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Tesla opens a location in SouthPark Mall

In this file photo, palm trees are reflected on the hood of a Tesla Model S on display in downtown Los Angeles.
In this file photo, palm trees are reflected on the hood of a Tesla Model S on display in downtown Los Angeles. AP

Holiday shoppers scoping out high-end neck ties and high heels can also now shop for some of the most popular electric vehicles on the market at Nordstrom in SouthPark.

Just in time for the busiest shopping period of the year, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla is showcasing its Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles at a new 600 square-foot “gallery” inside the department store near the accessory section. The boutique opened Friday morning.

This is the second such boutique Tesla has opened in a Nordstrom department store – the first debuted in June in Los Angeles.

At the new SouthPark location, customers can learn about Tesla’s electric vehicle technology, as well as go on test drives, which require a Tesla employee present.

Customers can’t buy cars directly at the boutique, though. That’s been the case since Tesla first entered the Charlotte market with a service center in Matthews at 9140 E. Independence Blvd.

Tesla doesn’t sell its vehicles through dealerships, either, so customers in Charlotte ordering a Tesla car must do so on the company’s website. The vehicle is then delivered to the local service center.

North Carolina state law says automakers can’t sell their cars directly to consumers, unless they get an exception and show it’s in the public interest. That’s what Tesla tried to do earlier this year, but the Department of Motor Vehicles denied its application.

In siding with other car dealerships who objected to Tesla’s application, DMV administrative hearing officer Larry Greene Jr. said in an order in May that Tesla failed to make its case for an exception. Three of the four independent dealers who said they were willing to sell Tesla cars were qualified to do so, Greene said in the order.

The new Tesla location in SouthPark will have the same operating hours as Nordstrom, so like many other retailers, it won’t be open on Thanksgiving this year. Tesla operates one other North Carolina location in Raleigh, where it has a sales and service center.

Observer news partner WFAE contributed.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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