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Tesla: Electric Supercar

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006 · 1 Comment

I’ve always loved cars. There are the basic benefits they give us: The ability to efficiently and quickly move across town or across the country, to connect with friends and family, and to aid in national commerce (through trucking). Then there’s the styling and the performance side of cars that I love: The lines, the design, the pure fun of driving them, shifting, and the rumble of the engine.

Oh yes, the engine. That which sounds oh so good but which contributes to pollution, global warming, and our dependence on foreign oil, which, by the way, is still a limited resource even if we were to drill in places like Alaska and off the coast of Florida.

The good news: A seachange is coming. And it’s a super-fast sports car. Yes, a sports car. It has 248 horse power (21 more than does my car), a top speed of 130 mph (slower than my car’s 140-mph computer-limited top speed, but still really, really fast — the fastest I’ve ever driven, in fact), 0-60 in 4 seconds (1.5 seconds or so faster than my gas-powered car), and here’s the best part: The Tesla Roadster is 100% electric! Yes, electric.


This is the most excited I’ve been about a car in a long time. It’s too bad the price tag will be around $80,000, so most of us can only dream about driving one. I do believe, though, that this is what we need to begin weening ourselves off the black gold.

Two nights ago I read the Wired story about the Tesla (great for the technical angle):

Battery-Fueled Car Will Smoke You

And then yesterday I was pleased to see that one of my favorite columnists, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Mark Morford, wrote about the car and the environmental/political angle:

Lick My Silent Sports Car / How much has Big Auto lied? Take a drive in this four-wheel electric orgasm, and find out

I’ll leave you with this excerpt from the Morford piece:

See, they lie. And they’ve been lying for years, decades. They lie about how difficult it is to replace the internal combustion engine. They lie about how unfeasible it is to eliminate auto emissions without sacrificing real performance (the 130-mph Roadster’s lithium-ion battery system is estimated to be twice as efficient as a Prius and three times as efficient as a hydrogen fuel cell. Not to mention Tesla’s fabulous solar option).

But they lie, most of all, about how much we still require foreign oil, because these billion-dollar corporations claim they can’t possibly afford to develop sufficiently advanced technology in your lifetime to create a 100-percent emissions-free, oil-free, ultragreen vehicle that still has all the comforts and performance of a regular car.

Nice pipe dream, they say. Here, have a bloated SUV, they say. Sorry about all your dead kids in Iraq, they add, smirking like a chimp and blowing their noses into a big pile of Halliburton profits.

Did you already know? Did part of you suspect that we could be, if we were directing our country’s massive resources at all correctly, already mass-producing the technology that could quickly wean us from our dependence on foreign petroleum?

Did you already calculate that if even a fraction of the $300 billion — a truly staggering amount — we’ve wasted on BushCo’s failed and disgusting war could have gone to revolutionizing our nation’s energy infrastructure (like, say, funding large-scale development of the Roadster’s technology), instead of annihilating a pip-squeak nonthreatening nation over its oil reserves while simultaneously serving as the most successful terrorist-recruitment poster in world history, the United States could be considered the epicenter of integrity and invention once again? Of course you did.

But oh wait. Such an obvious, lucid redirection of resources and ideology would require someone with true vision in the White House. Someone with integrity. And intelligence. And fearlessness. And an articulate understanding of complex ideas. And a Congress to match. Never mind.

Read more…

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Tags: technology

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Ricky Thakrar // Aug 15, 2006 at 3:18 am

    Can’t believe I haven’t heard about this one sooner! Thanks for blogging it.