Sep 22, 2009 | 22
“Are you ready?” the young driver beside me asked, as we sat in the two-seat Tesla Roadster convertible, facing a straight, steep, quarter-mile road that rises from the water of San Francisco Bay up the headland to the Golden Gate Bridge. Then he floored the accelerator. I was driven into the seat-back behind me—and I mean driven, like I was strapped into some insane amusement park ride—for several full seconds as the car accelerated and accelerated like a rocket up the climb. Only there was no screaming flame blasting behind us. There was no engine roaring either. I was being shot up this road so fast my emergency senses were on full alert, yet all was eerily quiet.
The Tesla Motors roadster is an all-electric vehicle. Which means zero emissions. There’s no engine, no fuel tank, just a deep bank of lithium-ion batteries and a single-gear, direct-drive motor that hits maximum torque instantly (that’s the beauty of electric propulsion). The car is blistering fast; the sport edition goes from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds. Not up on car specs? The Chevy Corvette, with a monster 6.2 liter, eight cylinder, 430 horsepower engine takes 4.6 seconds. The Tesla accelerates faster than the Porsche 911. Faster than the Ferrari Spider. The typical sedan takes a good 6.0 seconds or more to reach the same speed.
Oct 16, 2008 | 1
Chrysler, Ford and GM are busy using up the $25-billion jump-start they received last month and their economic outlook is far from rosy. But it is the upstarts—in specific, electric car company Tesla Motors—facing the roughest road because they don't have the track record for access to cheap cash.
As the credit markets have seized up, Tesla has been forced to restructure and has entered a "critical phase" financially, according to a company blog post. Tesla will be abandoning Detroit and digging in at its new corporate HQ in San Jose as well as laying off an unspecified number of its 250 employees. Its primary financial backer, Elon Musk—whose SpaceX rocket finally took flight, successfully putting a payload into orbit—will also return to the helm of the company, shifting current CEO Ze'ev Drori to the board of directors. He had been in the job for a little less than a year.
Aug 14, 2008 | 9
The world’s major auto companies have yet to bring an electric vehicle (EV) to market and keep it there for long. Some drivers, however, taunted by stratospheric gasoline prices, have taken matters into their own hands.
They are retrofitting their gas-guzzlers into their own DIY EVs.
A company catering to these gas-averse early adopters is Electric Vehicles of America, a New Hampshire-based company that sells you the parts in a kit and gives instructions to convert a fuel-dependent vehicle—from a pick-up truck to a boat—into an EV.
Unfortunately, the electric-conversion enthusiasts are banging up against the same technological ceiling that the big boys have yet to shatter: limited range. One vehicle mentioned in a recent CNN report, a 1995 Chevy S-10 pickup, runs on 20 six-volt, lead-acid batteries and got only 40 miles between charges. Bob Batson, the founder of Electric Vehicles of America, notes, however, that the average driver only logs 20 miles per day, so such an EV could work for some people.
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