It's been a big week for the folks over at Telsa. The first production car rolled out, there was a town hall meeting, the full production date was announced. And they've also come out with the news that the Tesla sedan, code named WhiteStar, will not only be offered as an EV but also as a range-extended EV (meaning it will involve some gas).
"In an REV, a small gas motor recharges the battery pack while the car is being driven. The battery pack on these types of cars only goes about 40 to 50 miles on a charge, but because it gets recharged while driving, the range of these cars will be longer...
The idea behind coming out with an REV is to reach prospective buyers who are worried about range, said Elon Musk, Tesla's chairman.... The all-electric version of Whitestar is expected to go for 150 to 200 miles on a charge.
If the competition is an indication, the REV version of Whitestar will go much further. GM was the first major car company to tout REVs with its Chevy Volt, due around 2010. The Volt is expected to go around 400 miles before completely conking.
Range has been one of the historical problems with electric cars. The distance an electric car can drive is controlled by the size and performance of its battery pack. The Tesla Roadster, coming out this year, can go more than 200 miles on a charge, but it costs $98,000. GM's fated EV1 only went 80 or so miles on a charge, CEO Rick Wagoner said in a recent interview.
The gas-electric version of Whitestar will cost a little less than the all-electric version, Musk added, but the difference will be fairly minimal. Building a gas-electric isn't cheap. Automakers have to insert generators. The battery pack also requires different cells." (M. Kanellos, cnet, 1 Feb. 2008)