It may have been common knowledge to everyone else, but I didn't know Arnold Schwarzenegger, aka 'The Governator' had signed up to buy a Tesla Roadster. Apparently he only took the plunge last month, and his profile allowed him to slingshot from the back of the line (late 2008 delivery) to spot number ten in the queue, which should mean he gets a car sometime this summer. (George Clooney's numerous fans may be interested to know he's getting car number eight off the production line.)
All this is interesting, as up until now 'Arnie' has been plugging Hydrogen as the fuel of the future, and has favoured the development of a 'California Hydrogen Highway' in order to provide an infrastructure for vehicles propelled by it. (Or perhaps it's just because he'd like more than one Californian fuel station at which to fill up his other favourite 'environmentally friendly' car - a hydrogen-powered Hummer...)
But although most people we speak to think there is space for both battery electric and hydrogen fuel cells as the future means of powering cars, this story neatly illustrates how far in front the battery + electric motor combo are in this race. It will be interesting to see how the Tesla and it's sophisticated ESS (Energy Storage System) influence the current debate around the subject, when these cars start hitting the road in a couple of months.
If you're keen to see the Tesla for yourself, then according to my 'car friends' the Tesla Roadster will also be appearing at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, over the weekend of the 22nd to 24th June. Held at the Goodwood Estate, near Chichester in West Sussex, the festival is well worth attending if you've even the remotest interest in cars, and it'll be intriguing to contrast the mega-power machinery firing up the hill course in a cacophony of noise against the Tesla, which although quite capable of keeping pace with Porsches and Ferraris, will be burning up the circuit in near silence.
Posted by Joseph Simpson on 5th June 2007