Tesla Motors opened its first dealership in Santa Monica, Calif., on Friday, attracting a gaggle of reporters.
The location of the site in the tony Westwood neighborhood reflects the high-end shopping experience it intends to create for the flashy $109,000 Tesla Roadster. The next store, slated to open in San Carlos, Calif. in a couple months, will be set up to appeal to the Silicon Valley tech elite.
The company told the Associated Press that it is impressed with demand: it has taken 600 orders for the Roadster and has a waiting list of another 400. CEO Elon Musk owns the first one produced.
The fancy showroom near Beverly Hills takes its inspiration from Apple stores, Musk said.
"The Apple stores have worked out well. It's a fantastic consumer experience," Musk told AutoWeek. "We wanted a nontraditional automotive experience, and we have it."
The company plans to make a luxury sedan next year called the Whitestar that will come in two versions: an all-electric model that will run entirely on its lithium ion battery pack, and a range-extended vehicle that will also use liquid fuel to extend its range.
The Roaster will have a range of 220 miles per charge and the mileage equivalent of 135 miles per gallon.
The sex appeal of the Roadster is rooted in the electric motor as well: with powerful torque, it can go from standing still to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds.
Tesla can lay claim to putting all-electric cars back on the map, with its racy Roadster. But it certainly won't be alone for long.
Think said it will bring its electric town cars to the United States next year.