.

The agency alleges the tweet was inaccurate and violated a requirement for tweets that could influence Tesla's stock price to be approved by a company lawyer.

Vanessa Coleman