Gawkers crane their necks to get a view of the exotic machine as it zooms by.
Red, sleek, sexy lines.
0-60 mph in less than four seconds.
A price tag over $100,000.
And not one drop of gasoline.This isn’t one of the usual suspects of high-performance sports cars we’re talking about. It’s the Roadster – Tesla’s revolutionary electric car.
With over 1,500 cars on the road in 31 countries, including about 15 here in Arizona, California-based Tesla, a technology company, is steadily growing into a force in the high-end sports car market – just three years after the first Roadster hit the streets. With its mix of high-end performance and environmental features, the Roadster fits the needs of a variety of car owners.
“It’s one of the most eclectic owner bases that you’ll ever find,” said Tesla Sales Adviser Alex Frank.
Frank said he finds the Tesla appeals to three types of car buyers: those looking for an environmentally friendly vehicle, those who don’t want to depend on foreign oil, and those just looking for a good-looking and fast sports car. He said most Tesla buyers fit into two, if not all three, of those categories.
With that sticker price, how do you convince someone looking for a high-end sports car to purchase an electric vehicle from a smaller company, instead of Ferrari, Porsche or other more familiar brands?
“They sell themselves the car when they drive it,” Frank said. “It’s got more torque than any Ferrari out there.”
Our own Editor-in-Chief, Tishin Donkersley, can attest to the power of the Tesla, as she recently hit the streets of Scottsdale with Frank.
After going along the 101 freeway steadily for a bit, while admirers in other cars surrounded her, Donkersley kicked the Tesla into Performance mode and got a taste of exactly the kind of power a Tesla holds.
“I grabbed the wheel and hit it!” Donkersley recalls. “I was immediately flattened in my seat, and within seconds we were roaring at 80 mph in the carpool lane.”
“It was everything and more from a performance car,” Donkersley added. “The speed, torque, sound system and pure badassness were in full form.”
Those who may be worried about “range anxiety,” [the fear that your electric vehicle will run out of juice before you reach your destination] can rest easy knowing the Roadster gets up to 245 miles on a full charge. That’s far more than enough miles for the average commuter’s daily driving. Plus, Roadsters can also be plugged into any electrical outlet, which can come in handy on longer trips. You won’t need to empty your wallet, because a full charge costs about $5 versus filling up a gas tank at nearly $4 per gallon.
Besides saying goodbye to gas stations, Roadster owners also have less preventive maintenance. No need for oil changes, as Roadsters only require an annual diagnostic firmware checkup, which is included in the warranty for three years. The battery on the vehicle has an expected lifespan of seven years or 100,000 miles.
For those not looking for a sports coupe like the Roadster but are interested in Tesla’s technology and want something more affordable, the company is planning to release its premium sedan Model S in 2012. The Model S won’t be as powerful as the Roadster, but will start at $49,900 (after a $7,500 Federal Tax Credit) for the 160-mile range pack. A Model S with a 300-mile range battery pack will cost about $20,000 more.
Roadsters are available now and start at $101,500 ($121,000 for the more powerful Roadster Sport). More information is available at teslamotors.com. Alex Frank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.