Tesla Electric Car Makes Pit Stop

By dancurranjr On December 11th, 2010

As they stepped out of the sleek, hand-built, carbon fiber Roadster, Danielle Molleur of Summit and her daughter Madeleine, were all smiles. “I can understand why there’s so much excitement and why we put our money down on one,” said Danielle, one foot still in the Tesla’s futuristic cockpit.

On Saturday, Summit residents interested in checking out, and test driving, Tesla’s innovative, high performance sports car were able to do so during the manufacturer’s national Go Electric Roadster Tour. All they had to do was make an appointment with Tesla’s representative, Michael J. Sexton, and meet at the Grand Summit Hotel.

“We’re not your typical type of automotive company,” said Sexton. “Our (business) model is very much like Apple. We go out into the marketplace with the vehicle and present it to prospective clients. We want people to experience the car, and the response is overwhelming. Today, my first drive is at 10 and my last drive is at 3. We’ll probably do 10 drives in Summit, altogether. And that’s a good manageable amount.”

The buzz around Tesla and its car has truly reached a fever pitch. In a climate where consumers are increasingly concerned not only with economics but also with reducing their impact on the environment, it’s easy to understand why.

The Tesla doesn’t need a single drop of gasoline and produces zero fumes. Twice as efficient as a typical hybrid, the Roadster is a pure, electric sports model. It accelerates from 0-60 in a mere 3.7 seconds, with a maximum speed of about 125 mph, and a range of up to 245 miles on a single electric charge.

Although the base model price is $106,000, Sexton is quick to point out that the car qualifies for a federal tax credit of $7,500 and that there is no sales tax on the vehicle, in the state of New Jersey.

According to the company, the Tesla’s sales numbers have been growing steadily ever since the company went public in June of this year. There are currently more than 1,400 Roadster owners in the world. Together, they have driven more than 8 million electric miles — saving more than 400,000 gallons of gas and 21,000 barrels of oil, in the process.

Named after the Serbian electrical engineer, Nikola Tesla, the company took its inspiration from the great inventor, who also happened to be the father of AC (alternative current) power. The Tesla has an AC induction motor.

“It was always a dream of Tesla’s to have a fully electric vehicle. At the turn of the 20th Century, he tinkered with electric vehicles. There was the Baker electric vehicle and he toyed with that — how to make that run without even using batteries,” added Sexton.

Tesla will be coming out with a four-door sedan version of the Roadster in 2012 — the Model S. This one will have a range of up to 300 miles. That’s the model that Danielle Molleur has actually committed to buy.

“The nice thing is that you buy one of these and you’re done. I mean, there’s no gas and an electrician can fix the engine. And no combustion engine. No spewing all kinds of stuff in the air. We have to move in that direction. Even Kuwait and Dubai are putting in solar fields. They know that the end is coming for fossil fuels,” she stressed.


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