Monday, 30 March 2009

Tesla Model S

Tesla could be on to a winner here. Following the well-received Roadster (based on an Elise, looks a bit like an Elise), they seem to have hit on a formula that is potentially as lucrative as it is logical - move into a (comparative) growth field in the eco-motoring sphere and cobble together some recognisable visual cues to soothe the brain's worries about the unconventional drivetrain.

It was inevitable that they'd come up with a five-door, and it's quite cute that they've made it look like a Maserati Quattroporte with the grille from an Evo X, the tail-end of a Jaguar XF and the wheels from a McLaren-Mercedes SLR. These are all good things and, fortunately, they gel together pretty well. It's rather a handsome beast.

So, it's billed as the world's first mass-produced electric vehicle (there are various petty counter-arguments to this claim, but let's not dwell on cynicism) with a top speed of 120mph, a three hundred mile range and an impressive 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds. The single-speed transmission from the Roadster, renowned for its eerily relentless stepless thrust, is carried over.

It's claimed that a full charge from a domestic power source will take four hours and cost approximately US$4, and for those that will be parking on the street and don't fancy the inevitable lawsuits from people deliberately tripping over their power cables, Tesla are working on a network of battery-changing stations, whereby a technician will swap your battery for a full one in the time it takes to gas up a regular car. All pretty exciting, no? You'll have to wait until 2011 to see one on the road, but it does look like a genuinely workable option. And a pretty one too.

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