Tesla opens D.C. showroom for electric sports car
Electric cars don't exactly scream "soccer mom" in terms of functionality. Fast, flashy, eco-friendly status symbols -- maybe. The next incarnation of the minivan? Hardly. But when Ricardo Reyes talks about the Tesla Roadster, he pushes the electric vehicle's practical side.
"You can plug it into any outlet," raves Reyes, VP of communications for Tesla Motors, the California-based car company known for its sporty electric cars. "Anywhere you can plug in your cellphone, basically, or your clothes dryer, you can plug it in there."
Whether the Roadster takes it place alongside household appliances remains to be seen, but the car did become slightly more accessible to Washingtonians this week as Tesla opened its new showroom at 1050 K Street NW.
"Having presence here in the middle of Washington, D.C., is great for us," says Reyes.
The specs of this so-called "super car," according to Reyes, sound impressive: 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds, handmade, all carbon fiber. But more importantly -- at least to those of us who don't know what carbon fiber is and can't fathom anything faster than a delay-ridden Metro ride -- the Roadster looks really cool.
"What we tried to do," says Reyes, "is show that an electric vehicle didn't have to sacrifice performance or style or looks in order to be electric or wean ourselves off gasoline."
Locals and tourists alike have stopped in for a close-up view of Roadster, while others fogged the showroom's windows, snapping pictures from outside.
But Reyes insists he hopes to achieve more in the Washington showroom than to show off the Roadster's good looks or hefty price tag (it costs more than $100,000).
"Our goal at the end of the day is not only to sell cars but to educate people about the benefits of electric vehicles," Reyes says. "Some people think of it as a hybrid -- it's not a hybrid. A hybrid is a bridge technology that will eventually lead to the electric vehicle. We're already offering an electric vehicle."
Tesla will hold an open house Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a prototype of the company's new Model S sedan -- slated for 2012 delivery -- on display.
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Maggie Fazeli Fard
| February 11, 2011; 11:22 AM ET
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