Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tesla Opens Showroom In LA

The Mecca of American car culture has a slick new green temple.Tesla Motors, the upstart electric-car company that's become a darling of the eco set, opened its first auto showroom last week in Los Angeles. The opening party featured Hollywood stars and a shiny red version of the company's fully electric $98,000 convertible roadster. As if on cue, gasoline at nearby stations was selling for near $4 a gallon.The advent of Tesla is the latest sign that, when it comes to the environment, marketers are betting that well-heeled eco-minded consumers want to have their cake and eat it too. Tesla is selling its metal on sex-appeal, not sacrifice. The two-seaters have luscious lines and, boasts the company's Web site, go from zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds.Oomph, however, isn't enough to sell a car. Several electric cars have fizzled, notably General Motors' EV1, which developed a cult following, largely in California, but never developed a real business, in large part because a workable infrastructure of electric-charging stations didn't develop.