Jason Ritter, Jon Favreau and Garcelle Beauvais were among the thousand guests invited to witness the debut of the new Tesla Model X, the electric carmaker's plug-in gift to the SUV/minivan driver.
Company founder Elon Musk built up to the unveiling by discussing emission reduction advantages and the history of the company, noting that with its Roadster sports car, "We changed the way people thought about the electric car" from slow, ugly and short-range and paved the way for GM's Volt and Nissan's Leaf. He touted the Model S, the luxury sedan that will begin deliveries this July that has a range of up to 300 miles, seating for five adults and two kids, and a 17-inch touch screen display. The Model X, he said, offers an eco-alternative to sleek but non-spacious SUVs and roomy but style-challenged minivans with the performance of a sports car.
"A Porsche Carrera goes from 0 to 60 in 4.6 seconds. The Model X, 4.4 seconds," compared Musk, pointing out its all-wheel drive, seating for seven adults, flat-folding seats, the extra storage room in the front-end "frunk" (made possible by the lack of gas engine), and the innovative "falcon wing" doors that take the "Back to the Future" DeLorean one step further. "You can stand up in the car. You can't do that in any other vehicle," said Musk, demonstrating it.
Earlier, the car's designer, Franz Von Holzhausen, called the Model X "utility with sex and style," noting that it would have the same 300 mile capability as the Model S (above) and be comparably priced around $50,000 with eligibility for a $7,500 energy rebate. 15,000 will be produced starting in 2014. "It will be worth the wait," he assured.
Jason Ritter, for one, might consider pre-ordering one. Currently driving the same Prius he got in 2003, he's more confident in the practicality of plug-ins now that there are more places around L.A. to recharge. Currently playing Lauren Graham's love interest on "Parenthood," he's in the midst of a baby-or-breakup storyline. "These characters love each other so much, they keep finding ways to thwart those obstacles they face, which is really nice," said Ritter, who describes his character, Mark Cyr, as "a wonderful guy, solid, good hearted. He's who I want to be when I grow up." Comparing "Parenthood" favorably to his last series "The Event," "there's a lot less running, guns and more attention to human interaction relationships. I'm not physically exhausted at the end of every day," he said.
Whatever happens with "Parenthood," he has another job on tap: the show's creator, Jason Katims, has cast him in his new medical drama pilot "County," about six interns as they start their first day at L.A. County Hospital. Ritter has been doing on-location research, and will take part in a "medical boot camp once they cast the rest of it" (so far the only other actor cast is Aimee Garcia). He also has a couple of indie movies awaiting release, "Free Samples" and "I Am I."
Jon Favreau, who consulted with Elon Musk on the "Iron Man" movies he directed and featured the Tesla Roadster in the first film, isn't in the market for the Model X because he's getting the Model S this summer. Garcelle Beauvais isn't planning to order it either. "My kids would trash it in two weeks!" the Land Rover driver said of her four-year-old twin boys.
This week she wraps up shooting the second season of "Franklin & Bash," which will return to TNT this summer. "We have some great guest stars: Cybill Shepherd, Jane Seymour, Rick Fox, Seth Green. Beau Bridges and Boris Kodjoe," the latter as her love interest. She also plays Denzel Washington's ex-wife in "Flight," due out later this year.
Photos: Jason Merrit/Getty Images for Tesla (Beauvais & Von Holzhausen, Favreau), Jordan Strauss/Getty Images for Tesla (car images, Jason Ritter)