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On a recent visit to the United States, which included a spectacular drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles via Highway 101, the first landmark I saw in LA was the Tesla Motors showroom on the corner of Santa Monica and Sepulveda boulevards.

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It’s a super busy and often-grid locked location, which incidentally, was on President Obama’s drive route through the city of angels last year, and it doesn’t get any better if its exposure you’re after.

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The Tesla dealership is not like any car showroom I’ve ever seen. It’s more like a Niketown store or ultra chic Ad Agency.

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But then Tesla is unlike any other car company in the world. They make very fast electric cars that actually work, and the Tesla Roadster Sport is their latest creation.

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Not that the standard Tesla Roadster was slow in any way, if you count 3.9 seconds from 0-100km/h as fast, which I surely do.

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Try 3.7 seconds for the Roadster Sport and you won’t use a millilitre of fuel. Remarkable, I know. And that’s with a range of 378 kilometres.

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Torque is the key to the increased performance off the line with the Sport, and plenty of it, across a torque band that sounds like science fiction even in today’s fast moving times.

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Punch the throttle, and all 400 Newton-metres of torque come on song, and stays on song all the way to a staggering 7100 rpm from a single electric motor.

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By comparison, the standard Tesla Roadster develops 380 Newton-metres up to 5500 rpm, more than enough for most occasions, I suspect.

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Even more remarkable is that the Tesla’s supercar performance is achieved with a single-speed (single ratio) transaxle with a rather dull ratio of 8.27:1.

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What that means is that initial acceleration isn’t explosive, but it’s reliable and robust. But the moment the speedometer nudges 16-20km/h mark, the electric motor winds up and the Tesla morphs into a ground-hugging missile.

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With a 240-volt power system as we have in Australia, a full charge of the lithium-Ion battery stack will take just 3.5 hours, at which time a green light flashes to let you know you’re full.

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Suspension is via nitro-charged shocks on all corners, which are manually adjustable across ten settings and the brakes are regenerative, but just for good measure, AP Racing/Brembo calipers make certain of the car’s stopping power.

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Steering is still unassisted as per all other Tesla models although lighter forged wheels make things fractionally easier when parallel parking.

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Tesla is one of those trailblazing car companies that you want to see succeed, it’s also a company that seems to put its money, where its mouth is.

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We look forward to the four-door Tesla Model S in 2011 with its 7-seat capacity, 482km range, and 45 minute QuickCharge.

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And the performance of this plug in electric family car you ask how’s 0-100km/h in 5.8 seconds sound?

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Lotus builds the Tesla in the UK, so right-hand-drive cars should not be a problem.

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Price of Tesla Roadster Sport: converting US prices to Australian dollars is between $118,000 and $139,000.

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