IT’S the Capital’s high-end fashion mecca – but now Multrees Walk is set to offer shoppers a very different kind of luxury product.
A leading maker of premium electric cars unveiled plans for its first Scottish showroom in the thoroughfare.
Bosses at US-based Tesla Motors believe Multrees Walk will provide an ideal location for displaying products including the £55,000 Model S – a saloon capable of travelling 265 miles on a single charge and accelerating from zero to 60mph in 4.2 seconds.
Rather than operate as a traditional dealership with “high pressure” selling, the store will aim to promote vehicles and “educate” the public.
Vehicles will also be custom-built and delivered four to five months after an order is placed.
The plans have been welcomed as a sign of Edinburgh’s burgeoning retail reputation after the £850 million St James development was approved.
Tesla was founded 12 years ago in San Carlos, California, with the mission of supporting sustainable transport by supplying “compelling mass market electric cars”.
In a design statement, bosses at the firm said: “Multrees Walk has been identified as an ideal location for such a concept store. It is an iconic retail destination with a genuine global reach.
“Tesla’s strong brand and environmental credentials mean that they are a positive addition to the retail streetscape, reinforcing and enhancing the existing established retail environment.”
Business figures have welcomed the plans, which they said underlined the Capital’s status as a major centre for shopping, leisure and sustainable living.
Graham Birse, director of the Edinburgh Institute, said: “I think these plans indicate two things. Firstly, that the St James redevelopment is attracting interest globally and it signals the rehabilitation of Edinburgh’s reputation as a premier retail destination.
“Secondly, it would appear that Edinburgh’s economy and consumers are seen to be sufficiently discerning and responsible to want to buy high-end electric cars.”
Environmental leaders said Tesla’s proposals should not distract from efforts to reduce levels of car use.
Councillor Nigel Bagshaw, Green transport spokesman, said: “Edinburgh needs to accelerate the provision of charging points to make electric vehicles more viable. And, more fundamentally, swapping petrol cars for electric cars does not address the pressing problem of congestion.”