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Tesla Motors opens doors to the rich and famous

The Roadster, an electric car with a $109,000 price tag now selling at a dealership in Santa Monica, Calif., will be followed by a roomier sedan.

Tesla Motors opened its first dealership in Santa Monica, Calif., on Friday, attracting a gaggle of reporters.

The location of the site in the tony Westwood neighborhood reflects the high-end shopping experience it intends to create for the flashy $109,000 Tesla Roadster. The next store, slated to open in San Carlos, Calif. in a couple months, will be set up to appeal to the Silicon Valley tech elite.

Tesla Roadsters ready to roll. Click on the image to see a photo gallery of Roadsters in production. Corinne Schulz/CNET Networks

The company told the Associated Press that it is impressed with demand: it has taken 600 orders for the Roadster and has a waiting list of another 400. CEO Elon Musk owns the first one produced.

The fancy showroom near Beverly Hills takes its inspiration from Apple stores, Musk said.

"The Apple stores have worked out well. It's a fantastic consumer experience," Musk told AutoWeek. "We wanted a nontraditional automotive experience, and we have it."

The company plans to make a luxury sedan next year called the Whitestar that will come in two versions: an all-electric model that will run entirely on its lithium ion battery pack, and a range-extended vehicle that will also use liquid fuel to extend its range.

The Roaster will have a range of 220 miles per charge and the mileage equivalent of 135 miles per gallon.

The sex appeal of the Roadster is rooted in the electric motor as well: with powerful torque, it can go from standing still to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds.

Tesla can lay claim to putting all-electric cars back on the map, with its racy Roadster. But it certainly won't be alone for long.

Audi recently said it will have an all-electric car in 10 years. General Motors is expected to bring out the Chevy Volt in 2010.

Think said it will bring its electric town cars to the United States next year.