For the past few years, Tesla Motor has been the only high performance, high design, electric car company in the headlines. Taking all the glory and all the bashing that comes with creating a forward thinking company like Tesla. But that time seems to be coming to an end. A one time Tesla partner and now competitor, Fisker has developed their own line of cars, called Karma. Their very first extended range all electric luxury sedan is about to hit the roads, the company says in late 2009.
But Fisker is done, they have already developed a second generation car called the Karma S- for Sunset — concept that debuted at the Detroit auto show shares its gas-electric drivetrain with the Karma sedan but wraps it in an even sleeker two-door body that could see production within two years. The California startup’s range-extended electric vehicles — like the Tesla Roadster, Cadillac Converj concept and high-dollar hybrids from Mercedes and BMW — point to an emerging market of premium green cars that place as much importance on performance as they do efficiency.
Sports car fanatics that lean green have been producing excess saliva since their first glance at the Tesla Roadster. And after the long wait, their appetites will be sated this March when the fully-electric Roadster, with a range of 200 miles, finally enters production.
But wait a minute, there are some problems. For starters, the San Carlos, CA company has reported $43 million in operating losses over the last 5 years, something the $98,000 price tag of the Roadster won’t overcome. Then there’s the waiver that Tesla needed to secure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) because the two-seater doesn’t have a weight sensor to turn off the passenger-side airbag for little ones. This minor factor alone could have put the entire company out of business.
Flea’s got an itch to drive green, and thanks to the Tesla Roadster’s Customer Drive program, he got his chance to scratch. That’s right Flea, he of the pantheon of rock musicians whose star has risen to such heights that he no longer needs middle or last names (think Sting, Madonna and Bob, to name a few), got the opportunity to test drive the new prototype of the Tesla Roadster.
You may have heard his music with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, now read what Michael “Flea” Balzary had to say about his experience driving the new car from Tesla:
“I get into it and pull away from the curb…dead silence. Wow!!!! It drove like nothing I have ever been in before, made my Porsche feel like a golf cart! It took off like a rocket ship, handled so sensitively, it was just amazing and fun and thrilling. I am so happy I went with my gut and bought that car. Yeah it is a long wait, but man, the thing is awesome. […] To enjoy driving as much as is possible in that Tesla, and to pollute nothing, no emissions, into the air, is a great great feeling.”