Road Runner By Lauren Steventon

Lauren Steventon reports on the launch of the right-hand drive version of the world’s first electric sports car – the Tesla….

Road Runner - Tesla

The thing about electric cars is that they may very well be better for the environment, but they don’t look very pretty – until now! Tesla has done for electric cars what brands like Edun and Melissa shoes have done for eco-fashion – made them pretty.

Tesla was set up by Elon Musk, a man on a mission to save humanity. As well as electric cars, he owns SpaceX, who manufacture space rockets with an emphasis on low cost and high reliability. Musk believes that space exploration is key to the future of the human race, and he’s looking for a way to help us get there. Should that fail, Tesla and Solar City (turning solar power into electricity), where Musk is Chairman of the board, are ways to attempt to combat global warming.

Musk’s aim was to produce electric cars that looked like the most stylish sports cars, and were therefore more desirable to today’s style-conscious driver. He came up with the Roadster.

It’s faster than a Porsche and looks a bit like a Lotus Elise – but with one crucial difference. It runs entirely on electricity. It is twice as energy efficient as leading hybrids, and faster than even regular cars in its price class. Another benefit over your regular sports car is that the Roadster has no spark plugs, pistons, hoses, belts or clutches to replace, and needs no oil changes.

Any potential UK buyers will be pleased to know that Tesla has started production of a right-hand drive version. “The right-hand-drive model is our response to growing demand from high-performance car buyers in the UK who are also interested in their impact on the environment,” said Cristiano Carlutti, Tesla’s Vice President for European Sales and Operations. “Tesla is dramatically expanding its retail footprint in Europe, and we look forward to building our community of owners and fans throughout the continent.”

Tesla claim that the Roadster runs for 200 miles before it needs recharging, but some drivers have found that this isn’t quite the case, depending on conditions. So you might want to check out charging points before you embark on any lengthy drives, which of course is always the Catch 22 of electric cars – there are few cars, and so few charging points, and of course, most people’s electricity is usually produced by power stations, so it’s not going to entirely erase your carbon footprint. However, electric cars are a much more efficient way of using “fuel”, cheaper to “refuel” (about 1.5p per mile), and better for poor old Earth.