A Beautiful Electric Blur

by Cristina Foung


My favorite green product of the week: Tesla Roadster

What is it?
As John Addison mentioned in a Cleantechblog post last year, there are quite a few electric cars on the horizon. The Tesla Roadster is one of them. Now, finally in its regular production page, the Tesla shows that the electric car can be one sexy ride. This little number isn’t just nice to look at, it’s fast too – it goes 0 to 60 MPH in under 4 seconds.

Why is it better?
According to one of Tesla Motors’ white papers, the Roadster has a well-to-wheel fuel efficiency of 1.15 km per megajoule (that considers the entire life cycle of the fuel, from its state as a raw fuel to the point when it rotates the wheel of the car). Those units might not make sense to you right off the bat, but when you compare that to the well-to-wheel efficiency of a conventionally run sports car (take the Porshe Turbo with a 6 cylinder gasoline engine) which comes in at 0.22 km per megajoule, it’s clear that the Tesla wins. If you prefer thinking in miles per gallon, try this one on for size. The Tesla gets the equivalent of 135 MPG.

What about the carbon dioxide? As with the Vectrix, I’m sure there are folks who know that electric cars that take electricity from coal-fired grids still have some emissions associated with them. Well, based on the typical electricity source mixture, the Tesla Roadster emits one seventh of the CO2 emissions from that little Porshe (again, that’s well-to-wheel).

But on top of that, I’ll tell you one of my favorite things about the Tesla. It’s not its sweet design (created with the help of Lotus). It’s not that great quiet electric whirr. It’s the car company’s relationship with SolarCity. SolarCity is working to offer Tesla customers photovoltaic panels for their roofs to power their vehicles.

The first time I saw a Tesla Roadster, I cried out with sheer joy (yep, out loud). And then I was a real nerd and took some pictures on my cell phone. But, oh, it was worth it.

Where can you find it?
After a few delays, the Tesla is finally in full production. Unless you’re already on the list, you’re out of luck for getting any of the 600-ish 2008 models, but Tesla Motors has started a wait list for the 2009 model year. If you want to get on that list (behind folks like the Google founders and George Clooney), be prepared to shell out $5,000 to start and end up with a final cost somewhere around $98,950.

If you’re in Europe, you’re in luck. Yesterday, Tesla announced that reservations are now being taken for European customers who want their Teslas delivered as early as the spring of 2009 (for more details, see the press release below).

Otherwise, if you’re like me, you can admire them from afar as soon as the showrooms open in Los Angeles and in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Besides her green products column on Cleantech Blog, Cristina is a passionate advocate for green living at the Green Home Huddle at Huddler.com, which focuses on electric cars, energy efficient appliances, and other green products. She is shamelessly self-promoting a contest in which a few product reviews could win you cool green stuff, not a Tesla, but still cool.

Press Release:
Tesla Motors Initiates European Sales

Source: Tesla Motors

Date: April 9th, 2008

The Tesla Roadster, a groundbreaking electric car that delivers super car performance with zero emissions and extreme energy efficiency, can now be reserved by European customers for delivery starting in the Spring of 2009.

Production of 250 special edition euro-spec Roadsters will be allocated for the entire EU region for 2009. This special edition, fully loaded car is priced at 99,000 Euro (excluding VAT) and will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Residents in the EU and UK can reserve a car by contacting Tesla at eurosales@teslamotors.com or calling +1 650-413-6200.

The Tesla Roadster went into production in the U.S. on March 17, 2008. Over 1000 U.S. customers have reserved a Tesla Roadster. While U.S. demand is likely to exceed production capacity in 2009, this special allocation of 250 euro-spec roadsters will be reserved for the first European customers.

Tesla Motors Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Service, Darryl Siry, talked about Tesla’s expansion plans and the attractiveness of the European market on the company blog at http://www.teslamotors.com/blog3/?p=75 , stating “since we launched the Tesla Roadster in the US, there has been extraordinary interest from European customers and media. Now that we are in production, we are excited to offer this groundbreaking car to Europeans who want to be the first on the continent to drive a car with extraordinary performance, beautiful styling, and zero emissions.”

The first official display of the Tesla Roadster in Europe will be at the Top Marques Monaco event from April 24th through April 27th. Information on the event can be found at http://www.topmarquesmonaco.com. Tesla officials will be on hand to greet customers and media.

3 replies
  1. Dagny McKinley
    Dagny McKinley says:

    I join you in the love of the Tesla. I saw this car on-line when it launched last year and realized that someone is finally combining beauty and efficiency. If only I could afford one, life would be great!Dagny McKinleywww.onnotextiles.comorganic apparel

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    If we all drove electric cars, and maybe someday we all will, where will we get the power to charge the battery's? Over half of current electricity generation is coal-based. Build nuclear power plants. Sorry for being anonymous, but I am challenged with sign in.

  3. battery
    battery says:

    I tested this camera for a client. I didn’t have the light running for more than 15 minutes. The battery lasted approximately 6 hours before recharging. The LCD, however, had a few dead pixels – never saw this before. Tried returning for exchange and had to put up quite a fight. Anyone else seen this? http://www.batteryfast.com

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