The one good thing which seems to be coming out of the astronomic prices of gasoline and diesel, is the introduction of electric and solar cars. Companies like Tesla, Aptera, and Toyota are dead serious in making excellent electric cars which will give gasoline cars a good run for their money. If you have been following my recent postings here, you know what I’m talking about.
Tesla Motors, Inc. is a Silicon Valley automobile startup company focused on the production of high performance, consumer-oriented battery electric vehicles. The first Tesla store opened in Los Angeles, CA on April 2008. Before I forget, let me add that two of Tesla backers are Sergey Brin and Larry Page cofounders of Google Inc.
Despite Tesla Motors’ well deserved reputation as a high-end car manufacturer, it’s still very much a startup—the company’s $150 million in funding pales in comparison to coffers held by large automobile companies like Ferrari. As a result, Tesla has strived to create a atmosphere of style and sophistication at its showrooms without breaking the bank.
Tesla Motors’ first production vehicle, the Tesla Roadster, is an all-electric sports car. The company and reviewers state that the Tesla Roadster accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. It has a top speed of 125 mph (limited for safety) and can go 220 miles on a 3.5 hour charge. If you have a heavy wallet, you can add sweet extras like a painted carbon fiber top for $3,200 or a premium leather interior for $1,800. The cost of powering the vehicle is estimated at $0.02 per mile.
Prototypes were introduced to the public in July 2006 and featured on the cover of Time Magazine in December 2006 as the recipient of the magazine’s “Best Inventions 2006—Transportation Invention” award.
Demand has been high for the first “Signature One Hundred” set of fully equipped Roadsters, which sold out in less than three weeks, and the second hundred sold out by October, 2007. As of May 2 2008, more than 600 Tesla Roadsters have been reserved and 400 more are on the waiting list. The first production model was delivered to Elon Musk, Chairman of the Board, on February 2008 and were in general production by March 17, 2008.
A solar car is on the design table. Tesla plans to offer home roof mounted solar-photovoltaic systems that will offset power used by the home charger, allowing 50 miles (80 km) of travel per day without burdening the power grid.
Tesla is also currently working on a sedan, known as the Model S, which will be introduced as a 2010 model. It’s being designed as an alternative to cars such as the BMW Series and the Audi A6, with an estimated price of $60,000.
Future plans include a more affordable third model. The development and production of this future model, code-named “BlueStar”, will be funded by profits from the Model S sedan. According to Tesla, if everything goes according to plans, the BlueStar will be released in 2012 with a price tag of around $30,000.
Purchasing a Tesla Roadster is an involved and lengthy process. To reserve a car, first you’ll need to make a $5,000 deposit, which is mostly just to show you’re serious. To actually get a place on the 1,100 person long waiting list, you’ll need to cough up another $55,000—making a grand total of $60,000.
Of the 1,100 people on the waiting list, 600 are for the 2008 model, which has a base cost of $98,000. The remainder of the list is for the 2009 model, which has been upped to a $109,000 base value, mostly to account for the weakened dollar.
Tesla is currently telling customers that the waiting list is one year long, but production is only just ramping up so that time frame may change. By the end of July there will be around 12 cars on the road, most of which are owned by company board members and investors.
For the time being, cars are being assembled at a rate of about 4 a week, with expectations that the company will be able to finish 40 a week early next year.
Paying more than 100 “grands” for a car is a lot of money for mainstream customers; which means that for the time being, the Tesla Roadster will be a niche vehicle for opulent customers. However, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel with the introduction of the “BlueStar” which is expected be released in 2012 at around $30,000. If you’re interested in this baby, start fattening the piggy bank on your bed table.
For more information on the 2008 electric Tesla Roadster, kindly click here. The photo gallery will knock your socks off. Good Day!