Tesla Motors Sends Two Teams to Monte Carlo Alternative Energy Rally

Course through famed French countryside this weekend coincides with Tesla’s 37,000-kilometer “Odyssey of Pioneers.” The Monte Carlo Rally is a three-day challenge to test range and performance of more than 100 alternative-fuel vehicles.

In 2009, an electric blue Roadster traveled 387 kilometers from Valence, France, through the mountains to Monaco, finishing the set course with 61 kilometers of remaining range. Although a world range record at the time, a Simon Hackett subsequently drove his Roadster 501 kilometers in Australia, setting a new record.

The driver of Tesla’s first team will be by Rudi Tuisk, Tesla’s Australia general manager and former chief European technician. Tuisk’s copilot will be retired French navigator Colette Neri, a Rallye de France star.

"It’s a great honor to be participating something that has deep historical roots yet is simultaneously pushing the rally culture into the future,” Tuisk said in Annecy, France, his starting point.

The driver of Tesla’s second team is former Formula One driver Érik Comas. He was French Formula 3 champion in 1988, and then Formula 3000 champion in 1990. Comas participated in 63 Grands Prix and scored a total of 7 championship points. He then moved to Japan, where he won titles in the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship, Asia’s premiere racing series.

More than 100 competitors have so far entered the 2010 rally, which covers highways, two-lane back roads, mountain passes and the Monaco F1 track. The challenge ends Sunday at Ever Monaco, a consumer and scientific expo focusing on renewable energy at Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum. Prospective customers may test drive Roadster at the Tesla booth throughout the conference. After the Monte Carlo Rally, Tesla will host VIPs and customers at its regional sales and service center at 4 Boulevard des Moulins, Monaco. Tesla opened the store in November in a regal ceremony hosted by H.S.H. Prince Albert II.

Odyssey of Pioneers arrives in Monaco

The rally coincides with the Monaco leg of the "Odyssey of Pioneers", a 24,000-mile tour sponsored by Tesla and TAG Heuer.

This epic journey is the first round-the-world tour by a zero-emission GT car. The special-edition, one-of-a-kind Roadster will travel to 15 major cities and more than 150 smaller towns on three continents before concluding in Paris in October.

The TAG Heuer Tesla Roadster will recharge throughout the Odyssey using existing infrastructure. Roadsters can be refueled from conventional electrical outlets, enabling owners to recharge from garages, or at hotels, charging stations, parking lots or nearly anyplace with electricity.

Tesla is world’s only automaker selling highway-capable electric vehicles –the only company whose electric cars with lithium ion batteries equally emphasize design, performance and efficiency. With a relentless focus on customer service, Tesla sells electric cars directly to clients, both online and out of showrooms and galleries in London, Munich, Monaco, California’s Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, Colorado, New York, Seattle, Chicago and South Florida.
Tesla has delivered electric cars in at least 23 countries worldwide and is already considered the must-have car among Hollywood celebrities, European royalty and trendsetters worldwide. Advertising Age magazine recently named Tesla one of America’s "hottest brands."