Category Archives: Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster to be Discontinued

Tesla is  drawing sales of the Tesla Roadster to a close in 2012, primarily to focus on their more subdued and affordable Model S.  As of September 30, 2011, Tesla had sold more than 2,000 Roadsters worldwide and the car maker announced it intends to sell a total of 2,500 units before it discontinues the model in early 2012.  The latest model punched out 295 lbs-ft of torque and 288 horsepower.  The instant torque, electric motor pushes the Roadster to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.  The EPA reports 245 miles per charge, giving it the longest range of a production electric vehicle ever.  The world distance record of 311 miles was set by a Roadster on October 27, 2009, during the Global Green Challenge in outback Australia, in which it averaged a speed of 25 mph.  At $109,000, the vehicle is really a steal for performance, groundbreaking technology, and rarity.

Elon Musk’s goal from day one has been to provide a “Model T” electric vehicle, an affordable $30,000 electric car with optimal range and performance.  However, as an upstart company without the economy of scale that Ford or GM are endowed with, Tesla produced a premium performance electric vehicle.  Now that the company is one step closer with the Model S, they are stepping away from the successful sports car model.  So is it a wise move? Maybe a couple years ago,  but now that the major manufacturers are entering the electric vehicle segment (Mitsubishi iMiev, Nissan Leaf) and offering plug in hybrids (Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-in).  Can Tesla successfully sell a sedan while the majors are doing the same with their insurmountable resources and capital?  It is going to be tough without the unique electric vehicle fanfare that the Tesla Roadster once had.

Here is a warm and fuzzy Tesla Roadster video to send it off:

Thrill from Tesla Motors on Vimeo.

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport

This is a pretty cool video on the Tesla Roadster Sport.

First, there is a pretty informative overview of the interior. The Roadster now has a working glove compartment, alright! The transmission selector is now four buttons on the center console instead of a traditional lever. You can select from drive, neutral, reverse, and park. The console also features a port for your ipod or iphone, which from experience, really comes in handy nowadays. Accents on the car are all true carbon fiber, which is rare, because of how commonly it is faked.
Tesla Roadster Sport

The host also gives the battery of the Tesla Roadster Sport a once over. Giving the predictable, “There’s not much to look at here” quip. The Tesla Sport only has a single speed, so there is no complicated transmission bungling up the power to the wheels. He notes the car has 288 hp as apposed to the 248 of its predecessor; which gives it a 3.7 0-60 acceleration, .2 second quicker.

The best part of this video in my opinion is the host’s explanation of the Roadster’s regenerative brakes. When you hit the brakes, you are still using friction braking. The regenerative braking is when you lift off the gas, and you are slowed down by the regen brakes to give a “synthetic compression braking”. So it gives you that pulled forward feeling like you get when you lift off the gas in too low a gear in a regular vehicle.

Inside the Tesla Roadster Sport

Tesla Roadster Sport
Tesla recently announced its Roadster Sport edition. To be succinct, the Sport powers from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds (.2 seconds faster than the base model), has a sweet HEMI muscle car like orange and black paint job, Yokohama performance tires, custom suspension, and blacked out rims.

So how do you get more juice out of an electric motor? You can’t add performance headers and intakes or any fun widgets like turbo and superchargers. So Tesla hand wound the wires that wrap around the stator to create more power. The stator is the stationary part of an electric generator or electric motor. The non-stationary part on an electric motor is the rotor. Here is a picture of a traditional rotor (left) and stator (right):
Stator and Rotor


The stator is an electromagnet (see left), meaning when an electric current passes through it, the rotor is magnetically attracted to spin in a certain direction.  So if you hand spin the wires into the stator, you can pack more wires in, allowing more electrical current to pulse through each segment.  The more powerful current sequentially magnetizes each segment  and spins the attracted rotor faster.  Also, I’m not an electrical engineer so you can correct me in the comments section.

The Tesla Roadster is powered by a 3-phase, 4-pole electric motor, producing a maximum net power of 248 hp (185kW). The Sport Model, with its higher density, hand wound stator produces a maximum of 288 hp (215 kW). Both motors are designed for rotational speeds of up to 14,000rpm, and the regular motor delivers an efficiency of typically 90%, or 80% at peak power.  Couple this with Tesla’s new Powertrain 1.5, and you have one of the meanest electric machines ever produced.

Tesla Roadster Sport

Sources: Wikepedia: Stator, Tesla Motors, Jalopnik

Press Release:

Tesla Motors introduces Roadster Sport

SAN CARLOS, Calif.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Tesla Motors Inc. began taking orders today for the Roadster Sport, a high-performance sports car based on the world’s leading all-electric, zero-emission vehicle.

The Roadster Sport does 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, compared with 3.9 seconds for the standard Roadster. It comes with a hand-wound stator and increased winding density for lower resistance and higher peak torque. In addition to Yokohama’s Ultra High Performance tires, the Roadster Sport has improved suspension with adjustable dampers and anti-roll bars that will be tuned to the driver’s preference.

The Roadster Sport starts at $128,500 in the United States and €112,000 (excluding VAT) in Europe. Deliveries begin in late June.

“This car can beat nearly anything in its price class – yet it is twice as efficient as compact hybrid sedans,” said Michael van der Sande, Tesla’s senior vice president of global sales, service and marketing. “If you refuse to compromise on performance or the environment, the Roadster Sport is your only option.”

The Roadster Sport is the first derivative of Tesla’s proprietary, patented powertrain. San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla plans to begin producing the all-electric, zero-emssion Model S five-passenger sedan in 2011.

Tesla has delivered more than 150 Roadsters to customers, and about 1,100 people are on the waiting list. Customers who haven’t taken delivery may upgrade to the Roadster Sport.

“The Roadster Sport embodies Tesla’s spirit of continuous improvement,” said CEO, Chairman and Product Architect Elon Musk. “The Roadster has been a great success, but no one at this company remains satisfied with the status quo. Incredibly In-Depth Tesla Roadster Video Review

After the unfortunate Top Gear review of the Tesla Roadster, I thought I would provide a more in-depth and encouraging review hosted by Emile Bouret of  This three part review is very informative and really covers all the bases, as Emile describes the Tesla Roadster’s design, experience, and performance. You can watch the videos in high quality at, but it was a bit hard to navigate, some of the links sent me to a Maxima review instead of the next part. So I embedded them below.

2009 Tesla Roadster Part 1: Design

This goes over the exterior of the Tesla Roadster. While the car is based on a lengthened Lotus chassis, the two cars only share the same windshield.  The car’s large front intake provides an aggressive look, and more than enough air for the cooling system.

2009 Tesla Roadster Part 2: Interior & User Experience

Don’t let the title fool you, this is actually really interesting. Emile sits inside the Tesla Roadster and starts the car, which is a very unique, Playstation like experience. He also notes that if a law is passed to make electric cars louder, it should amplify the jet turbine sound of the regenerative braking. I don’t really understand how a car can be too quiet and thus a safety concern, especially when most modern family sedans are nearly silent from over 10 feet away.

2009 Tesla Roadster Part 3: Performance

What can be said that hasn’t been said already. 0-60 in 3.9 seconds, instant full torque, and zero emissions.


Top Gear Reviews Tesla Roadster and Honda FCX Clarity Hydrogen

I was browsing AutoBlogGreen today and I found out that Top Gear had done a piece on the Tesla Roadster. This was something I had been waiting for for a very long time, because I love the British show and couldn’t wait for their take on the famous electric supercar. Performance wise, the car, fitted with Tesla’s Powertrain 1.5, definitely impressed Jeremy Clarkson, likening the car to broadband motoring in a world of dial-up. However, that was before the car’s battery died after 50 miles of driving. Then they were not impressed by the 16 odd hours it would take them to charge it back up. So they got another Tesla Roadster, which Jeremy managed to overheat (overheated motor, he said, which is odd because the electric motor is just air-cooled for its nominal cooling requirement). To add insult to injury, somehow, the brakes broke on the first one while it was sitting in the garage. So this led the show’s hosts to deem the car impractical for today’s world of driving. Here is the Top Gear: Tesla Roadster Youtube video, which will probably go down soon:

[EDIT: If you want to see Tesla’s side of the story, scroll down to the first comment of this article, by Rachel Konrad, Senior Communications Manager of Tesla Motors. Top Gear’s piece ended up being somewhat of a PR disaster regarding Tesla’s reliability, and hearing another side to the story is helpful.  I won’t make a judgment on what happened because I wasn’t there and I can only write about what was in the video.]

The other host on the show, James May, sparked my curiosity at the end, talking about finding an alternative to the battery electric car and future of motoring. So I found the James’ segment on the Honda FCX Clarity Hydrogen electric car. I have never been a fan of hydrogen cars, because they are about as technologically advanced as spaceships and don’t seem like they will be practical economically. Some say the car, right now, would be priced at $10,000,000. Plus, hydrogen is something Shell can sell you, so of course they will push this on us. But I was impressed by the FCX Clarity Hydrogen, which is really basically just an electric car with a hydrogen powered generator that will extend the range to around 300 miles. So it utilizes the superior efficiency of an electric motor while eliminating the bulk and range limits of batteries.  Also according to the video, hydrogen is about at cheap as gas and the car’s only byproduct is water. Don’t be fooled though, the hydrogen car is very far down the road. Here is the Top Gear: Honda FCX Clarity Hydrogen segment:

Sources: YouTube, Autobloggreen

Tango vs. Tesla Roadster Drag Race

I’m not an expert on drag racing jargon (“beat the dial handicap so he lost the competition”??) so here is the commentary from video submitter, jorgbrown:

On Nov 30th, the fastest production electric vehicles in the U.S. went head-to-head. While their first meeting had a number of issues, most notably the underfilled Tango battery pack, and the Tesla’s non-upgraded drivetrain, the 1/4 mile time is quite close and indicative of races to come.

In this race, the Tango got 92.15mph in 14.480 seconds, beating its 14.7 “dial” handicap and thus losing the competition; the Tesla got 101.23mph in 14.666 seconds, slower than its 14.5 “dial” handicap and allowing it to proceed to the next round. (Two rounds later, the Tango’s driver got behind the wheel of the Tesla and also beat its “dial” handicap… and thus lost!)