Behind the wheel of the electric revolution

The Tesla dashboardPetrol is passé, electric is classé. That’s my slogan after driving the car I predict will change our lives. The American engineer behind the new Tesla electric car is Elon Musk, a man they say will soon be as well known as Bill Gates and Sir Richard Branson. The Tesla looks like any other coupé. It’s wide, spacious and will seat 5 people. But any similarity with conventional cars ends there. Look under the bonnet and surprise, surprise, there is no engine! Look inside and you’ll see a touchscreen display which is the size of two ipads. This controls everything from satnav to governing how soft or hard you want the ride to be. There’s even an app that will remotely turn on the aircon and warm up the car before you drive to work. But it’s the power source that’s the clincher. The Tesla runs on rechargeable batteries, thousands of them, which are wired into the chassis. On a full charge it will run for a ground-breaking 300 miles. No other electric car can offer this sort of performance. But equally to the point, it will cost you next to nothing. About £10 for a full charge.  Being particularly fixated with petrol prices the idea of never having to fill up again is very appealing to me! Tesla have already started rolling out charging stations across the motorway network and beyond, so by the middle of next year you’ll never be far from one. In the meantime the supercharger kit that comes as an optional extra takes only 45 minutes from a home socket to make you good for another 300 miles. I had a test drive at the company’s west London showroom and I loved every moment, the amazing dashboard, the super-quiet ride, the sports car acceleration and the knowledge that I wasn’t polluting the atmosphere. With no road fund licence, no congestion charge and generous tax allowances I can see this car being the next big thing. Move over Toyota, the car in front is a Tesla.

Back in June I wrote about all the nice things people were saying about the Piccotts End roundabout. But now look at it. All those poppies, cornflowers and daisies have died and it’s a sorry mess. In my next blog I’ll be taking a look at how they maintain attractive roundabouts in other parts of the world.