On the 20th April 2010, Cork registered its first Tesla Roadster – some say the electric sports car of the future. Costing a tidy €100,000, it’s the first wave of electric cars in the pipeline from American car producer Tesla. But for anyone who thinks electric cars are modest in terms of speed, think again as this particular Roadster’s peak power is 215kW (288bhp) and top speed is 125 mph which is electronically limited.
While not exactly a household name – yet – Tesla is an American company which builds electric cars. It employs over two hundred people and has sold over one thousand Roadsters world wide. The Roadster is Tesla’s first production car which boasts a range of 244 miles on a single charge and a supercar level, 3.7 second 0-60 mph acceleration time. There is no clutch pedal to contend with. Its peak torque (400N) begins at 0 rpm and stays powerful right up to 14,000 rpm.
According to Jeff Aherne of Cartell.ie “The vehicle, registered in Cork, really is the first of its kind. This car is faster than the new Ford Focus RS 500 and even the Porsche 911 Turbo. This is one of the few cars in our fleet that is registered as having a fuel type of electric and a transmission as electronic. This is a serious car for someone with a green conscience who also demands peak performance”.
Tesla and TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announced on the 27th May that they intend to cooperate on the development of electric vehicles, parts, and production system and engineering support. In fact early reports indicate Tesla are about to produce a Model S five door with a 300 mile range and capable of 0-60 mph of less than 6 seconds.
The Tesla ethos fits in nicely with the Irish Governments aim to make ten per cent of Ireland’s vehicles electric powered by 2020. The ESB has committed to installing up to 3,500 on street charge points and 30 fast charge points around the country. Dublin will have 500; Cork will have 135 with Limerick and Galway having 45 each. Grants will be made available of up to €5000 combined with a VRT exemption for up to 6000 vehicles. Car Tax is Band A or just over €100. This it is claimed will make the electric car as competitive as a diesel vehicle and indeed the Government maintains that running costs will only be twenty percent of petrol and diesel models. The ESB has committed to putting charging points in customers houses at no cost during the roll out phase.
Last year there were 81 electric vehicles registered in Ireland. These vehicles include converted Peugeot Partners, Verde Vans and electric motor cycles. This year however, the electric fleet is beginning to take the shape of the future with 60 electric vehicles registered already. These include the main stream manufacturers such as Mitsubishi with the I-MIEV (7) and the UGO Cycle (16).
Interestingly Hybrid sales are higher than the total of last year already. There were 625 petrol/electric vehicles sold for the whole of 2009, compared with 729 for 2010. This fleet is comprised of the Honda Civic, Toyota Prius and Lexus h models.