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Car wars: Tesla, Ecotricity and the battle for Britain’s electric highways

It still stands as one of television’s greatest practical jokes.

In a 1950s episode of original US prank TV show Candid Camera, a car rolls into a garage and the driver asks to have the oil changed.

When they open the bonnet, the dumbfounded staff find there is no engine – before they investigate under the car, probe in the boot and even poke about in the back seats.

In an echo of that perfect prank, the new Tesla Model S sits in a showroom in the Westfield shopping centre in west London with its bonnet wide open for all to see. It is immaculately empty and instead serves as a boot. Open the (other) boot and you’ll find space for two extra seats.

It’s what you get when your car runs on a battery hidden within the chassis. While giving a tour of the vehicle, Tesla’s UK director Georg Ell told Metro: ‘We don’t consider ourselves to be an automotive company. We’re a tech company that builds cars.’

Indeed, one reviewer described his experience inside the Model S as a bit like ‘driving a smartphone’.


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