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What could be more “San Francisco” than Mayor Gavin Newsom taking the Tesla Roadster — Silicon Valley’s clean tech hot rod — for a spin around the block down at Fisherman’s Wharf? I almost choked on the orange smoothie the caterers were passing out as the […]

teslagavin2.jpgWhat could be more “San Francisco” than Mayor Gavin Newsom taking the Tesla Roadster — Silicon Valley’s clean tech hot rod — for a spin around the block down at Fisherman’s Wharf? I almost choked on the orange smoothie the caterers were passing out as the lanky mayor drove the silent silver electric sports car out of the Hyatt Hotel parking lot this morning — it was too classic.

Newsom was there as part of a Roadster roadtrip publicity stunt in which the car will be driven up to Tahoe and back, stopping off in Sacramento on the way. The driver making the trip, Andrew Simpson, a vehicle test engineer, looked as responsible and clean-cut as someone about to make a long journey in an expensive test vehicle should. Tesla spokesman David Vespremi told us he is their “efficient driver” – i.e. he doesn’t speed. Simpson said he was excited to start off on the journey.

Newsom is actually a bona fide Tesla customer; the company just received the mayor’s $98,000 deposit, according to Vespremi. Wow. Vespremi also said Tesla has more than 600 preorders for the Roadster; other famous customers reportedly include George Clooney and Jeff Skoll.

Newsom told me he wasn’t interested in a hybrid, which he called a “halfway” solution, and he’s buying the Roadster as a luxury item, he said, as it’s “perfect for a trip up to Napa.” He told a crowd of reporters that he was formerly an owner of an EV1 — the now-recalled electric car of ‘Who Killed the Electric Car’ fame. The Roadster [and all its buzz] is needed, he said, to create a market and an industry for electric cars. So true. He’s smarter than his hair looks. (Just kidding, Gavin — I’m always up for a trip to Napa).

Over the past few weeks, the San Carlos, Calif.-based startup that has raised at around $100 million in funding has faced a few speed bumps. The company’s founder and CEO, Martin Eberhard, stepped down, citing his inexperience in running such a large-scale business. Michael Marks, former CEO of Flextronics (FLEX), has stepped in temporarily.

  1. [...] for me, I don’t have access to a green car like the Tesla Roadster (which we checked out earlier this week), or even a Prius. But I could have rented a more eco-friendly car and stopped by EV Rental [...]

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  2. [...] ($612,225) apiece, the Fetish could be positive for the electric car market on buzz factor alone. As San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom recently pointed out about the Tesla Roadster, the industry needs high-profile cars like these to spread awareness and expand the market beyond [...]

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  3. [...] number of independent plug-in hybrid electric vehicle startups emerging recently. Tesla Motors is getting its Roadster ready. Fisker Automotive is aiming at the luxury sedan market. Malcolm Bricklin’s Visionary [...]

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  4. [...] you nervously fixed your hair, the Tesla Roadster is officially late. Customers — among them San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom — will now have to wait until 2008 before the $98,000 electric hotrod is ready to leave the [...]

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  5. [...] that because the office is not too far from Earth2Tech, GigaOM headquarters. SF Mayor Gavin Newsom, never one to shy from green-themed media attention, held a press conference with Suntech’s CEO Dr. Zhengrong Shi to celebrate the [...]

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  6. [...] that because the office is not too far from Earth2Tech, GigaOM headquarters. SF Mayor Gavin Newsom, never one to shy from green-themed media attention, held a press conference with Suntech’s CEO Dr. Zhengrong Shi to celebrate the [...]

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  7. [...] Posted March 18th, 2008 at 10:39 am in Startups Note to all those Tesla customers — Gavin Newsom, Flea, George Clooney — that have been waiting patiently for their electric sports cars: The [...]

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  8. [...] Place’s example by converting the city’s cars to plug-in hybrids, and his forthcoming zippy Tesla Roadster (he’s #51 on the [...]

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  9. [...] then there’s the fact that more charging station would make it easier for Newsom to fill up his Tesla Roadster when he’s about [...]

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