Basalt brothers make eye-catching environmental statement
BASALT – Two miners from Basalt decided it was time to make a statement about the environment so they went out this month and bought an eye-catching Tesla Roadster electric vehicle.
Doug and Dan Grant, whose family has lived in Basalt for five generations, believe there is too much talk about environmentally friendly living and not enough action. They acquired the Tesla in hopes that it would inspire residents of the Roaring Fork Valley and elsewhere to check out electric vehicles that are fully road-worthy.
“My brother and I really couldn’t afford it, but it’s time we move” on environmental issues, Doug said. He wants the U.S. to take more action to ease its dependence on foreign and domestic oil and other fossil fuels.
Sending a message didn’t come cheap. The pair paid more than $110,000 for their Tesla. The “glacier-blue” sports car looks like a miniature Corvette and moves like one, too. It blazes from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds.
“It’s fast. We went up El Jebel hill and it acted like there wasn’t even a hill there,” Doug said. Tesla’s spec sheet says the Roadster has a top speed of 125 mph. This isn’t one of those electric utility vehicles that resemble a golf cart more than a passenger car.
The Teslas are still relatively rare. The Grants’ vehicle is one of a handful in Colorado and one of only two that officials with the car maker said they know of on Colorado’s Western Slope.
The car has a range of about 244 miles, although that could vary on roads with big climbs, like Interstate 70 between Glenwood Springs and Denver, Doug said. The Grants said it will be perfect for commuting from Basalt to the sand and gravel quarry they operate near Rifle.
The pure electric vehicle can be fully charged in as little as 3.5 hours, depending on the system used to provide the charge. The Grants charge it at their Basalt home, where the sun is the source of much of the electricity. They recently retrofitted their family home with a solar photovoltaic system. They estimated that fully charging the Tesla costs them about $4 – or less than two gallons of gas.
The Roadster has a hand-crafted carbon fiber body to help create a vehicle that weighs only 2,690 pounds – with about one-third of that weight coming in the large battery that powers the car. (In comparison, the latest generation of Toyota Prius has a curb weight of 3,042 pounds.)
The Grants also are excited about Tesla’s newest breakthrough, the Model S, which starts at $50,000 and is designed to be more family-friendly than the two-passenger Roadster. More information about both models is available at http://www.teslamotors.com.
In the small period of time they have had the Tesla, it has captured the attention they wanted – not out of vanity but as environmental activists. The Tesla attracted a small crowd while it sat outside a store in Glenwood Springs while the Grants ran an errand. And people who realize the Tesla is an all-electric vehicle often whip out their cell phones to take a picture, Dan said.
The Grants’ Tesla will be in the Valley Cruisers Car Show taking place in Carbondale this weekend. The 11th annual show features a car display from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Sopris Park in Carbondale.
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It’s that time of year — hikers and mountain bikers must be aware that seasonal closures are taking effect on multiple trails in the area today for the winter for the benefit of wildlife.