Late in the afternoon, another electric car showed up at the Noosaville EV display. It was a Tesla Roadster sports car, bright blue. It belongs to a local solar business owner and his wife. They refer to it as a “Sunday car”, not the height of practicality, but a fun car.
There are only about 30 of these in Australia, and the Roadster was the first car made by Tesla. They arrived in Australia priced in the c. $200K range. The Roadster was the first EV on sale to the public here – the Mitsubishi iMiev arrived slightly sooner, but was only available on lease or as a fleet vehicle initially. Unlike more recent EVs, with the battery located out-of-sight under the floor, this car has its battery in front of the miniscule boot and behind the passenger cabin. It is a stunning looking car, but quite tiny.
Manufactured from 2008-12, the Roadster was ground-breaking in many ways. It was the first EV with a range of more than 200 miles (320km). It was the first production EV that used a lithium-ion battery – earlier EVs such as the ill-fated GM EV1 used lead acid.
In October 2009 Australian tech entrepreneur Simon Hackett and Emilis Prelgauska took part in the Global Green Challenge. They drove Simon’s Roadster 501 km from Alice Springs to South Australia, setting a world record for the distance driven by an EV on a single charge.
There is some great footage of it here: http://blog.internode.on.net/category/events/global-green-challenge/
More details on the car’s specs here: here