Troubled Tesla chased by a Brazilian

15 December 2007

Every hyped product faces a precipitous plummet into the dread trough of disillusionment, where after the peak of inflated expectation it’s downhill all the way as the knives come out. Lucky products then make it back up the slope of enlightenment to the plateau of productivity, where something real gets done and followers of inflated fashion go off to join the next bandwagon. That's according to claptrap from software industry analyst firm Gartner, at least.

The much-anticipated Tesla Roadster, conceived by ex-software-industry geeks, recently rocketed down into the trough, nudged over the edge when Martin Eberhard was unceremoniously booted out of the company he founded, following unwelcome delays and strategy shifts.

Never mind that the problems seem to be just the sort of teething issues all sane people would expect, the Tesla is currently filed alongside pyramid schemes in some critics’ eyes until such time as ordinary (well, rich ordinary) customers start collecting their keys. The silicon-valley software-jockeys behind Tesla should "fold-up their slide rules, tuck that pen caddy firmly into their shirt pockets, shove their no-limit American Express card into their wallets and get back into a business which they actually understand", according to one foamed-flecked armchair critic.

Obvio 828ENo doubt the Tesla will arrive in its own good time. Meanwhile we would like to know if and when the Brazilian Obvio 828E might be made available in the UK. About the size of a squashed Smart ForTwo, the Obvio promises Tesla-chasing performance for half the price.

Due to ship in the first quarter of 2009 (although if the Tesla is anything to go by, it’ll turn up a bit later), the Obvio is slated to deliver a 200 – 240 mile range on a five-hour charge, 120mph top speed and a very brisk 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds. It features roll-forward scissor doors like a Koenigsegg CC. And it boasts three-abreast seating, just like the, er, Kewet Buddy.

Batteries are listed as lead-cobalt cells from Apollo Energy Systems.

Despite the less-than-cutting-edge sound of lead-based lumps, the Obvio manages to tick a lot of boxes. We want one.

Now all it has to do is haul itself up the incline of expectation between now and 2009 - and survive the drop on the other side.

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