About a year ago, I had to a chance to talk with some of Tesla's PR people at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show. I asked them what they, and Tesla, thought about range-extended electric vehicles (REEV) like the Chevrolet Volt. Their response? Well...unenthusiastic. The Tesla line, at that point, was to trash anything that wasn't a full-electric. REEVs, in their opinion, were obviously not going far enough.
Well, it took about 12 months for Tesla to complete its 180-degree turn from that position and, now, they're planning on building one themselves.
Their WhiteStar, long-slated as a cheaper, more-practical follow-up to the $100,000 Roadster, will be available in both pure-EV and range-extended form. And they hope to have it on sale by 2009. The vehicle would be able to accomplish most daily trips with the batteries only, but for longer trips, there would be an onboard gasoline generator to recharge the batteries.
Tesla's been dealing with delays in the Roadster for a long time, and only this week delivered its first production version, so I'm taking the 2009 due date with a grain of salt. However, if they can hit 2010, they could beat every major auto manufacturer to the punch.
Toyota will have a plug-in Prius in 2010, but not for general sale, and the Volt REEV isn't going to be available until late 2010 at the soonest. If Tesla can beat them all to the punch, especially with a price point under $50,000 (which is, again, something I'm skeptical about), this could be a bit of a coup. Tesla is to be congratulated, for sure.
|< Prev||Next >|