Typically, one thinks of an heirloom only after it’s weathered a few generations, gathering its own uniquely handsome patina and lived-in warmth along the way. But before all that, it started out shiny and new in some factory or on some store shelf. And since there are still a few companies out there making stuff that looks timeless and will last longer than you, we’ve set out to find the new breed of future heirlooms in this weeklong series. Yesterday we began with watches. Today we’re looking at cars...
There’s a lot of cool stuff floating around Vegas this week, but our favorite CES gadget so far doesn’t do anything but drive. It’s the Tesla Model S, a sedan version of the roadster that’s been blowing auto writers away for the past few years. This one won’t have the same kind of power (that’s what you give up for the lower price tag), but it’ll still have the space-age “instant acceleration” feel that makes the roadster such a blast to ride in. Deliveries start this year…and we’ll be holding our breath in the meantime.
The electric car has been a been more talking point than vehicle for upwards of a decade now, but it looks like it may finally make it to pavement.
The Tesla Model S does 0-60 in under six seconds, tops out electronically at 130 mph (spoilsports!), and can run through 230 miles on just $5 worth of juice. Refueling is likely to be a bit more complex than we’re used to—it’ll take 45 minutes to refuel, and finding a charge station may be a bit troublesome—but it’s a small price to pay for progress.
Of course, we’ll also have to wait until 2011 to get our hands on one…but we’ve always been the patient type.
Between the credit crunch and the wholesale collapse of Detroit, the odds on the electric car have been looking pretty slim. But it’s hard to overestimate the power of a good idea.
Colorado’s Lightning Hybrids is about to roll out the LH4, a biodiesel-powered hybrid that gets 100 miles-per-gallon. Best of all, they plan to retail the cars for $40,000 and up, which would result in a surprisingly accessible end product. It’s not quite electric, but it’ll certainly do for now.
For engineering, design, and just plain style, there’s nothing like a roadster. From *Bullitt*’s Mustang to *Vanishing Point*’s Dodge Challenger, muscle cars have always had their own special panache. Because of goings-on in the world of petroleum, they’re going through something of a sea change…but it’s no reason to get discommoded.