The image of the electric car is about to receive a boost in the form of the Tesla Roadster, a two-seater claimed to do 0-60mph in 4.0sec, reach a top speed of over 130mph, and travel up to 250 miles between charges of its lithium-ion batteries.
Although Tesla is an American company, the car is based on an Elise floorpan, was styled by a team led by Lotus Design’s Barney Hatt, and will be assembled at the Lotus factory in Hethel.
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First deliveries of the Tesla, which will be sold primarily in the US, begin in summer 2007, although with a price tag of $100,000 (approximately £53,000), buyers will need to be especially environmentally minded to opt for electric-powered sports car thrills.
Tesla is keen that its car should seem as ‘normal’ as possible; it meets US crash requirements, is airbag-equipped and has such luxuries as air-conditioning and heated seats. Its boot will even accommodate a set of golf clubs.
While there have been other well intentioned but inevitably doomed electric car projects in the past, the Tesla operation is funded to the tune of $40m and can list the co-founder of PayPal, Elon Musk, amongst its board members.
The Tesla isn’t the only electric sports car project in the States. In evo 093 we reported on Silicon Valley-based WrightSpeed, whose technology is currently packaged in an Ariel Atom test-bed that has the distinction of having out-dragged a Porsche Carrera GT.