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Tesla Roadster: Fast, lean and green driving machine

As part of its Go Electric Roadster Tour, Tesla Motors showcased its Roadster in Sacramento for the first time last week about two years after the Palo Alto, California-company debuted the high-end electric sports car.

According to Tesla, an estimated 1,300 Roadsters are now in circulation worldwide. They’ve have been driven almost seven million electric miles, saving more than 350,000 gallons of gas and 18,000 barrels of oil.

Tesla Roadster facts and figures:

* The zero-emission Roadster, hand-built from carbon fiber, accelerates from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds.
* The Roadster is powered by a liquid-cooled battery pack, made up of 6,831 lithium ion cells (similar to those found in laptop computers);
* It delivers 295 lb-ft of torque and has an electronically governed top speed of 125 mph;
* The Roadster charges in conventional 110 and 220 volt electrical outlet in as little as four hours and has 244-mile range;
* Depending on electricity rates, the Roadster costs as little as $5 to charge, or about $0.02 per mile.
* The Roadster qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit and many individual state incentives, including a $5,000 tax credit in California.
* The retail price of the Tesla Roadster is $109,000 for the two-door convertible (248-horsepower), and $128,500 for the two-door convertible sport model (288-horsepower).

Tesla Roadster First Driving Impressions:

* It’s surprisingly fast, and it’s additionally impressive because it’s “quiet fast.”
* The Roadster attracts immediate attention. The test model I drove has a large, white Tesla decal across it the lower exterior, but passersby asked: “Is that a Lotus?” or “What kind of car is that?”
* The Roadster doesn’t not have power steering. It’s therefore a tough, tight and fun car to drive;
* The Roadster decelerates abruptly;
* The Roadster is remarkably simple to drive, and it’s refreshingly void of technological gadgetry.



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