The electric sports car is finally here, and it looks pretty damn hot:
Tesla Motors is a brand new car company whose first product is a roadster designed by a Lotus designer, engineered by a bunch of Lotus engineers, and manufactured in the Lotus factory. The configuration is that of a mid-engined, real-wheel drive two-seater with a bunch of batteries in place of where the engine would be. My kind of car.
The electric motor puts out 248 hp at peak and redlines at 13,500 rpm. Torque is instantly available (of course), so off the line, you’ll smoke the competition (without any of the smoke). Zero to sixty in about four seconds. Neat.
The range of the car is 250 miles, which doesn’t quite get you from LA to Vegas in one charge. There is a portable charging kit for longer trips, but since recharging the car takes about 3.5 hours, this still doesn’t quite get you to Vegas. As a commuter car, a weekend driver, the mileage range should be more than most people need on a daily or weekly basis. The batteries are estimated to last at least 100,000 miles, and I believe are covered under warranty for that period. Assuming that owners will charge the car overnight, energy costs are estimated at 1 or 2 cents per mile. My 1991 MR2 gets 18 mpg and costs about 10 cents a mile using premium gasoline.
The $100,000 price tag attached to the Tesla Roadster makes the discussion of efficiency and costs somewhat academic. Little two-seater sports cars appeal to a niche for whom efficiency and cost are secondary to styling and performance. This is a car for the environmentally-conscious affluent performance nut and/or technology geek. Future models from Tesla will include a car for “the rest of us” (fuck that!) that presumably costs less and seats more. The hot flagship roadster will primarily generate publicity for the technology and bring in curious people who might just drive out in a new electric sedan.
Official Site: Tesla Motors
Wired: Batteries Included
YouTube: Tesla Roadster Video