Palo Alto, California

This morning about 9am I picked up an email from a friend, marked URGENT. ‘There is a meeting TODAY 10-12am in Palo Alto of the East (SF) Bay Electric Auto Association featuring Tesla Motors‘. My eyes popped – my dream car! Cute, curvy, convertible, and totally electric. So after a double-quick dash around Wunderlich Park (even dream cars don’t get to interfere with my new exercise program) I hopped into the Mini Cooper and zipped down to Palo Alto to check it out.

[For a better quality version of the video click here]

The conference room was packed – about 200 people – sandals and facial hair abounded, but there were some normal people there too. By the time I got there JB Straubel, Chief Technical Officer of Tesla Motors, had finished his presentation was taking questions. A forest of hands waved in the air. Yes, the car could do 250 miles between recharges. Yes, it only takes 3.5 hours to fully recharge the batteries. And yes, yes, yes, it can do 0 to 60mph in 4 seconds.

The questions were getting increasingly geeky so an EBEAA officer stood up to rescue JB and to make the announcement seemingly everyone had been waiting for: ‘The car is here’. The hall emptied in only a few seconds more than it takes the Tesla to reach 60.

And there it was, crouched alongside the curb outside, like a sleek black panther. Electric cars used to look like this:

A quirky oddity, but hardly practical, having a range of only 20-40 miles between recharges and a trunk the size of a briefcase. The Tesla is taking the electric car in a new and exciting direction. It looks as if rumours of the death of electric vehicles (I’m off to see the movie Who Killed The Electric Car? tonight – review to follow) may have been much exaggerated.

Links to further info:
LA Weekly
LA Times
USA Today

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