Can Silicon Valleybased Tesla Motors (teslamotors.com) give the electric car a much-needed jump start? Mendez, 38, who joined Tesla in 2005, says yes, citing key numbers for the company's Roadster (MSRP: $98,000), which goes into production this fall, as proof: 100 percent electric, zero to 60 in four seconds, 200-mile-plus range per charge. Think Porsche crossed with Prius. Further evidence: The technology used in the lithium-ion battery pack Mendez helped design is now being sold to other forward-thinkers, including Norwegian car company Think, which signed a $43 million deal.
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