ReGeneration Road Trip 2008: Tesla Motors

The ReGeneration is on the move! To make it easier for customers, Dell employees and stakeholders to find and participate in our conversations about the environment, we’re moving the best of our ReGeneration.org blog over here to Direct2Dell.  You’ll find the same great posts about what’s news in “green” business and technology, along with the green tips so many of you tell us you love. Join the conversation!

rosemary golden gate I’ve been racking my brain trying to find a succinct cliche that would encapsulate my experiences here in the Bay Area of California. Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to come up with one, and as catchy as it may be, the Rice-a-Roni jingle somehow does not do this beautiful area justice. From what I’ve seen here, the real San Francisco treat is it’s people and their seemingly innate knack for coming up with new ways of looking at problems and finding innovative solutions to them.

Their approach to environmental issues is no exception. Grist.org’s Sarah van Schagen and I have been from one end of this bay to the other talking to people who are well aware of the challenges we face, but maintain a characteristically optimistic view that it will only take some new approaches and hard work to get our planet back on track to a healthy future.

tesla top view Case in point: Tesla Motors. Once thought of as a quaint, if not especially fast or impressive way to get from point A to point B, electric cars were thought of as an unrealistic pipe dream. Sure, they may save you a few bucks at the pump, the old story went, but they lack the speed and power you need to navigate through today’s hectic (and at times chaotic) streets where a little extra muscle at the right time to avoid an accident may make the difference between life and death. Tesla Motors has effectively thrown those old ideas out the window. Their 2008 Roadster is sleek, fast, and for lack of a better word, HOT. Need speed? Does 0 to 60 in just 3.9 seconds work for you? Need sexy? Have a look at the pics Sarah and I took at their shop in Menlo Park. This machine just looks like it is dying to tear up a road. All this, and they help avoid all the CO2 emissions associated with an engine that runs on oil. Charging the battery is easy and only takes a few hours. Here’s a quick video of how the Roadster is charged.

I’m a *** for that futuristic flashing light that lets you know how the charge is coming along. The Roadster is also extremely quiet. When I climbed into the cockpit of one in the showroom, my inner 4 year old was tempted to start making a revving engine noise, but this would not have been an accurate representation of what this car actually sounds like. All I heard for the car was the sound of the tires rolling on the shop floor.

Want to rush out and get one? Start saving now. The Roadster starts at $109,000, but I think as more and more people take to this idea, the price will begin to drop. Already the major auto manufacturers of the world have electric cars in development. This is truly what the future will look like.

Sarah and I also got some footage of Tesla’s Client Advisor, Jeremy Cleland, going over the specs of the car, both inside and out. Check them out when you get a chance. My apologies for the poor lighting. Our tremendous thanks to Jeremy, Rachel Konrad, and the whole Tesla crew for making us feel welcome and for giving us the opportunity to experience these awesome cars first hand.

Sarah and Todd We’ve got lots more footage from the Bay Area on the way, and will continue to update you on what’s going on as we upload all the pics and videos we’ve taken. In the meantime, have you seen our Qik page yet? I’ve been loading live streaming updates onto that site throughout the day, and it’s an quick and easy way for you too see what we’re up to even as we’re experiencing it ourselves. The one you see on the right hand side of this page is only the most recent.

So stay tuned for more. Today, after we wake up and grab some breakfast, Sarah and I are getting back on the road to Las Vegas. Vegas, baby! Vegas!

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