New Electric Car Races Past the Prius

Tesla RoadsterAt a top speed of 135mph and the ability to go from 0-60mph in less than four seconds, you’d think the new Tesla Roadster would be a gas guzzlin’ fiend, but this new car is 100% electric and can cruise up to 300mi before it has to recharge. It can power up in about 3.5 hours and for a cost of about $2.50 and is already getting great reviews and coverage in the auto world.

The car, envisioned and created primarily by silicon-exec and auto entreprenuer Martin Eberhard, is a pioneer in a new field of efficient electric high-performance autos designed to appeal to car enthusiasts yet meet the practical needs of people who simply want cars that run well and get good mileage. It steps up to the challenge by setting a trend for a new generation of electric vehicles that cut our dependence on oil and cut costs for consumers at the pump. The innovation that designed the battery, a retooled version of the classic litium-ion that runs the laptop I’m working on right now, is exactly what need from car makers and other industries to tackle our fossil fuel created nightmare. Eberhard has managed to take the lithium-ion cells and bundled them into one large battery-pack that he’s engineered to maintain a charge level that promotes a longer life span. The new battery makes the car heavier than its counterparts in the racing world, but the super efficient engine has enough torque to make up for it, making the car competitive with such racing gems as the Lotus Elise.

They’re only making 100 Teslas in the first round of production and they won’t be ready until this summer, but they’re all spoken for. At a deposit of the full price of $100,000, the cars were snatched up in just two weeks with buyers betting their money on an unknown technology. This eagerness by wealthy consumers to invest in more sustainable, high-tech and modern versions of cars and other industrial products represents the want of society for more innovation and design that takes our future into account. Eberhard argues that the efficiency of his vehicle and future electrics is far beyond what we could reach with conventional engines or even hydrogen fuel cells.

11 Responses to “New Electric Car Races Past the Prius”

  1. 1 Steven Lough Nov 16th, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    I’ll COMMENT !
    As President of one of many EAA Chapters ( electric cars and EV Technology has been at the forefront of my life for over 25 years. Owner of 5 PURE EVs builder of the ION-1, EV Dealer, and now promoter..and Educator.
    I LIKE what I see in the Tesla Roadster. I think Martin has the Right Stuff ! After all… Back at the turn of the (last ) century, it was only the rich and famous who could afford the boutique built Horseless Carriages… It was a decade or more before H. Ford found a way to build cars that most any one could afford. So it is not surprising, that the MAJORS do not want to jump into the EV Biz.. The Buggy whip people and horse people did not embrace the Gas Car in 1900 either…
    But there ARE other forces at work now. The END or Peak Oil, the Geo-Political mess that protecting oil has put us in, and last but not least, Global Warming.
    Being efficient should NOT be a dirty word. And the electric motor is D#$@ Efficient. And FAST too….

  2. 2 kent beuchert Nov 16th, 2006 at 3:15 pm

    As an electric car proponent, I wouldn’t touch this monstrosity. I think it’s appropriate that they chose to name their car after a fellow who ended up his life defrauding the government and private investors by claiming he could transmit energy wirelessly like radio waves, and that there exists all around us energy waves that he claimed he could capture with a box of vacuum tubes. TheTesla car makes the same mistake GM did when they built the EV1 – there simply is not enough range
    to make the car practical and the batteries take 3 1/2 hours to recharge, which is far too long to
    make public charging stations possible. And oh, by the way, that hogwash about cheap driving expenses fails to account for those ultra expensive $20,000 batteries (all 8631 of them!) in its
    battery pack that might last 5 years. This car doesn’t use the latest quick charge Altair batteries, that can be recharged in 8 minutes and last longer than you will, probably. The Tesla with its obsolete li ion batteries will also be obsolete before it’s even delivered to its target cusomer base of ultra environmentalist Hollywood millionaire actors who wouldn’t know the difference anyway. Who’s going to feel sorry for those guys? Not me, for one. I love to see them get screwed royally and be totally unaware, especially since they claim to be technologically astute.

  3. 3 Chris Sanders Nov 16th, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    An EV driver weighs in.

    As an EV1 driver of five years, I’m naturally confused when others explain why it won’t work for me. I plugged it in at night and woke up with a full charge that I never exhausted during my daily use. It performed better than the GM people said. It was cheap to operate, quiet, clean, very fast and I never serviced it.

    Sometimes I miss my typewriter, too, but I get over it.

    I saw the Tesla up close and when a leasing program is available, I’ll sign on.

  4. 4 Scott Nov 17th, 2006 at 8:20 am

    This seems like a really nice car, but why can’t someone design an electric car that isn’t a high-priced, high-performance car? It would make more sense to design an electric car that can reach 60-70 MPH quickly and not require a recharge for 300 miles that cost around $20000 to $30000.

  5. 5 matt reitman Nov 17th, 2006 at 9:32 am

    All these points are valid. The new Tesla model is not cheap – something around $100,000, but the point is to sell these high-priced ones to help cover the cost of developing a market and the battery technology. Seems like the best thing for us to do for now (those of us who don’t have that kind of money to throw around) is to put resources into the hybrid market. You can also convert hybrids to plug-in electric vehicles, check out

    And, as mentioned above, the lithium ion battery has a pretty weak lifespan…you’d be lucky if it was still 80% by the time you got the thing. But, on the plus side, there are promising developments in battery technology, just little money to put towards them.

    What is definitely clear is that liquid fuels are unsustainable and unjust. We should look to public transit, human-powered transit, and electric vehicles, and avoid extracting fossil fuels and displacing farmland for biofuels. For more on liquid fuels check out these factsheets.

  6. 6 Trevor Allen Nov 18th, 2006 at 9:10 pm

    I’d like to comment on the two above comments complaining about the lack of practical application of the car. I’d simply like to say that virtually every revolutionary technology that had a major positive impact on the world started out high-budget. Research is not cheap. Creating a high-performance model shows there’s no upper limit on the capabilities of electric car technology. The money doesn’t go to the engineer sho says “i’m going to make a simple car efficient.” Unfortunately, it goes to the ambitious, even if those ambitions are rather impractical. The point of this car is the success of the technology that paves the way for practical creations based on it.

  7. 7 Evan Millner Dec 4th, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    I have been following the development of electric cars for a number of years. I am struck by the similarity of what I am hearing now, to what I was hearing about digital cameras around five years ago or so. The same pattern, I think, will occur here. Once electric cars can drive a reasonably practical distance without needing re-charging, and once re-charging can be shortened time-wise to, say, the time it would stop and have a leisurely lunch, the electric car will take off with a bang. and leave all other options, such as hydrogen, hybrids, etc, dead in their tracks. Battery technology is rapidly advancing. Once an electric vehicle is available that can take you on a good long road trip, the EV will start to oust the ICE. Once the recharge time issue is sorted out, then the technology will well and truly take off. ICE will become defunct, with the ra[idity that film cameras have become defunct. It will happen, simply because of economics – the same reason digital cameras kicked the ass out of film. An EV is the cheapest option. Once EV’s are mass produced, they should be as cheap as ICE vehicles. No-one “killed” the electric car, the technology just isnt good enough yet for the EV to have mass appeal. From what I see on line, it soon will be.

  8. 8 David Lassiter Feb 19th, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Kent Beuchert is a fake working for the oil / gas lobby and has posted on hundreds of websites through dummy email accounts (eg – He has been posting for six years on this topic – ridiculously if you think about it. He has made up locations in McLean, VA and Tampa, FL. Please forward any information you may have on him as I am writing a story. Regards – David Lassiter

  9. 9 James Feb 27th, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Who is this Kent goof? 300mi not enough range? Lifecycle problems?

    Give me a break. Lithium ion (like those from a123 technology) can be cycled many more times than conventional rechargables.

    300mi range is probably 4-5 times the average mileage a typical american puts on a car a day.

    The occasional long distance drive, wait for faster recharging tech…yes or you could take a hybrid using these same batteries and use very little gasoline.

    If the 2 bucks per 300 miles doesn’t make you want to slap anyone who thinks we should even be making IC engine cars anymore, you must be addicted to gasoline fumes.

  10. 10 a.stud Jul 6th, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    what alot of people dont realize is the more hybrids/full electrics we buy the higher gas prices will skyrocket…forcing ic engine users to change or switch. the u.s should set an example for the rest of the world and end our dependence on oil.

  1. 1 Great Car » New Electric Car Races Past the Prius Trackback on Nov 21st, 2006 at 12:37 pm
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About Kim

Kim is the Campuses Beyond Coal Campaign Representative for the Sierra Student Coalition where she helps young people across the country fight Big Coal and create Coal Free Schools. Previously, she organized for climate and clean energy solutions with youth across the Rust Belt and helped with the early creation and development of Energy Action Coalition. She also loves traveling, especially in Latin America, and playing pick up touch football with her friends.

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