- Hybrids, Electric & Alternate Energy Vehicles
The electric sports Car: Tesla Roadster
Officially revealed in 2006 at Santa Monica Airport in California, it has also featured at the San Francisco International Auto Show, later that year.
The design of the Teasla Roadster was similar with the one found in the Lotus Elise, and with good reason as the British car maker had supplied the chassis of it's sport car to Tesla Motors. The stilling of the finished car was a product of the joined efforts of Tesla Motors and Barney Hatt from Lotus's design studio.
The Tesla Roadster began production in 2008 and had several versions including the Roadster 2.0, 2.5 and a version with improved performances, called the Roadster Sport.
The thing that differentiated the Roadster from other sport cars was it's electric engine. The Tesla Roadster is a full electric vehicle and it was the first production car to use lithium-ion battery cells and the first production battery electric vehicle capable of traveling more that 200 mi or 320 km on a single charge.
With a base price exceeding 100 000 $ it isn't exactly cheap, but the price tag may not seem as far fetched when you take into consideration that the vehicle you get is packed with technology and has a carbon fiber body.
Tesla Roadster motor
The original version and the 2.0 model came with a 3-phase, 4-pole electric motor producing 248 hp or 185 kW and 270 N-m or 200 lb-ft of torque obtained at 0 Rpm ( yes, you've read that right ) and almost constant up to 6000 Rpm.
The Roadster 2.5 has a 3-phase, 4-pole 375 volt AC induction air-cooled electric motor with variable frequency drive that produces 288 hp ( 215 kW ) and 273 lb-ft ( 370 N-m ) of torque.
The Roadster Sport is also powered by a 3-phase, 4-pole, 375 volt AC induction air-cooled electric motor producing the same 288 hp ( 215 kW ), but the torque has been increased to 295 lb-ft or 400 N-m.
Since 2008 all Roadsters were equipped with the single-speed fixed gear gearbox, with a drive ration of 8.27:1, combined with an electrically actuated parking pawl mechanism and a mechanical lubrication pump manufactured by BorgWarner.
The dimensions of the Tesla Roadster are similar with the ones of the Lotus Elise, although the British car is a bit shorter, smaller and less wide.The Roadster has a wheelbase of 2,352 mm ( 92.6 in ), it measures 3,946 mm ( 155.4 in ) in length, while it has a Width of 1,873 mm ( 73.7 in ), and a height of 1,127 mm ( 44.4 in ).
Because of its batteries, the Roadster has a curb weight of 1,235 kg or 2,723 lb which is considerably more than the weight of it's close relative the Elise ( 860 kg ), but still quite light.
Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport ROC Edition
The Tesla Roadster is a fast car, and not only by electric car standards, it is fast by any standards.
It has a mid-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive, and at 1,235 kg it isn't exactly heavy, so the power from that electric engine is felt almost instantly and leads to impressive performances on and off the track.
The electric motors found in the first production model, the 1.5 and the second 2.0 model delivered plenty of power and torque and, combined with the light weight of the vehicles, meant the cars could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph ( 0-97 km/h ) in 3.9 seconds.
According to Tesla, both the Roadster 2.5 and the Roadster Sport can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and all Tesla Roadsters have an electronically limited top speed of 125 mph ( 201 km/h ).
The Tesla Roadster Sport has also been tested by Motor Trend who confirmed the 0-60 mph acceleration time of 3.7 seconds, but also tested other aspects of the car's performance which are shown in the table below.
The Tesla Roadster Sport - specifications
0-60 mph (0-97 km/h)
12.6 sec at 102.6 mph (~164 km/h)
Braking, 60-0 mph (97-0 km/h)
113 feet (~34 meters)
0.98 g (avg)
While to some purists, the concept of an electric sports car may be a bitter pill to swallow, you can see the logic behind all of this. Most people never use their sports cars outside the city, so a silent and fast accelerating car with a slick design and no tailpipe emissions may be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Think about it for a minute. Every company that produces sport cars, tries to produce quieter, more fuel efficient and more user friendly cars, well the Roadster has all of this. And while you can argue that a big percentage of the electricity we use comes from fossil-fuel power stations which are polluting the atmosphere, you can't argue with the fact that a Roadster passing next to you won't fill your nose with toxic fumes, like a conventional sports car will.
Also, it may be a very useful asset to the average lottery winner which is willing to pay a lot of money on a sports car but may be less willing to pay for its gas, sorry, but I had to say it.
In the end, no matter if you like it or not, the Roadster will have a new version launched in the near future, and, although its name may be changed, the concept will remain the same, meaning the electric sports car is here to stay.
Tell me what you think about the Tesla Roadster and about electric sports cars in general. You can leave a comment below this article.
Would you buy the Tesla Roadster electric sports car?
See the Motor Trend article about the Tesla Roadster Sport:
- Motor Trend article on Tesla Roadster Sport specifications.
Read about the 2010 Tesla Roadster Sport specs in this first test article brought to you by the automotive experts at Motor Trend.