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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

July 21, 2009 at 11:40 AM

Roadster rides! Tesla Motors opens in Seattle this weekend

Ladies and gentlemen, start your generators.

Tesla Motors is opening its Seattle showroom and support facility this weekend, the Silicon Valley electric car company’s fourth store in the U.S.

Opening events include a Friday night event for customers and an open house Saturday and Sunday, when public rides in Tesla’s $101,500 roadster will be offered from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

teslagray.jpg

Tesla began exploring the Seattle market last fall and in May said it would open a store in the South Lake Union neighborhood, near Amazon.com’s new headquarters campus, by September. The showroom is in a restored brick building at 435 Westlake Ave. N.

(UPDATE: For a peek inside the showroom, and more details about the construction project, check out this follow-up post)

Tesla, based in San Carlos, Calif., wavered after the economic downturn but regained its footing after receiving a $50 million investment from Daimler in May and a $465 million Department of Energy loan in June. The funding will help the company develop a new sedan and a factory where it will produce components for other electric vehicles as well as its own.

During its challenging period the company also shuffled management. Chairman Elon Musk — who made his fortune as a co-founder of PayPal — taking over as chief executive, prompting a lawsuit from former CEO Martin Eberhard. Musk won’t be attending the Seattle opening.

The company opened its New York store July 16, following stores opened earlier in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.

Tesla has produced about 500 of its roadsters, including 30 or so that have been delivered to customers in Seattle.

Spokeswoman Rachel Konrad said the company is especially keen to have a store in Washington, which is one of a handful of states to waive sales taxes on electric vehicles.

Comments | More in | Topics: roadster, seattle, Tesla

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