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Mike Stevens | Mar 17, 2011

Electric carmaker Tesla is striking out for warmer climes this week as it drives from Melbourne's Sofitel Hotel to the 'sunshine state', Queensland.

Seen off by officials from the Victorian Government and the state's Department of Transportation as part of its Electric Vehicle Trial, the 2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5 will take part in test drive events and public displays along the way.

“The Victorian government’s Electric Vehicle Trial aims to improve awareness, understanding and acceptance of electric vehicles,” Department of Transportation Project Manager, Kristian Handberg said.

“The trial is bringing vehicles, drivers, charging points, energy suppliers and other market participants together to build the foundations of Victoria's electric vehicle market and make Victoria an EV-friendly place.”

While the attractive Roadster already proves that electric vehicles need not be awkwardly styled, the 3000km tour will also help Tesla and the Electric Vehicle Trial prove that owning an EV does not mean compromising on performance or driving range.

“This road trip is a milestone. It’s the first time an electric vehicle has traveled a significant distance in Australia, charging along the way,” Jay McCormack, Australian National Sales Manager for Tesla said.

“Many Australians will be seeing an EV for the first time, and we want them to see with their own eyes that electric cars can perform just as well as conventional cars without the emissions.”

The record for the furthest drive by a production electric vehicle on a single charge is also held by the Roadster, thanks to a long haul pulled by early owner Simon Hackett, who drove 501km in Australia with his own Tesla Roadster in 2009.

This weekend, the Roadster will stop in Canberra, where it will be on display to the public. The Roadster's "Oz Goes Electric" progress can be followed here: TeslaMotors.com/Australia.

The Tesla Roadster is available to buy in Australia right now, priced at $206,188 (plus on-road costs).

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