Tesla a trade of big cash for flash and going green


POSTED: Thursday, June 11, 2009

Henk Rogers, founder of the Blue Planet Foundation, has a clean, new ride.

;[Preview]  Blue Planet Foundation Introduce New Electric Car

Consumers can now feast their eyes on the Tesla Roadster, a vehicle that is 100% electric car.

Watch ]


His 100-percent electric Tesla Roadster arrived a few weeks ago. The open-top two-seater is white, with the Blue Planet Foundation emblazoned on the side, and it can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds.

“;That's part of the fun,”; said Rogers as he accelerated along Beretania Street yesterday as part of a news conference showcasing the car at the state Capitol. At top speed, the Tesla can travel 125 miles per hour.

But for Rogers, a video game entrepreneur best known for introducing Tetris to the U.S., the Tesla is more than a toy. It's a political statement, or as he likes to say, “;an environmental statement.”;

“;Electric vehicles like the Roadster bring us a step closer to our clean energy future,”; he said.

“;I don't want people to just say, 'Nice car.' I want people to understand this is the future.”;

Rogers said he's out to prove that electricity can come from renewable resources and that transportation doesn't have to rely on fossil fuels, which is part of Blue Planet's mission.

Unlike the more common mini-electric cars or hybrids, the Tesla is sporty, with a curved, carbon-fiber body designed by Lotus. Its base price tag is $109,000.

The car's battery, which can be recharged with a standard electrical outlet or quick-charged with a 220-volt plug, weighs 800 pounds, about a third of the Tesla's entire weight, Rogers said.

On a single charge, the Tesla can travel nearly 250 miles. Rogers charges the Roadster up at home.

The Tesla Roadster arrives just as Gov. Linda Lingle is expected to sign a bill paving the way for more electric cars in Hawaii.

Better Place, a company based in Palo Alto, Calif., wants to launch a mass-market electric vehicle system in Hawaii. Its goal is to set up a network of up to 100,000 charging stations, along with battery-swap stations, powered by renewable energy throughout the state.

Better Place also expects Hawaii to be home to at least 3,000 electric cars in 2010.

Senate Bill 1202 requires parking garages to set aside 1 percent of their space for electric vehicles by the end of 2011. House Bill 1483 authorizes up to $45 million in special-purpose bonds for Better Places' network.

But the reality is that only a handful of car owners in Hawaii today own a full-sized electric vehicle.

Tesla Motors has delivered at least 500 roadsters globally and is coming out with a sedan model in 2011. There are reportedly four other Tesla Roadsters in the state.

In May there were 183 taxable registered passenger electric vehicles in Hawaii, according to the state's Energy Trends data, which includes the small golf-cart-sized ones sold by Electric Vehicles of Hawaii.

As for Rogers — though there will be joy rides in the new Tesla — his regular 1.7-mile commute from home to work will continue to be in an electric-powered scooter.