Thursday, July 31, 2008

Damon Hill and the New Tesla Sportscar

Today I caught up with Damon Hill as he was driving a black Tesla Roadster around London for the Greenfleet fuel challenge. The model is based on the Lotus Elise, and is in fact assembled by Lotus for Tesla in the UK.

Q: Good morning Damon. Can you tell us a bit about the Tesla, and what you think about it so far?

DH: Well, it's a sports car. It's designed on the model of a small sports car, so I think they're [Tesla] trying to say that, just because it's got an electric motor doesn't mean it can't be fun. I think that's very important to explain to people that this isn't some sort of puritanical kind of attempt to spoil everyone's enjoyment of the car....because those people love cars in their various forms, but we have to be able to make them accept the challenge that we need to try to make the world a better place and pollute less.

Q: Right. And how about performance?

DH: Well so far so good. I haven't really had a chance to take it out yet. I'm going to be driving around London as well, so the objective here is to see how efficient it is here, certainly on an urban cycle.

Q: Just practically, it gets 250 miles per charge, takes 3 hours to charge up, 0-60 in 4 seconds. How's that compare to, like a Porsche Carrera or something?

DH: I think you've probably got a ways to go as far as comparing performance to those sort of cars, but you could also ask, well, why do we need cars that perform like that on the road. I mean, the whole thing is an issue, and it's a question and I think by and large, it's pointless having a vehicle that can do 200 miles an hour if you're going to drive from Newham to London.

Q: So it's a nice way to..say your a business executive or a trader, you can still have a fun car but still, you know, flash around London

DH: I think it's about trying to be intelligent about it. I mean I don't think anyone wants to spoil anyone's fun, but we have to be a bit more intelligent I think about things because the message is quite clear that we can't keep on going like this.

For anyone interested, special edition models are still available for £79k