Driving The Future in Hawaii

Businessman Henk Rogers brings Tesla Roadster to Hawaii

Published: 18-Jun-2009

I have driven the future, and it works.

In this case, the future takes the form a tiny electric sports car with phenomenal acceleration that uses a third of the energy of an equivalent sports car. If you have solar panels at your home connected to a bank of batteries, you can charge its battery overnight and have enough juice to circumnavigate Oahu at least once. You’ll have the double satisfaction of putting out zero carbon dioxide (the engine of a Ferrari F430 with a comparable performance emits a pound a mile) and of being immune to disruptions of the power grid, as a number of owners already are.

The Tesla, whose revolutionary power train is wrapped in a Lotus Elise carbon-fiber body, is the first all-electric car designed for highway speeds–and that’s an understatement. The one I drove is the fourth to arrive in Hawaii, and about the 500th built. I took it up Round Top Drive and as I popped out of corners like a champagne cork, I mentally deleted the vague associations I had with electric cars that came from the GEM, a street-legal golf-cart with a top speed of 25 mph and a range of 30 miles.


TREV two-place electric car

Student-built vehicle can do 0-60 in 10 seconds with top speed of 75 mph. Photo courtesy of University of South Australia.

The restored 70's vintage Comut-a-Car has a top speed of just over 40 mph and can make 30 miles on a charge. Screen capture from early brochure.

Hong Kong is not without EVs though. Private organizations like local utility Hong Kong Electric has its own small fleet of them.


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