December 11, 2008

Signature Edition Tesla Roadster EU

Signature Edition Tesla Roadster: "Be among the first in Europe to own the breakthrough Tesla Roadster. This special allocation of 250 uniquely equipped 2009 EU-specification Tesla Roadsters will be made available exclusively for European customers at a price of €99,000. Establish your place in automotive performance history by reserving a Signature Edition Tesla Roadster today."

A smart move by the market savvy geeks at Tesla Motors, and in time for the rumored debut of the Tesla on BBC's Top Gear this Sunday (December 14). That's Top Gear as aired in the UK. No word yet on when it will air on BBC America, but here's betting the Tesla segment will be on YouTube before Monday morning, New York time.

The Tesla fans/owners that I know are bracing themselves for Jeremy Clarkson's reaction to the Tesla, given a. Clarkson's attitude to all things green, b. Clarkson's preference for entertainment over facts, c. Clarkson's feelings towards America. The posse agree that Clarkson is a great entertainer and we're all fans of Top Gear. But...

For example, last season Clarkson trashed the Ford F150, a vehicle of which I am a past owner and long time fan. Jeremy accurately captured the main reason why pickups don't sell well in the UK (people steal whatever is in the pickup bed--something my brother pointed out years ago, and a leading reason why vans are the contractor's vehicle of choice in the UK). But Jeremy totally failed to understand why Americans buy F150s.

Having driven up and down America in an F150 numerous times, often towing a trailer, I can assure you there is not a more comfortable, reliable, and capable vehicle in which to do that. Just ask my Mum. She's been driving for 45 years and thoroughly enjoyed our two day trip from Florida to upstate New York in my 2003 F150. We got 15 mpg towing a hefty trailer. I got 20 mpg on the return trip, sans trailer but averaging over 70mph (*optional rigid truck bed tonneau needed for that kind of mileage).

The ride was smooth, the cabin spacious and comfortable. And this was a standard cab, long bed XL, with the 4.7 Triton V8, not some fancy edition (although I did add side rails for easier access). I had to sell that F150 because it was not four wheel drive and we have moved from Florida to a cottage on a hill at the end of a gravel road that rises 300 feet in less than a third of a mile (on which snow is gently falling even as I blog this).

So, to recap, IMHO: The F150s rock, Top Gear rocks, the Tesla rocks, and Clarkson rocks as an entertainer. Just keep that in mind Tesla fans, should Jeremy miss the point about the masterpiece of automotive engineering that is the Tesla Roadster.

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