Do you anticipate 92,000 extra dollars in your bank account this Fall? If you do, then you should definitely, definitely check out the Tesla. The Tesla is powered by the same lithium-ion battery cells that drive the average laptop or smartphone, and you can charge it from an ordinary wall socket. There’s even a grate under the rear fender where the car expels hot air, just like the typical desktop PC.
Several prototypes are already assembled. Each prototype was built at a cost of over a million dollars, and only the lucky few covered by the company insurance policy are permitted behind the wheel. But sitting in the passenger seat of the roadster is apparently, quite a rush!
Equipped with an AC induction motor that’s only the size of a watermelon, it does zero to 60 in about 4 seconds. But it’s not just the acceleration that amazes. It’s the way this car accelerates. Unlike a gasoline-powered car, which has very little torque at low RPMs, the Tesla reaches 100 percent torque from the instant it starts forward. You don’t wait even a moment for that acceleration to kick in-its immediate. The effect is like nothing you’ve ever experienced.
And that’s not the half of it. Even as it reaches the performance of leading sports cars, emissions are non-existentâ€”100% electric means 100% electricâ€”and according to the company, the car gets the equivalent of 135 miles to the gallon. Translation: If you charge your car at night, during off-peak hours, you’re paying as little as one cent per mile.
The Tesla has yet to be independently testedâ€”the final version doesn’t roll off the assembly line until the fallâ€”and what you may save powering the car is certainly offset by the initial $92,000 price tag. But it’s hard not to admire the Tesla simply as a feat of engineering.
The car’s 900-pound battery, or Energy Storage System, includes 6,831 lithium-ion cells, each about the size of a double-A alkaline. Plugged into an ordinary wall socket, it charges in about 7 hours. But if you use a specially designed in-home charging unit, which the company plans to include with the car at no extra cost, you can charge up in under four hours. A full-charge gets you 250 miles of driving on the open road (the company has yet to test stop-and-go performance).