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Tesla’s Roadster comes to Blighty, meets Damon Hill

tesla.jpgGreenbang’s said it before and she’ll say it again: the Tesla is one hot green motor. If Greenbang had a spare few gold bars around, she might trade them in for a Tesla Roadster all of her very own.

Her timing would indeed be excellent, for the Tesla team – headquartered in sunny San Francisco – have recently dispatched a team to England to convince Blighty’s monied eco-warriors to shell out on the sexy motor.

According to the Tesla company blog, the Tesla sales types stopped off at the Hurlingham club (no Greenbang’s never heard of it either, but it seems to be where rich people like to get together and congratulate each other on being wealthy enough to buy Dubai) and had a bit of a chat with Jay Kay of Jamiroquai.

Poor sods. Greenbang knows sales people will do almost anything to flog a car, but there are limits. Jay Kay for heavens sake? Surely spooning out their eyes would have been a more worthwhile and enjoyable use of their time?

The Tesla types also stopped for a chinwag with Sir Richard Branson, let posh petrolhead Vicki-Butler Henderson have a spin in one of the Roadsters and gave Prince Michael of Kent a quick ride as well. That’s Tesla gave the prince a ride, not Vicki Butler-Henderson. Greenbang wasn’t insinuating anything.

The highlight? Squirrel-faced racing god Damon Hill also had a test drive.

No word on whether any sales will result from the jolly, but the Roadster will be appearing on the petrol-wasting smug-fest that is Top Gear and its Channel 5 wannabe Fifth Gear later this year.

1 Comment

  • mal
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Cool article.

    The problem with version 1.0 of anything is the ticket price. Still some people with the necessary disposable income choose to pay a premium for the very first mobile phones, plasma screens, iPods etc etc. If they want to buy a Roadster, that’s fine. It’s been co-engineered with Lotus. It has some respectable sports car DNA. Otherwise, wait and see.

    Tesla Motors will shortly be announcing their next, cheaper model. It will be another pure electric and will benefit from the technology they’ve developed for the Roadster.

    An average maximum range of 220 miles is fine in Europe. Most daily journeys that you would want to make in a two-seater sports car fall far below this distance anyway.

    So what if it takes 3.5 hours to fully recharge from empty? If you’ve just arrived home after travelling 200 miles, would you really insist on a shorter turn-around before setting off on another 200 mile journey? If you’re travelling across country, just take longer over lunch. This isn’t rocket science.

    At the cheap rate of 5p per kWh, the Roadster will cost around £1,500 (worst case) in electricity for 100,000 miles of motoring. (Assuming you get the average mileage of 4.15 miles per kWh and that you always recharge it at the fastest 70 Amp setting through Tesla’s Fast Charger unit – forcing the car to consume additional energy for battery cooling). After 100,000 miles the battery pack will be down to about 80% capacity. Picture it like a shrinking petrol tank – same acceleration, same mileage rate, just a shorter maximum range. If this 175 mile max range is too low for your needs, you can choose to replace the battery.

    However, if petrol costs an average of £1:15 per litre and your car gets 35mpg then the same 100,000 miles of motoring will cost about £14,900 in petrol. So if you are counting your pennies (why – given the amount you paid for the car?), a replacement battery pack could cost up to £13,000 and you would still be ahead on energy consumption costs. Tesla have yet to announce replacement battery pack prices. (There is likely to be a cheaper Standard replacement pack and a more expensive Extended Range pack).

    But then how many traditional cars that give 35mpg can also do 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds and stay cheaper on maintenance?

    How much is a new clutch for a Porsche these days? The Tesla has no clutch. Indeed, mechanically it is far simpler than any conventional car, especially hybrids.

    For more info on the battery, search for TeslaRoadsterBatterySystem.pdf

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