A glitzy party shows off pricey Tesla electric car

| Oct 25, 2009

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Amy Segreti, left, and friend Julie Dickinson at Tesla party.

Amy Segreti, left, and friend Julie Dickinson at Tesla party.

BOULDER — The doors didn’t open until 8 p.m., but invited guests were lining up much earlier on the Pearl Street sidewalk to get the first glimpse inside of the new Tesla Gallery Boulder — part of a new regional hub the electric sports car manufacturer is setting up across the U.S.

Kimbal Musk, CEO of OneRiot and owner of the Kitchen, as well as a Tesla Roadster owner and Tesla Motors board member, helped organize and get the word out about the Friday evening party. I found myself with a party ticket after “retweeting” news about the gallery opening.

Andre Pettigrew, left, executive director of Denver's Office of Economic Development, with Geoff Cooper, CEO of CaraSolva.

Andre Pettigrew, left, executive director of Denver's Office of Economic Development, with Geoff Cooper, CEO of CaraSolva.

So what was more fun? Seeing fellow Boulderites rubbing shoulders in the line like it was a Studio 54 disco all over again? Deciding which of the Kitchen’s cocktails to order up — the Sparkling Hemingway (rum and grapefruit Izze), Lychee Martini (Tito’s handmade vodka and lychees), The Brazilian (Vodka 14, limes and sugar) or Persian Lemon (Ketel One Citroen, Pama liqueur, splash of pineapple and lemon juice)? Or getting a test drive in one of the Tesla Roadsters parked in front of gallery? Answer: Probably the test drive but I can’t say for sure because after a Sparking Hemingway, I thought it was a good idea not to drive a $100,000 plus sports car.

Rick Patch, left, president and CEO of Boulder's Lifepics, with Lu Cordova, former president of CTEK who is now president of Almacen Storage Group.

Rick Patch, left, president and CEO of Boulder's Lifepics, with Lu Cordova, former president of CTEK who is now president of Almacen Storage Group.

Tesla says the Roadster will go from zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of about 125 mph. Now I certainly would have liked to test that theory straight up Boulder Canyon, until I remembered the Justice Center is directly along on the way.

Another interesting angle for Tesla is that they are creating Mobile Service Rangers — teams that will make house calls for a buck a mile. Boulder’s gallery will be part of that program.

Boulder businessman George Karakehian is one of the owners of the building now housing the Tesla Gallery.

Boulder businessman George Karakehian is one of the owners of the building now housing the Tesla Gallery.

The gallery itself was put together in just about 11 days, according to Phil Shull, owner of Deneuve Construction Services, which did the job. Phil was sporting his own Tesla jacket, a popular conversation piece at the party since no one else seemed to have one. The Tesla Gallery has a lease right now in the former retail building at 915 Pearl St. that was slated to be a new home for Boulder’s Frasca restaurant as well as some high-end condos on top. Initially Frasca had wanted to put their own garden on top of the new building. But apparently that project is on the back burner for now.

The Roadster gets its juice from its Energy Storage System — made up of several thousand consumer-grade lithium ion cells. Not really being a gear head, I’ll admit you can read this same information just like I did on the Tesla Web site.

Kei Izawa, left, Boulder correspondent for Sotokoto, with his wife, Mariquita.

Kei Izawa, left, Boulder correspondent for Sotokoto, with his wife, Mariquita.

And Tesla got a very good business page writeup in the Boulder Camera just before the gallery opened with news that a Colorado buyer could get a $42,039 tax break, or about a 39 percent discount on a new $109,000 Roadster. Seems the Colorado Legislature has now put a $6,000 cap on how big of a tax credit you can get for buying a hybrid or electric car, but it doesn’t go into effect until 2010.

Also spotted at the party was Andre Pettigrew, executive director of Denver’s Office of Economic Development, who was there to check out the new business arriving in Colorado. Tesla has said it picked Colorado because of Gov. Bill Ritter’s commitment to make the state one of the most environmentally friendly states in the country.

And that may be true. But having Boulder resident’s Kimbal Musk’s pull certainly helped on just where the new Gallery would be located in the state.

(This article also appeared in a slightly different format on Jerry Lewis’s blog.)


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