New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

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Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

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Run a Tesla Roadster at 5c/km

2008-09-04 12:00
After being asked to leave the company he helped s

After being asked to leave the company he helped start last year, you’d expect Martin Eberhard to have nothing but bile for the Tesla Roadster. He loves his though, and has kept tabs on real-world running costs for public benefit too. Top man.

We all know the Tesla Roadster is plenty fast. Its Lotus Elise-derived chassis is peerless too and styling is cute yet purposeful. What does it cost to run, though?

Up to now, there have only been educated guesses regarding its running costs. The entire point of the revolutionary, electric performance car is to blend the hedonistic demand for performance motoring with the environmental responsibility of zero vehicle emissions and oil independence.

Performance at a penny

The Tesla Roadster has threaded a difficult road on its way to market. There have been production delays, transmission problems and one of the founders - Martin Eberhard – was asked to "leave" the company at the end of last year.

An unexpected spin-off from Eberhard’s unfortunate departure was the start of a blog where he chronicled his daily experience with a Tesla Roaster.

Eberhard has kept taps on the running costs of his Roadster – finished in a rather distasteful gunmetal and orange hue – and the figures are ridiculous.

Rounding off the numbers, it has cost Eberhard 17c a km to run his Roadster, charging at Californian electricity rates, which are a touch above R1 a kWh.

Local guesstimate

With South African electricity prices considerably cheaper than Californian rates (even with Eskom’s rampant increases) we estimate you could run a Tesla Roadster locally, charging up at home during off-peak hours, at between 4 and 5c a km, which poses ridiculous value considering the Roadster's huge performance.

Obviously, the medium term running cost of the Tesla Roadster remains unclear as it ventures into previously unchartered territory – for instance, nobody knows what the service cost matrix for an electric vehicle in daily use should look like.

Fact remains though, you pay quite a hefty purchase price - $100 000 - for a vehicle with impeccable handling, guilt-free performance dynamics and running costs per km about ten times less than an average turbodiesel sedan.

All this and 0-100 km/h performance in the low 4 second bracket.

And yes, youmay now let out a four-letter expletive while hunched over your keyboard…


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