Electric cars -- though far from a new technology (electric cars preceded gas motors by decades) -- have become in-vogue again as an environmentally friendly alternative to typical cars. Most of these ?green? vehicles share one thing in common: They are boring. Many people would rather have a root canal than drive an electric car, but that might change if they take a spin in a Tesla.
Some people don't want a Prius
Anyone who has sat behind the wheel of a hybrid or electric car knows they aren't fun to drive. There's no zip, and burying the pedal does very little. Electric cars aren't purchased because they are fun, but the founders of Tesla thought they could change that.
The foundation of the company was laid in 2003, when two teams of engineers sought to make their own improved versions of AC Propulsion's T-Zero prototype and banded together at the the suggestion of AC Propulsion's president to form Tesla, named for legendary scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla.
As Tesla improved its design of a battery-powered sports car, the company entered into an agreement with Lotus for the body. Lotus provided several thousand body blanks of the Lotus Elise, which Tesla modified to create the Tesla Roadster, the car that made the company famous. After numerous demonstrations and heavy advertising, the Roadster began selling slowly but surely and established the brand as more than a novelty. The four-door Tesla S is the new sedan built by the company, and while less powerful and costly than the Roadster, Tesla makes the most exciting electric cars one can buy.
Fast as a Ferrari with laptop batteries
Tesla uses an enormous array of lithium-ion batteries, similar to those found in laptop computers. The Roadster will go from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds and gets to 100 miles per hour less than 13 seconds. It comes with all the amenities and safety equipment one expects, including airbags. It will go more than 200 miles on a charge, though the distance can vary depending on how its driven.
The performance of the Roadster is what made the company famous; the plug-in, fully electric car is supercar quick and a blast to drive. However, production of the Roadster is wrapping up and the only available models will be used ones in the near future.
Boutique car company made good
The Tesla S, a four-door sedan, is slated for 2012 and other models will follow. Tesla, though a boutique car maker at present, is likely to be a force to be reckoned with among ?green? vehicles for years to come.