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2-for-1 Spied: Tesla Roadster and Lotus Esprit

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2-for-1 Spied: Tesla Roadster and Lotus Esprit

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Lotus finally is working flat out on the replacement of the legendary Esprit, which gained world fame for its roles starring in two James Bond films. Internally known by the code name MSC, the new Esprit is now expected to debut in autumn 2008 for the 2009 model year. Improvised test mules have been around for quite some time, but now, the first complete prototype has hit the roads, which gives evidence that all crucial design features of the vehicle, such as the principal structural design and manufacturing technology, packaging and drivetrain supplier have all been irrevocably decided.

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The Tesla Roadster is pretty much a restyled Lotus Elise, but has a 248 bhp electric motor that is powered from a Li-Ion battery pack behind the passengers and drives the rear wheel. A range of 400 km / 250mls is possible. Despite the weight added by the batteries and the added length (the wheel base has been stretched behind the cabin), a sprint time from rest to 100 km/h (60 mph) of around 4 seconds has been promised. The Tesla Roadster currently undergoes extensive prove-out on Norfolk roads in order to hone the chassis and handling to Lotus usual standards. The Tesla Roadster is not the first electric Elise, though. Already back in 1998, a similar, although less sophisticated and powerful zero-emission model was conceived and produced by Zytek in the UK. First deliveries are expected to take place in summer 2007. Upon close inspection, the prototype shown in our pictures reveals certain minor updates from official vehicles shown to the public previously, such as the auxiliary lights in the front grill. Also seen here for the first time is the Tesla with a fabric soft top.

Read "SPY PHOTOS: Tesla Roadster and Lotus Esprit" @ World Car Fans

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