The car's materials costs had previously exceeded its list price by tens of thousands of dollarsEnlarge Photo
One of the biggest criticisms of electric vehicles is the limited driving range they offer when compared with conventional diesel and petrol powered cars. However, the belief that driving an electric vehicle will leave you stranded after a couple dozen miles is starting to lose credibility, fast.
Take the all-electric Tesla Roadster for example. The car managed to travel 241 miles on a single charge during an 'Alternative Energies' rally in Monte Carlo, giving it the honor of being the only electric vehicle to finish the event without having to top up its batteries.
The Rallye Monte Carlo d'Energies Alternatives, an annual event that sees a slew of around 80 vehicles using LPG, E85, hybrid and electric power take each other on, was the setting for the impressive run. A number of other electric vehicles also took place, including some Mitsubishi i-MiEVs
and a Ruf-modified Porsche 911 EV
, but in the end the Tesla managed to stick out the entire race without having to stop.
The race began on Saturday morning, a little after 7AM, at which point the Tesla's battery gauge was showing it had enough juice to go 246 miles - barely enough to complete the race. The race rules require drivers to maintain an average speed of between 28 and 31mph across the entire stage - which means the drivers had to avoid heavy acceleration and keep a steady speed. Winning the race for Tesla was paramount, so much so that the Tesla crew even skipped having a lunch stop and reportedly conducted toilet breaks with Formula 1 efficiency.
In the end, the car managed to make it to the finish line with juice to spare - around 38 miles worth in fact. This means that the Tesla had a theoretical range of around 280 miles - far greater than the company's own estimates of 220 miles. While the event was more of a hypermiling marathon than a race, Tesla claims that driven hard, the Roadster would still be able to travel around 120 miles before its battery was totally discharged.