A New Jersey philanthropist was the 500th person to take ownership of a Tesla Roadster, an important milestone for the world's leading electric vehicle manufacturer.

Martin Tuchman, former chairman and CEO of Interpool, is chairman of The Tuchman Foundation and a board member of The Parkinson's Alliance and Parkinson's Disease Foundation of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. He plans to charge his Roadster partly with solar energy thanks to photovoltaic panels he helped install throughout his hometown of Kingston, NJ.

"My Roadster drives like a dream -- it's amazing," said Tuchman, a former automotive engineer and owner of a 1967 Mercedes 250 and a 1993 Jaguar convertible. Tuchman converted his 1937 Chris-Craft into an electric boat so he could take it on nearby Lake Carnegie, which prohibits gas-powered boats. He plans to use his Roadster as his primary commuter car.

Tuchman took delivery of a Twilight Blue Roadster last weekend, a few weeks before the anticipated opening of a Tesla showroom in New York's Chelsea Art District. Greater New York is Tesla's largest market outside of California, and local EV owners enjoy numerous incentives.

Zero-emission vehicles are exempt from New Jersey sales, use and luxury taxes. Single occupants of alternative-fuel vehicles may also use the high-occupancy commuter lanes on the New Jersey Turnpike. These incentives are on top of a $7,500 US federal tax credit, which fully applies to all Tesla Roadsters.

Tesla will also soon be opening stores in Chicago, London, Seattle, Miami, Washington, Monaco and Munich. Tesla will begin deliveries in Europe this summer.

San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla is the only production automaker selling highway-capable EVs in the United States or Europe. The Roadster beats nearly every other car for acceleration yet is twice as energy efficient as a Toyota Prius. It costs roughly $4 to refuel and can be completely recharged in as little as 3.5 hours.

Michael van der Sande, Tesla Senior Vice President of Global Sales, Service and Marketing, called the 500th delivery an important symbol for the world's newest production automaker.

"We now have more than 500 real-world customers providing valuable feedback on our cars and contributing to Tesla's spirit of continuous improvement," van der Sande said. "We intend to leverage our first-mover advantage and continue to build brand loyalty for years – from our 500th to our 500,000th delivery."

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