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0-60 in 4 seconds, 250 mile range

CNET is reporting that the initial batch of 100 Tesla Roadsters has been sold out. According to Tesla CEO Martin Eberhard, 100 people each dropped down a $100,000 USD deposit. Some of the lucky future owners include Google co-founder Larry Page and eBay co-founder Jeff Skoll.

The Tesla Roadster is 100% electric, has a top speed of just over 130 MPH and can zip to 60 MPH in just 4 seconds. The 2,500 pound roadster can go 250 miles on a charge and costs about 1c per mile to operate based on current energy costs. The Tesla Roadster is powered by a 3-phase, 4-pole AC induction motor that routes power through a 2-speed semi-automatic transmission.

The roadster makes use of a proprietary lithium-ion battery back (6,381 cells) that has an estimated serviceable life of 100,000 miles. Once the 100,000 mark is reached, performance will gradually fall over time. And when you've reached your 250 mile operational range, you can pull into your garage and plug it in to the Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE), the Tesla Roadster's home-based charging system. The charger will top the battery pack off in just 3.5 hours.

And don't think that the Tesla Roadster is some barebones machine either. It comes standard with dual airbags, ABS, traction control, cruise control, A/C, heated seats, iPod connectivity, power windows, a partial leather interior and LED taillights. Factory options include GPS navigation, satellite radio, a body-colored hardtop and a full leather interior.

If the Tesla Roadster looks somewhat familiar to you, it's because the design and structure is loosely based on the featherweight Lotus Elise that has been wowing the automotive press and owners alike around the globe for the past ten years. It also is built on the same assembly line as the Elise. For a closer look at the Tesla Roadster, you can take a look at Wired’s test drive. You can catch a CNET video of the car in action here.

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What if there's an accident
By JAGedlion on 8/16/2006 4:27:58 PM , Rating: 2
I seem to remember reading recently abotu the fires on airplaens due to lithium batteries because not only could a ruptured/overcharged/just faulty cell explode with flames, but water doesn't put it out. I guess it poses less of a threat that hydrogen but is this more dangerous than gasoline?

RE: What if there's an accident
By stromgald on 8/16/2006 6:36:24 PM , Rating: 1
Water doesn't put out a Li-Ion fire. Lithium burns on contact with oxygen and it burns HOT (like the magnesium burning that they show in chemistry classes).

Hydrogen tends to explode though, so its actually a quicker death. Either way, I trust Li-Ion more than hydrogen because only the Li molecules making contact with air would catch fire, and since an actual Li-Ion battery is composed of many cells with their own containment, it shouln't be too bad.

Gasoline is somewhat safer since it requires both oxygen and a spark. Hydrogen just needs a spark and Li-ion just needs oxygen.

RE: What if there's an accident
By masher2 on 8/16/2006 7:16:48 PM , Rating: 1
> "Lithium burns on contact with oxygen and it burns HOT "

Lithium ion batteries contain lithium salts, not metallic lithium. Some can form if the battery is overcharged or charged too quickly, but otherwise its not a problem. Lithium-ion batteries can explode if overheated, not from coming into contact with oxygen from the atmosphere.

> " Hydrogen just needs a spark..."

Hydrogen needs oxygen as well to combust. A certain percentage, in fact-- a mix of less than 4% or more than 75% hydrogen will not burn.

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