October 29, 2009

Boulder Debut of Tesla Roadster. ~ via Ben Holland

The west end of Pearl Street looked more like L.A. this past Friday night.

To celebrate the arrival of the all-electric car, Tesla held a party at their new location at 9th and Pearl. The site, a temporary location for the automaker, will later be redeveloped for a restaurant and condominiums.

Walking up to the Tesla showroom, I had to remind myself I was still in Boulder. Sure, our town is known for its affluence, but this event brought out a level of pomp and extravagance not typically seen along the low key, casual front range.

The showroom, a sterile-white, open layout bordered in glass, filled up quickly with what seemed like a couple hundred guests. Inside, we were treated to drinks and hors d’oeuvres from The Kitchen.

Outside, five more cars of assorted colors repeatedly left their parking spots for test rides to the entrance of Boulder canyon. After signing up for a ride with Angie, a Tesla technician, I hopped in a sleek, graphite-colored car for the best, albeit shortest, part of the night. For a brief couple minutes, I felt first hand what I had often heard but somewhat doubted. The Roadster’s whisper quiet engine produces a boost unlike any I’ve seen; no question about it, this car screams. I returned to the showroom thrilled and wanting more.

Back inside, as a DJ spun records, music and conversation mixed with the clamor of car alarms. It was, at times, a hysterical spectacle. A bright red Roadster sat in the corner of the room, surrounded by onlookers, while guests climbed awkwardly in and out of its seats as their friends took photographs.

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, attended the event and tried, despite the loud and excited crowd, to tell those who were willing to quiet down some facts about the performance, background and future of Tesla’s Roadster.

If this account seems lacking in any content regarding the electrification of vehicles– the debate around performance, charging concerns, or electric-grid loads–well, it should be. This was a celebration of technology, innovation and, above all, beauty.

Even as someone indifferent to automobiles, it’s hard not to gaze upon the Tesla Roadster without feeling a bit of that car-guy growing inside.  So as we look forward to the future of electric cars, what better way to kick it off with a car that puts to rest any notions of low speed or wimpy performance?

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