It finally happened. The future is here. The future is now. Tesla Motors in San Carlos, California, a company we scooped about a month ago in Silicon Valley- The New Detroit?, has released specifications on its revolutionary battery powered car.
Several years ago we published The Car of the Future, which described the ambitious plans of a start-up company to build a fuel cell powered car they would deliver to a grateful world. Then last year we published The Battery Powered Car, which, among other things, demonstrated that batteries are twice as efficient an energy storage mechanism as fuel cells, and considerably cheaper to obtain – and that grid electricity can power a car for a fraction of what gasoline cars cost to operate.
And now the next generation, 100% electric car is here, and it runs on laptop batteries! Mass produced Lithium Ion batteries with an energy density of well over 200 watts per kilogram. And this isn’t just any car – this car will perform like a bat out of hell.
Back in the 1990′s, for a while, battery-powered cars were in vogue. But it was too soon, in spite of the legendary General Motors EV-1 coming out of that era. The EV-1 was a very hot sports car, although few recognized it at the time. It had a top speed of 185 miles per hour, and the manufacturer had installed a governor to prevent drivers from going that fast.
But if the EV-1 was a brilliant piece of engineering, ahead of its time, kind of like the first combat jet ever produced, the German ME-262, then the Tesla Roadster is kind of like America’s 2006 top-of-the-line F-18 Hornet.
Compare these stats: The EV-1 had 137 horsepower and went 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds. The Tesla Roadster puts out 185 kilowatts (248 horsepower) and goes 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. If the EV-1 had a top speed of 185 MPH with a 1,600 pound battery pack, what do you think the actual top speed of the Tesla Roadster is, with only 1,000 pounds of batteries? The Tesla Roadster’s spec sheet only discreetly says “over 130 miles per hour.” Gentlemen, get these cars on the autobahn.
Most important, the Tesla Roadster has a range on one charge of 250 miles, and can be recharged on the road in a few hours. The EV-1 only went about 100 miles on a charge, and took all night to charge on a normal wall socket.
Keep your eyes on Tesla Motors. They make me very proud to be a Californian.