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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tesla Roadster heading for Australia

Australians have already begun placing orders for the first mass-produced electric car due to hit our shores, the Tesla Roadster.

It's due to arrive in August and the American company has revealed a number of locals have already placed orders for the Lotus Elise-based sports car.

Along with unique styling, the Roadster replaces the Lotus petrol engine with an electric motor and battery pack, enough to propel the car to more than 200km/h and travel in excess of 350 kilometres on a single charge.

Tesla has also confirmed it will set up its local base in Sydney later this year. A stand-alone store will be established, in keeping with the company's plans overseas.

Australian Rudi Tuisk will head up the local operation, having worked for the start-up car company in Europe.

"We're taking pre-orders for Australia," Tuisk said. "We're actually selling the vehicle — we're taking orders right now."

Tuisk won't reveal how many orders had been received but has confirmed extra cars will arrive with the first shipment to cater for further demand.

Tesla has confirmed that Australian certification of the Roadster is well advanced and should be signed off well ahead of launch. Right-hand drive versions of the revolutionary electric car are already on sale in Britain.

Tesla hasn't revealed any details on pricing for the Roadster in Australia. In the US, the Roadster sells for about $US100,000 ($120,350), roughly double the cost of a Lotus Elise.

In the US, the company has recently announced plans for a lease arrangement, but there has been no word from Tesla if such a system will be offered locally.

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