British Motor Show - Tesla: making electric cars sexy

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Tesla, the Californian company that sells what is in effect an electric Lotus Elise, is making its first UK show appearance at ExCel.

At least the two cars haven't had far to come - they are made at the Lotus factory in Norfolk.

In place of the usual Toyota mechanicals in the Elise, the Tesla has a 248bhp electric motor, a two-speed gearbox with no clutch, a battery box and a power electrics module.

This controls the torque to the rear wheels and the charging, including making sure that energy created when braking is used to top up the battery.

Because the Tesla is relatively light compared with many electric or hybrid cars, and uses lithium-ion batteries employing the same technology as those in your laptop or mobile phone, it has a quoted range of 220 miles - at least four times better than most electric cars.

A full recharge takes about three-and-a-half hours.

It's quick, too - 0-60mph in less than four seconds and a top speed of 125mph. There are zero emissions - it doesn't even have a tailpipe.

All of that leaves just two snags. You won't be able to get one in Europe until next year (and there's no dealer network) - and it costs £80,000.

Expensive job, going green, isn't it?

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