First Impression: Tesla Roadster
Electric Cars are nothing new. Â They have been around since the early 1900s. Â Early gas-powered cars had a mechanical crank to start the engine. Â Many drivers broke their wrists when trying to start their engines. Â Electric cars did not need a hand crank to start. Â For this reason, electric cars were popular among women. Â Many men saw electric cars as chick cars andÂ ignoredÂ them. Â When the gas engine gained an electric starter, electric cars lost. Â Now with high gas prices and people becoming more aware of the environment, automotive companies have started developing electric cars.
In 2008, Tesla Motors came out with the Tesla Roadster. Â It is an electric car based on the Lotus Elise. Â I first saw this car at Cars in Coffee in Houston in December of 2010. Â It looks exactly like the car it is based on. Â There were Lotus Elises there and Â When it drove past me, it made no sounds. Â Since an electric car has no exhaust of combustion, it makes no sounds when moving. Â I saw it again at the January edition of Cars and Coffee. Â I met the guy who owned this car and he enjoyed driving it. Â I think the Tesla Roadster is a great start for the electric carÂ renaissance.
The Tesla Roadster is powered by 6,831 lithium ion batteries and a three-phase, four-pole electric motor that generates 248 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. Â Because it is an electric car, it reaches its maximum torque instantly. Tesla went with a one speed transmission. Â A two speed transmission was tested for the car, but it constantly broke. Â It goes from 0 to 60 mph is 3.9, which is quicker than the Elise it is based on. Â It is electronically limited to 125 mph. Â Under normal driving conditions, it can go over 240 miles on one charge. Â Using a 240V outlet, the batteries recharge in 3.5 hours. Â The cost for a Tesla Roadster starts at $109,000.
Top Gear and Motorweek reviewed the car and both reviews can be seen on Youtube. Â Jay Leno featured a Tesla Roadster on his website, www.jaylenosgarage.com. Â It was also featured in “Big Ideas for a Small Planet” as an alternative to gas powered vehicle.
Final thoughts: Â It is a great electric car. Â It gets better mileage on one charge than some carts get on one tank of gas. Â It is quick of the line and can go faster than a Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, and aÂ ChevroletÂ Volt. Â With the added weight from the battery, it lost the handling that the Lotus Elise is known for. Â But the electric car still has room to improve and will only get better as battery technology improves. Â But with a selling price over $100,000, you must have a place to plug the car in or you are wasting your money.
Photo taken from a camera phone
Originally posted on February 27, 2011 in the TGWTG blog section