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Photos: Tesla Model S hits New York party scene

Electric car start-up Tesla Motors throws a shindig for owners and prospective buyers, and to celebrate its founder's appearance on the Letterman.

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Caroline McCarthy

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1 of 4 Caroline McCarthy/CNET

Tesla S

On Wednesday evening in the lobby of the IAC/InterActiveCorp building in Manhattan's downtown Chelsea neighborhood, electric car start-up Tesla Motors threw a late-night party to bring together owners and prospective buyers, as well as to celebrate founder Elon Musk's appearance on "Late Show With David Letterman" that day.

On display was a prototype of the company's forthcoming Model S sedan, a $50,000 alternative to its much pricier--and already-on-the-market--Tesla Roadster. The car, which will go into production in 2011, can seat seven people and can go 300 miles before needing a recharge.

(Disclosure: "Late Show With David Letterman" airs on the CBS broadcast network, which is owned by CBS Corp, publisher of CNET News.)

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Tesla S, rear view

A rear view of the Tesla Model S prototype at the company's event at the IAC headquarters. Interested customers could gawk at it, but they couldn't climb in to pose for photo ops or to check out the upholstery.

Tesla plans to open a showroom in Chelsea, the same neighborhood where the IAC building is located, sometime in the near future, representatives said at the event.

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Tesla Roadster engine

Tesla Motors also brought along a functional Roadster, its electric sports car. Here, a company representative let some party guests take a peek under the hood. But later in the evening, attention shifted to the giant video screens lining the walls of the IAC lobby, where Musk's appearance on the Letterman show (taped earlier) was broadcast as it aired.

Musk himself was in attendance at IAC to watch, too.

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Smart car

No, Tesla doesn't make the Smart car--the adorable subcompact is manufactured by Daimler. But Tesla is responsible for building the battery pack in the electric Smart that's set to debut within two years, so the company had a Smart parked at the New York party on Wednesday night.

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