Tesla's CEO Elon Musk is making rash promises again. He's now saying that Tesla will have its own 'affordable' SUV out in four years. This is the one that he's described as 'cooler than any SUV or minivan on the market' ... not that I ever conceived any form of minivan as remotely cool.
So, before the end of 2011 we're to see a $30,000 Tesla SUV that will later go on offer alongside its $57,000 Model S sedan and the original gorgeous but sooo expensive Roadster. Tesla will need the cashflow from sales of the Model S to fund this latest development (that I remember from years ago being talked about as the BlueStar) and Musk is predicting sales of 7,000 in its first year and 20,000 the year after.
I'd like to believe him, but in the same breath he is preaching that electric batteries will be much cheaper by 2020, that by 2030 only electric cars will be on sale in the US and by 2050 almost every vehicle on the roads and all transportation - except rockets - will be electrified. That all sounds very reassuring, but if you can't bear to wait that long and you don't have the money for the Roadster, you could always hire one.
Getaround is a startup in San Francisco that offers a 'social car-rental' service where individuals can rent cars directly from one another on a peer-to-peer basis and it's all co-ordinated, as you would expect in these times, by an iPhone app. The idea is that instead of letting your car sit idle most of the time, you rent it out for cash while you don't need it. Getaround was offering a Tesla Roadster for rental at $25 an hour at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The owner is a Getaround member who wanted to evangelise about the service and the joys of electric cars. I'll bet there was a queue for that offer!
Of course you can also rent EVs now from Hertz in New York City as they're offering the Nissan Leaf, Smart Electric Drive and now the Chevy Volt and will be rolling out this program to other locations. Mmmm, I think I know how I'd get most fun out of my $25.00 ...