The Tesla Roadster electric car is by far and away the most recognisable electric car in the world and indeed many people believe that the Tesla Roadster has in fact saved the electric car industry from yet another false dawn. However, the truth is that many people may not even be aware that the Tesla Roadster electric car is actually powered by electric such is the quality, the speed, durability and the popularity of this particular vehicle. So what does the Tesla Roadster electric car have to offer and what is the history of the company behind the now famous Tesla?
The history of the Tesla Motors company
The very fact that Tesla Motors, the company behind the Tesla Roadster electric car, is situated in silicon valley, perfectly illustrates how the company is still at the cutting-edge of technology. This is a company which was purely and simply designed and created to manufacture and sell electric vehicles at a time when many people believed that this particular area of the motor industry was doomed to failure. The company itself is named after electrical engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla and the technology available today is directly descended from the original 1882 design from the award-winning engineer and physicist.
Despite the fact that the Tesla Roadster is perhaps the best-known electric car in the world, many will be surprised to learn that the Tesla Motors company was not in fact created until 1 July 2003. A number of prominent entrepreneurs came together to fund the venture which at the time was particularly high risk and relatively friendless in the world of high finance. There have been a number of reviews and eventful reorganisations of the company along the way as various parties have seek to gain control and power at the top of the food chain. The company has also received significant funding from the U.S. authorities and indeed while the company is yet to make a profit, it is interesting to learn that Daimler AG acquired a 10% stake in Tesla Motors in May 2009 for an estimated $50 million - giving the company an estimated value of $500 million.
The Tesla Roadster
When you take into account the history of the Tesla Motors company you will be amazed to learn that the Tesla Roadster is actually the company's first all electric sports vehicle, which has sold in excess of 1500 in over 30 countries. While this may not sound particularly many for a new and well-known electric car let's not forget that this is actually a sports car with a base cost value of US$109,000. However, this is no ordinary sports vehicle!
Despite the fact that many electric car companies have struggled to replicate the power and the speed of diesel/petrol engine vehicles of years gone by, the Tesla Roadster electric car is able to go from 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds and has a very impressive top speed of 125 mph. The original prototype was first introduced back in 2006 and while there was applause from the motoring industry there were many in the background who believed that the vehicle would never actually make it onto the highways and byways of the world. Oh how wrong they were!
Cost per mile
While we can throw as many figures and as many statistics at you as possible, there is one basic stat which perfectly illustrates the power and efficiency of the Tesla Roadster electric car. It is estimated that powering a Tesla Roadster cost just under two cents per mile which compares with an average of around $0.25 per mile for a comparable petrol powered sports car. This perfectly illustrates the long-term efficiencies of the electric cars of today and even more so when you appreciate that the Tesla Roadster is actually a sports car, the concept of which is not always based around efficiency. When you take into account the fact that in theory non-sports car electric vehicles should be to undercut the cost per mile of the Tesla Roadster then perhaps we are at the cutting edge of a whole new era for the motor vehicle industry?
Has the Tesla Roadster broken the back of the electric car industry?
There is no doubt that the Tesla Roadster, even though it has only sold 1500 vehicles to-date, is by far and away the most recognised and many believe that the publicity which the company and the vehicle itself has attracted are behind the ever-growing push toward electric car power. If this is the case, then in the future we will look back at the Tesla Motors company with a great deal of admiration and respect. This is a company which literally came from nowhere against all the odds and managed to "crack" the electric vehicle market when such heavyweights as Ford and General Motors had come forward only to step back like wounded animals.
How many different models are there of the Tesla Roadster?
While the term Tesla Roadster has been bandied around by the popular press it is worth noting that there are a number of different vehicles that have been introduced to the electric car market by Tesla Motors. These include:
As we covered above, the Tesla Roadster is by far and away the most popular of the Tesla Motors vehicles on the market today and with a cost of over US$100,000 there is no doubt that it is one for the sporting classes. However, the technology used in the Tesla Roadster, some of which dates back to the 1800s, has given the electric vehicle market a whole new lease of life and led to the creation and the release of other vehicles.
Tesla Roadster Sport
The Tesla Roadster Sport is the pinnacle of the Tesla Motors sporting vehicles available today and is able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, which is 0.2 seconds faster than the standard Tesla Roadster. This vehicle has been put forward by many in the motoring industry as the current pinnacle of electric power and many well-known names have given the company and this particular car their very own seal of approval. Terms such as breathtaking, amazing, groundbreaking and other very emotive and descriptive terms have been mentioned and a quick peek inside a Tesla Roadster Sport will show you why.
Tesla Model S
The Tesla Motors company has been working on the Tesla Model S electric sedan for some time and it is expected to compete with the likes of the BMW 5 series and the Audi A6. Interestingly, Tesla Motors has plans to release three different varieties of the Model S which will allow extended driving from anywhere between 160 miles to 300 miles depending upon the battery pack option. While additional battery packs will obviously impact upon the weight of the vehicle, its efficiency and its overall power, it is interesting to see that the company is giving the consumer the option of lighter power packs for shorter journeys or heavier power packs for long-distance driving.
This vehicle is expected to be released to the market in 2012 with unanticipated cost price of around US$57,000. While a very different market to that of the Tesla Roadster and Tesla Roadster Sport there is no doubt that the Tesla Model S already has a great number of fans.
If there is one thing which is becoming more and more evident as the star of Tesla Motors continues to shine brightly of the electric car industry it is the fact that other companies in the sector are more than happy to discuss joint ventures to make full use of the Tesla electric vehicle technology. One company which has announced a number of very close ties with Tesla Motors is Daimler and the release of the Mercedes A Class is widely anticipated although it is unclear exactly which market will benefit from this new vehicle. Whether Daimler is looking to take a softly softly approach to the electric car vehicle market remains to be seen but the company would appear to be reticent to go full out at this moment in time.
Yet again, Tesla Motors is working with Daimler to create an electric version of the Daimler Smart, which will incorporate the latest powertrain electric technology which has been patented by Tesla Motors. There is no doubt that the battery packs and the power supply system are the most vital areas of the up-and-coming electric car vehicle market and Tesla Motors appears at this moment in time to "have the market to itself". It will be interesting to see how popular and how well received this vehicle is because as we mentioned above, Daimler would appear to be taking a gentle approach to the sector for the time being.
The Toyota RAV4 for has been one of the more popular mass produced cars in the world for many years and in 2010 the company announced a tie-up with Tesla Motors to create an electric powered version of this award-winning vehicle. Again, it is the battery system and the power supply system which will be supplied by Tesla Motors which adds another rubberstamp to the company’s record-breaking technology. The more companies which "jump into bed" with Tesla Motors the more vital the company's technology becomes and the higher the value of the overall operation.
The future of Tesla Motors
While many people have complained that Tesla Motors has benefited from hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. government grants, it is worth noting that these grants were available to other companies on a level playing field. However, it is becoming more and more evident that Tesla Motors made better use of the significant loans and grants to push itself from the ground to the top of the electric vehicle market. A number of prominent motor manufacturers around the world have expressed an interest in Tesla Motors and indeed a number have been given the opportunity to acquire stakes in the company. As we mentioned above, a recent share placing saw a 10% stake change hands for $50 million which indicates an overall value of around $500 million.
However, this $500 million valuation could literally be the tip of the iceberg as the company signs more and more joint ventures with some of the best-known worldwide car manufacturers. Each venture is yet another rubberstamp for the company's technology and places the company in an almost untouchable position whereby the best known car manufacturers need the company's technology.
Is the Tesla Roadster the best electric vehicle so far?
When you take into account all of the attributes of the Tesla Roadster, and the Tesla Roadster Sport, there is no doubt that the company behind these vehicles has made enormous progress in a very short space of time. When you also take into account that the company is to all intents and purposes a sports car vehicle manufacturer, the high-efficiency of these vehicles is even more astounding. The Tesla Roadster is by far and away the best electric car at the moment although we are seeing a number of mass-market vehicles released.
However, there is also no doubt that Tesla Motors will continue to go from strength to strength and benefit from various tie-ups and commercial arrangements with vehicle manufacturers around the world.
When you consider the cost of the Tesla Roadster and Tesla Roadster Sport is in excess of $100,000, this particular series of electric vehicles is most definitely targeted at a very specific market. However, we are also seeing the technology behind these particular vehicles transferred into more mass-market electric cars, with a number of joint ventures around the world. As a consequence, the ever popular, powerful, durable and highly efficient Tesla Roadster is likely to be upgraded and improved on a regular basis going forward. The Tesla Roadster will be forever associated with the Tesla Motors company as the pinnacle of the electric car industry today.
Who would have thought that an electric sports car would lead to major improvements in the electric car mass-market at a time when many of the major car manufacturers around the world had been left behind because of underinvestment over the years.