Your conscience may tell you that a green car is good for the environment and so is the responsible thing to buy, but the truth is, a bona fide green vehicle probably doesn't get your pulse racing – until now, that is. For those out there who fantasize about good looks and eco-friendly credentials, Tesla Motors has created the Tesla Roadster and it may just be the answer to your dreams.
The Tesla Roadster is an electric car like no other currently on the market. This is a seriously sexy looking little sports car, from its sleek bodylines and groovy cockpit to its strong and stylish colour palette. But what makes it so special is that it is an electric sports car, and has zero carbon emissions, making it highly attractive to those wishing to look good and save the planet at the same time.
Can the hype be believed?
So it's billed as a green sports car, but what can the Tesla Roadster really do that would put it into that category? Well, one of the biggest negatives of many of the electric cars available today is that they may be worthy, but they are slow and heavy. The Tesla Roadster has a top speed of 125mph and the company claims it goes from 0 to 60 in just 3.9 seconds. This is a startling improvement on the performance of other electric vehicles such as the Reva G Wiz and must put pressure on future unveilings such as the i MiEV (innovative Mitsubishi electric vehicle) which will hopefully be launched on Australian shores next year. Unlike the G Wiz and the i MiEV, the Tesla Roadster is firmly aimed at the sports car section of the green vehicles but even so, it is so radically different from the electric cars currently on the road and in the pipeline, that it must generate some interest from other green vehicle manufacturers.
Another improvement is that the Tesla Roadster can travel around 220 miles between charges and should take only 3.5 hours to recharge, if you use the Tesla Motors High Power Connector. Again, these specs mark the Tesla Roadster as an evolutionary stage beyond the average electric car, which may be carbon neutral but barely goes further than 60 km before it needs to be recharged and then takes all night plugged in to the mains to get its battery topped up. Tesla Motors also says that their Roadster gives 100% torque from the second their green car is switched on, giving it superior energy efficiency and superb acceleration all the time, unlike a car powered by a conventional petrol engine.
How does the Tesla Roadster do all this?
So far, the biggest stumbling block to a fast and attractive electric sports car has been the very thing that makes electric cars so wonderful and environmentally friendly in the first place – the battery pack. The battery has to be there are it is the electric vehicles fuel tank, yet most electric car batteries are big and heavy – two words that you don't want associated with a sports car. Tesla Motors have solved the problem by coming up with their very own lithium ion battery which, apart from being comparatively powerful and long lasting between charges, is also recyclable, giving this particular green car another important eco-friendly bonus point. In addition to this, the motor inside the Tesla Roadster has been designed to be 85-95% efficient, so that nothing is wasted between recharges.
Other Plus Points
The battery recharge is the downside of having an electric vehicle, but Tesla have included a few things which make topping up your power pack a little less painful. Firstly there is the increased distance that the Tesla Roadster can travel between trips to the power socket. Then there is their High Power Connector Unit, which should see this particular electric car go from flat to charged in around 3.5 hours. If you happen to be away from home when your Tesla needs an energy boost the Roadster comes with an optional Mobile Connector which allows recharging from most standard power point and which fits neatly in the green vehicles boot.
The Tesla Roadster also has regenerative braking technology. This means that every time you apply the brakes, energy is passed back to the battery, so this electric car actually benefits from the stop-start of modern driving.
As with so many electric cars, at present, there is no official launch date for the Tesla Roadster or its sister green vehicle, the Tesla Model S, in Australia. Following the success of their electric car in California, Tesla Motors has expanded its sales across the US into Canada and Europe, but it looks like we have a little while longer to wait before we see a truly green electric sports car on the streets of our cities.