Tesla, the Palo Alto, CA electric car start up is about one week past its debut on the stock market and even though the hype is dying down, there is much to be hopeful about. Tesla currently only produces their Roadster model which is basically a modified Lotus Elite with no tailpipe or combustion engine, instead powered by thousands of the same batteries that power laptops. Though don’t let that fool you, this car can do a max speed of 125mph and accelerate from 0-60mph in under 4 seconds. It is undoubtably the best performing and best looking electric vehicle on the market. That being said the starting price tag for one of these beasts is an astounding $109,000.
So far orders for the Roadster have been modest and the company has been loosing money year after year since inception. However, investors and many partners such as Toyota see that situation turning around when their new Model S begins to become available in 2012. This model is priced at less than half that of the Roadster at $50,000 after federal tax credits. The car is arguably even better looking than their first model and sports features such as a 17 inch info screen, 300 miles range per charge, and 45 minute battery quick charge.
Tesla is a sigh of relief for those concerned about the environment and public health related to air and water quality. Most of the current environmentally friendly cars on the market are not all that attractive, and in reality, looks is a huge selling point. For example, the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf are small and relatively unattractive to the average consumer. No doubt they are selling (pre-ordering in the Leaf’s case) well, but to move out of a niche market and to the general population, a mid-size attractive car is essential.
Overall, Tesla is in a great position to take the electric vehicle market by storm. Even if they somehow don’t succeed they will undoubtably spur fierce competition between major auto makers and accelerate the development of electric vehicles in the US. If Tesla is the future of auto transportation in this country, I am ecstatic for it to arrive.