Don’t have $111,000 for Silicon Valley’s most prestigious auto brand? Tesla Motors, the oft-troubled but popular maker of plug-in hot rods, emailed with news of a new lease program.
“You could take immediate delivery of a new 2010 Tesla Roadster or Roadster Sport,” it says in my inbox, “with a three year, 30,000 mile contract and with monthly payments as low as $1,658. At the end of the term, you’ll be able to purchase the groundbreaking Roadster or pay a fee and walk away.”
Don’t forget to budget for insurance, which is sure to be high on a two-seater with 248 horsepower behind the driver’s head. The Tesla Roadster rockets from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds. Insurance actuaries hate that.
Not to brag, but I took a test ride in a prototype in 2006. The car feels safe despite its speed, thanks to a linear torque curve and a high PRM limit that prevents the usual gear-shifting jerkiness of gasoline-powered high-performance cars. The Tesla accelerates smoothly all the way from standstill to well beyond legal speed limits. In first gear.
If the price is still too high for you, hang on. The company plans to sell a $50,000 BMW-esque sedan next year.