Amid the sea of supercars at the Geneva auto show, one dark green station wagon was hard to spot. The work of London-based coachbuilder Niels van Roij Design, the Tesla Model S station wagon could have been easily mistaken for a production model. But there is only one of these, at least of this design.
The Model S does not lend itself easily to station wagon conversions because of the base car's use of aluminum, and the difficulty of re-engineering the rear doors to fit a wagon design. Converting a sedan into a wagon is difficult enough with modern cars, but the flowing lines of the Model S make it harder still.
Niels van Roij Design went the hatchback route with this shooting brake conversion, keeping a minimal side window profile and giving the resulting car a sleek look. The reworked roof transitions effortlessly into a spoiler bill sitting atop a rakish rear window, delivering plenty of style even if it sacrifices some cargo room.
Why was the coachbuilder inspired to take on the Model S? As usual with such projects, via a customer request. Dutch collector Floris de Raadt owns a number of unique station wagon conversions, and came to Niels van Roij Design for his Tesla.
"The idea was to translate my Tesla Model S into a dynamic and sporty yet elegant shooting brake, rather than creating a car with maximum luggage space," de Raadt said. "Niels van Roij Design developed several options for the conversion, focusing on premium design combined with limited conversion costs, thus making coach building available for a larger group of connoisseurs. Our favorite was the option called 'Bold Chrome,' featuring remarkable high-gloss chrome window trims emphasizing the bold dynamic lines of the car. The result is truly stunning!"
Dutch tire maker Vredestein supported the project's appearance at the Geneva show.
Why has Tesla not offered a station wagon version of its sedan, especially given the length of time the Model S has been on the market?
Station wagon sales, of course, are not setting any record highs -- even sedans are having a tough time. If there was ever the right time for Tesla to offer a station wagon it would have been in the early years of the Model S, which debuted in 2012. The S has reached an advanced age when it comes to product cycles -- few vehicles on the market date back that long, and none of them are large sedans.
Thus, it's too late for Tesla, which is trying to reduce options and variety throughout its lineup, to release its own version, and with the reveal of the Model Y crossover in just a few days it's safe to say that no factory station wagons are pending.