While in Santa Monica, California I got an opportunity to visit TESLA‘s high street showroom which was showcasing their new four door saloon the Model S. The car looks like any other saloon but packs only electric power with seven seats (two folding ones in the boot, Volvo style) and one of the most modern and exciting dashboards I have seen in a car for a long time.
Those of you who take an interest in cars will note that Tesla started with a Lotus Elise which they converted into a battery operated sports car, the Roadster. This car (the Model S) however is their first design of a car from the ground up and it is exciting to see what a company without a rich car building heritage makes about the process of building a modern road car. Another car, the Model X, will be available in 2014. With much of the money and direction for the company coming from ex PayPal billionaire Elon Musk it is more like a technology startup than a car manufacturer. The company has had a very fresh approach towards the design and building of the car. For one the car was designed from the ground up as an electric car and not one that will ever or ever needed to run with a petrol engine. This makes the design much more clever and coupled with the largest touch screen I have seen in a car an exciting ownership prospect.
Another car company is Fisker, started by the car designer Henrik Fisker, known for his design of cars such as BMW’s Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9. Their car, the Fisker Karma is slightly different to the TESLA, it is still designed from the ground up as an electrically driven car, but also sports a petrol engine which charges the batteries when they start to run flat. So this has the benefits of the TESLA but without the range anxiety, a great prospect but at the moment it is very expensive (over £100,00) and doesn’t carry as many people. For a car nut it probably has the edge over the Model S being incredibly powerful, great to look at while still working with our current refuelling infrastructure.
available in Piers blue…
So life in the electric world seems to be quite fascinating, even for a petrol head such as myself, it is just interesting though that the most successful looking cars are not coming from traditional car manufactures but from new start-ups. Long may it continue.