Tesla's stunning new car – the Model S – looks like it might be the most appealing electric car yet. It's got the looks and performance of a sports car, but has seating for seven, produces zero emissions and doesn't use any petrol-based fuel.
The Model S runs on electric power delivered from a liquid-cooled, floor-mounted battery pack. Three battery options will offer the choice of 160, 230 or 300 miles per charge.
The car can be recharged from any 120V, 240V or 480V outlet, with full charging from the 480V power supply taking just 45 minutes.
Tesla says that the battery pack is easy to remove, making battery pack swap stations a viable prospect.
The firm's figures suggest that the cost of a full charge for the mid-spec 240V battery will cost around $5 in the US – the equivalent of just £2.74.
Power is channelled through a single-speed gearbox and Tesla claims a 0-60mph time of under 6.0 seconds, with Sport versions hitting 60mph in under 5.0 seconds. The top speed is limited to 130mph.
Despite its sleek looks, the Model S has a roomy cabin, with five full-sized seats and a rear pair for kids that fold up out of the floor. A hatchback tailgate boosts versatility and the absence of a conventional engine means that there's extra storage space under the bonnet.
Tesla is aiming for a starting price of $57,400 (£39,364) for the basic model. Production is scheduled to start in late 2011. The company is planning to open a showroom in London, but no details of dates have been confirmed.
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