Electric-car firm picks Menlo Park

The nation’s first electric sports car company, Tesla Motors, is zooming to town, opening its first showroom this November at a former dealership site on El Camino Real.

The site, at 300 El Camino Real, has been vacant since Anderson Chevrolet closed its doors in February 2006. It sits next door to the Stanford Park Hotel and a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley, making it an ideal spot for Tesla to peddle its high-end cars, said David Vaspremi, spokesman for Tesla Motors.

“We’re excited to have a showroom in the Bay Area, given that this is the location of our corporate headquarters,” Vaspremi said. Tesla launched in San Carlos and announced its plan to build an all-electric roadster in 2006.

“We wanted to be someplace on the Peninsula, and we got a great deal on the location from Stanford University,” which owns the land, said Mike Harrigan, vice president of customer support for Tesla.

Roughly 570 units in the original 800-car run have sold, and production on the $98,000 car begins this fall. Tesla plans to branch out by offering a four-door sedan that will cost less and appeal to a broader market, Vaspremi said.

While the Menlo Park site keeps Tesla close to home, it also brings highly sought “green” business to the city, Mayor Kelly Fergusson said.

“I see them as an anchor for green retail destinations,” Fergusson said.

David Johnson, the city’s business development director, is courting other environmentally friendly businesses, including other electric-car companies.

Fergusson thinks Menlo Park’s reputation should bring other companies. “We’re seen as a progressive city,” she said. “This concept would definitely expand that tradition.”

bwinegarner@examiner.com


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