Tesla Motors, run by PayPal founder Elon Musk, and backed by Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, is now taking orders for what it says will be the world’s first mass-produced, highway-ready electric sedan.
Electric cars have several advantages over petrol, and some that you might not expect.
They develop maximum torque instantly, meaning a keenly spec’d battery-powered vehicle like WrightSpeed’s X1 can accelerate faster than a Porsche.
And an electric car’s batteries (up to 250kg worth) typically sit under the floor pan, meaning a lower centre of gravity. That is, it can take corners better.
Plus, there are no carbon emissions, no clutch to burn out, no need to change the oil, and, of course, no need to visit a petrol station.
Now Tesla Motors has added another reason: instant access to Google Maps and Google Street View.
The latter feature is thanks to Mr Brin and Mr Page, who stepped in to save the struggling US company, whose founder Ian Wright bailed to found the aforementioned WrightSpeed. (It could be noted that our heroes don’t always invest in such environmentally-friendly kit.)
Tesla has just unveiled its Model S – a name deliberately chosen to echo the Model T.
It will cost around $US57,000, or $US49,000 after various greenie tax credits (about twice as much Mitstubishi’s considerably naffer MiEV, currently on a PR tour of New Zealand), pull 0 to 60mph in six seconds, and have a maximum speed of 209km/hour.
With a range up to 300 miles and 45-minute QuickCharge, the $49,900 Model S can carry five adults and two children in quiet comfort – and you can charge it from any outlet, without ever stopping for gas. World’s first mass-produced electric vehicle offers performance, efficiency and unrivaled utility, making it the only car you’ll ever need.
- 300 mile range
- 45 minute QuickCharge
- 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds
- Seats 7 people
- More Cargo space than station wagons
- 2X as efficient as hybrids
- 17 inch infotainment touchscreen
There will also be a 17-inch LCD display feed by a 3G cellular connection – which is where the live Google Maps feed comes in.
Actually, although billionaires Mr Brin and Mr Page have put money into the project, Tesla is still seeking a $US450 million loan from the US Department of Energy under a law Congress passed in 2007 that provided $US25 billion for developing electric vehicles (no money has been dished out yet). Tesla is also angling for a second, $US250 million loan under a separate government clean energy initiative.
If that loan comes through, expect mass production in around two years.
Tesla Motors is now taking orders for the Model S through its website, plus a previously announced, $US109,000 Roadster model (below), which the company says already has a waiting list of 1000 customers.
National Business Review NZ – Chris Keall