Model X in Palo Alto

Yesterday I went to the new Tesla store and service center in Palo Alto.  The old Menlo Park store <now closed> was on Stanford property, and apparently Stanford wants to use that land for something else.  Tesla has since opened up a store and service center along 101 in Burlingame and now this one in Palo Alto.  I noticed the Burlingame building while being driven home from the airport after my trip to Europe, so it is very easy to find.

Chargers at Palo Alto Service Center Overlooking Volvo Dealership

Chargers at Palo Alto Service Center Overlooking Volvo Dealership

I doubt they could have found a suitable facility in Palo Alto for a service center closer to their headquarters.  The two facilities are now only two miles apart.  I think this arrangement is a good idea to keep the communication between development and service strong.  I would hope the engineers would from time to time visit the service center to listen to the customers and the mechanics. The facility itself is nice and includes a large bank of charging stations overlooking the Volvo dealership.  These chargers are not superchargers.

I went to see the Model X.  I personally have no interest in buying this car.  I have a SUV that has 70K miles on it, that I imagine will last at least another 10 years as it is not frequently used.  I  also think this category of vehicle should not be ultra luxury.  When going skiing or venturing in the backcountry, I want a rugged vehicle that I have no qualms about getting dirty or getting scratched by tree branches.  When I bought my Toyota Highlander Hybrid seven and half years ago, Lexus had the same vehicle for sale with three minor unnecessary upgrades (backup camera and two others) for an additional $10K.  I think most of these sales were for the name Lexus not the additional features.

Model X Prototype with All The Doors Open

Model X Prototype with All The Doors Open

The Model X is basically a taller Model S with the gull wing doors.  After spending a month in Europe, I still struggle to see why there are so many large cars in the U.S.  I would want to carry my paddleboard on the top, and these gull wing doors probably prohibit that.  But the Model X could perhaps work as a mini van replacement or for someone with large dogs.

The new Palo Alto store is very close to the Tesla headquarters in the southern reaches of Palo Alto on El Camino Real near Arastradero Road.

A little bit of “trivia” in regards to the name El Camino Real.  El Camino Real and highway 101 in some parts of the state begins in the south in San Diego and ends 600 miles north.  The road was built by the Spanish missionaries connecting the 21 California missions.  Real in Spanish is royal in English but all the roads during the period of Spanish crown were called “camino real”.  The term was not used when Spain was ousted from Mexico and California but revived in the 20th century to boost tourism.

For many Californians like myself, I always translated “El Camino” from Spanish to the word “Road”.  I learned during my time in Spain, that the word camino really means dirt path or trail, or the type of road we can imagine the Spanish missionaries traveling on.   The word calle is a better translation for road, and carretera for highway.


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