I've been watching this cool car the last 6 months or so, it's called the Tesla Roadster and it’s made by a Silicon Valley Startup called Tesla Motors (http://www.teslamotors.com). All I can say is that it's the best all electric vehicle I've ever seen.
If you remember the Saturn EV1, star of the Summer Movie "Who Killed the Electric Car" (MSNBC article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13600516/ ), then you'll remember the egg shaped, lead acid powered, limited range prototype being leased to consumers during the late 90's. These cars were eventually returned and for some unknown reason destroyed by GM.
The Tesla Roadster is NOT an EV1! This car does 0-60 in 4.0 seconds. Top Speed: 130mph. Range: 250 miles. Brakes and Handles like a Lotus. Why, because it is a Lotus! A Lotus Elise to be exact, already renowned as a decent light weight sports car, the Elise is now the basis for the new Tesla Roaster Electric car.
Technologies have changes since the development of the EV1. Lithium-Ion batteries have better power storage to weight ratios. Electronic controllers and A/C Motors are better. Leveraging new CAD and design technique saves weight. Additionally, by basing the car on a proven platform, Tesla motors does not have to invest in body, frame, suspension and other components of the car. The engineers can focus on developing the electric power train components which should reduce the expense of the vehicle.
About the expense, the totally bad thing is that all this cool stuff cost money. Pricing starts at $92K to be exact. As production ramps up, expect pricing to go down somewhat - the $80K range is my expectation. The other downside is that product is still not expected until 2008.
Tesla also plans to develop a four door sedan at some point. They hope to keep the price lower than the sports car, perhaps under $60K, which may make it more desirable for people with the need for a larger vehicle.
All I can say is that I want one. Also, if they need services of a Software guy, contact me! I'd go work there in a heartbeat!