Archives for August 29th, 2013
It is projects like this that make us proud to be motoring journalists. One man with an excellent idea is given the financial backing he needs to make his dream a reality. The project is undertaken by Fifth Gear’s Johnny Smith, who will attempt to convert a 1970s Enfield 8000 into a Tesla Roadster-beating EV.
The Enfield 8000, a car killed just as it was supposed to go into production in the US, is a genuinely practical EV, of which only 120 were ever built in the mid 1970s. Officially, they could travel up to 145 km (90 miles) on one charge (under the right conditions), as well as reach a top speed of up to 129 km/h (80 mph), but those numbers were never achieved, in fact, the actual figures were nowhere near the official ones.
Now, Johnny has big plans for the Enfield, as it will be powered by two electric motors with a combined torque output of 1355 Nm (999 lb-ft), in order to put it on par with modern supercars. The project is not yet completed, but we’d be lying if we said we weren’t a bit excited as to what the final result will be like.
Old presentation of the Enfield 8000 by an elderly couple
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Back in July, we told you about Frenchman Rafael de Mestre, and his Verne-inspired attempt to travel around the world in just 80 days in his all-electric Tesla Roadster.
Using some clever social media, and a few video cameras to boot, de Mestre has live blogged his trip in detail, giving us the highs and lows of a global expedition in a super-sexy sports car.
On Sunday, however, just 600 miles short of the finish line, de Mestre’s attempt to beat fellow Frenchmen Xavier Degon and Antonin Guy’s own electric car circumnavigation of the world came to an abrupt halt.
While passing through Germany, de Mestre’s all-black Tesla, nick-named KIT, rear-ended a Toyota hatchback and Mercedes SUV after failing to stop in time on a busy stretch of road.
Luckily, de Mestre escaped from his car unharmed, as did all of the other drivers involved in the accident.
At the present time, the cause of the accident has not been disclosed, but de Mestre, posting on the trip’s Facebook page on Sunday said it all.
“noooooooooooo!!!!,” he wrote. “game over! +++ I’m Fine!!!”
Initially, things looked bleak, with most of his Tesla’s front bodywork smashed and lying on the blacktop after the accident.
But early this morning, de Mestre gave at least some hope of finishing his trek: Tesla was already working on his car.
Rafael de Mestre’s Crashed Tesla Roadster (via Facebook) Enlarge Photo
Rafael de Mestre’s Crashed Tesla Roadster (via Facebook)
“Tesla is repairing KIT with 5 technicians in parallel!,” he excitedly proclaimed online.
Rather than end his trip early as first feared, it looks as if de Mestre may just beat his fellow Frenchman — driving a 2012 Citroen C-Zero (Mitsubishi i) — across the finish line.
That’s as long as Tesla can repair his car in short order, of course.
As for the accident itself?
De Mestre captured it all via an on-board camera, and posted this short, but terrifying video of the accident online, calling it “The black day of the race.”
We’re glad to hear that no-one was injured, and wish de Mestre the best of luck with the remaining 600 miles of his trip.
And of course, we’d like to remind everyone of one simple fact.
As we’re sure de Mestre was, Always. Wear. Your. Seatbelt.
2012 Tesla Model S
As the first cars are set to arrive in European dealers next year, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] has announced its new European distribution center in Tilburg, Netherlands.
The facility will serve as a final assembly point for European vehicles, as well as acting as Tesla’s distribution hub and regional service center.
The 62,000 square-foot facility will be central to Tesla’s roll-out of Model S cars through Europe. The first European Model S will enter production at Tesla’s Fremont plant in March 2013, before being shipped to Tilburg for final assembly.
As well as distribution and servicing, Tesla will use the facility for training, importing operations, parts remanufacturing, collision repair and more. Tesla expects up to 50 new jobs to be created in the next few years.
Many European Tesla dealerships have already begun taking orders for the electric sedan, while some still have stocks of the Roadster left.
Official pricing hasn’t yet been announced, though as with the U.S, European buyers can choose between standard and Signature Edition Model S.
Also in common with the U.S, many European countries offer tax incentives and rebates for the purchase of electric cars, plus exemptions from local vehicle taxes, parking charges and inner-city congestion charging.