If you have followed the automotive industry, either from the standpoint of an environmentalist or from the standpoint of a car enthusiast, you are likely aware of Tesla Motors. If you haven’t, Tesla is the California based car company currently producing an all-electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster, capable of giving virtually any gasoline powered super car a run for its money. If specifications like 0-60 in under for seconds and a maximum speed, because of a factory installed limiter, or 125 MPH don’t get you, how about zero emissions and an estimated cost to drive of $0.01 per mile with a range of around 240 miles? The Roadster is reputed to be one of the most fun cars to drive and sells for an incredibly reasonable $109,000 for all that performance.
What about its weaknesses? It is a two seater and the price. Tesla has announced a four door sedan that seats up to seven passengers that is expected to sell for around $50,000. With extended range and luxury features like a 17” LCD touch screen in the dash, it may be the car to launch Tesla from a small startup funded by the likes of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. That brings us to why we are covering the Tesla.
Reports have surfaced that the operating system behind the 17” touch screen is Android. That makes a lot of sense considering that Google’s founders are investors in Tesla. Android also makes sense because of what the LCD display will be used for. Driving directions will be available via an integrated GPS and Google Maps. The car will support full 3G connectivity. Information on local businesses, like restaurants and clubs, will be available on the monitor. It will also be Bluetooth enabled.
Does this sound like a very fast, very comfortable cell phone that can seat seven and do 0-60 in 5.6 seconds? It does to me. In all likelihood, the 3G features would be available from a variety of cellular carriers, much like an unlocked cell phone. By the time the car is in production, 3G networks will be much more widespread and robust. Android will be a much more mature and feature-rich operating system. It makes incredible sense for one of the first production zero emission family cars to use an Open Source operating system produced by one of their major investors.
Update: I just found this video preview of the Tesla Model S on Twitter.
Paying a visit to the Menlo Park Tesla dealership for a one-day-only opportunity to check out (and sit in) their new all-electric Model S sedan.