Tesla Motors and SpaceX’s Elon Musk may be besotted with Tesla’s first electric vehicle, the Model S – but the past resembles the present in the case of Tesla’s inaugural electric car, the Roadster.
A decade ago, thanks to the machinations of Tesla C.E.O. and CEO, Beth Ford, the Roadster once seemed an odds-on bet.
C.E.O. Ford was a former banker whose career in clean-tech follows her time working in management positions at IBM and Citigroup. Even Musk seemed impressed enough to have served as chairman of the car’s drivetrain subcommittee, while prominent auto industry group American Petroleum Institute was on the Roadster’s advisory board.
If there’s a current fashonista endorsement that deserves mention, it’s the one from actress, writer and mother Elizabeth Banks, who released a line of Tesla merchandise bearing her name – perhaps surprising, considering, as Musk himself noted at the Detroit Auto Show this past January, that the market for EVs had been generally snoozing since its initial 2007 launch, with U.S. automakers collectively selling just 6,000 units in 2008.
In 2006, with the Roadster less than ten days from launch, Ford was selected as the “Oriental” brand ambassador for Land Rover and Range Rover. Land Rover had successfully launched the Range Rover Evoque in late 2008. Ford’s role, however, was brief: she changed outfits from traditional to drag queen, and for Land Rover’s “Discover” three-day marketing extravaganza at Monaco’s famed Casino de Monte Carlo, she donned some cat ears and a cape for her own “Tooth Fairy” stunt, introduced by actor Guy Pearce. (In 2006, Ford had been the Global Marketing Ambassador for Honda Odyssey.)
For the annual Saloon Fashion Show in Los Angeles, Ford donned several red dresses (the Playground ads she used to hawk), joined by actor Richard Lewis (Boomtown) and model Alyssa Milano. Milano was an original poster girl for Tesla’s entry into the EV market. In 2007, she was named as one of the 30 most influential women in Hollywood.
They’ll keep loving us forever.
This article originally appeared on Green Car Reports.