Perhaps, in twenty years, when the documentary is called Who Saved the Electric Car? , the answer will be Martin Eberhard. Eberhard, creator of the late 1990s electronic book attempt, the Rocket eBook, thinks the concept is alive and well. One of the major problems with existing electric cars, in his opinion, was that nobody was making models people actually wanted to drive.
Not so with Eberhard's creation, the Tesla Roadster. Based on a design from England's Lotus car company, the Roadster can go from 0-60mph in just under 4 seconds, and can go for about 250 miles on a three and a half hour charge. Eberhard's background in electrical engineering told him to ditch the out-dated and inefficient lead-acid and nickel metal hydride for the lithium ion batteries that laptops use (the Roadster has 6,831 of these). But performance is hardly lacking: the Roadster's 13,500rpm ceiling means it can do 70mph in first gear (hence, the existence of only two gears, plus reverse).
Granted, all of this comes at a steep $80,000 pricetag, but Eberhard is developing a four door sedan possibly sometime in 2008. Could we finally see the electric car for the rest of us?