Earlier in the week I had the opportunity to attend SF Green, a premier event focused on increasing green initiatives for people interested in the industry. Tesla Motors was headlining the event and provided me with an “inside” look of their prized automobile. Tesla Motors is taking the electric car and putting it into a class of its own. The Tesla Roadster is a 100% electric sports car that has already started production. All their cars for this year have been claimed, and if you would like to put your name down for one of these bad boys, you need to wait in line behind the celebrities and billionaires already on the list as there are only 650 roadsters to be produced in 2008. With a sticker price north of $100k, there are still many cars to choose from but none that would truly provide you with an experience similar to Tesla.
The performance of this car is impressive, going 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds, 0 to 100 in 11 seconds, and a top speed of 125 MPH. Charging the battery to full takes about 3 hours, but will give you 220 miles of driving ability. After taking a quick glance at the car you notice the aggressive stance, the aerodynamics, and the liberal usage of carbon fiber. Carbon Fiber has become a popular material in elite sports cars from its natural properties of light weight and rigid strength. Tesla incorporates the attractive carbon fiber from the interior gearbox to the safety roll bar. The Roadster weighs about 2600lbs, with 1000lbs coming from those lithium ion batteries. The Tesla has a 2 gear clutch-less shifter where gear 1 takes the car from 0-65mph, and gear 2 is for 65+mph.
I had the opportunity to sit in this car and would like to give my take on the overall fit, finish, and comfort of the roadster. The first thing that I notice is like all sports cars, it is small and low, which makes getting into the car rather tricky. But once in, the sporty seats holds you firmly and the Momo steering wheel gives you the feeling of a F1 car. The interior really has all the practical options you need including heated seats and the choice of a navigation unit. Being 6′tall, my height was not an issue, but I could see how someone 6′4″may be at discomfort. Another issue with the seats is the lack of reclining ability - but that is how many 2 seater cars are laid out. The carbon fiber lined trunk seems like it was made for a PGA sized golf bag. All in all, this car has the feel of a high flying sports cars, posts better numbers than its competitors (Porsche 911 turbo, 0-60 in 4.2 seconds) and emits NOTHING. If I was in the market, this car would definitely be one of my top picks. We will have future coverage on this vehicle including a test drive and interview. What do you think of this car and its potential? I say this car wins the Greenited Sports Car of the Year 2008.