Justin Garrison
October 4, 2009

Tesla Roadster

Posted on October 4, 2009  •  5 minutes  • 863 words

Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster

For my birthday this past weekend I treated myself to something I wouldn’t normally do. I went for a test ride in a super car. It is something I have always wanted to do, and now that I am 25 I feel like I should be able to go do it. Lucky for me there is a start-up super car company that happens to have 1 of 3 dealerships about 30 minutes away from my house. So I gave them a call and scheduled a ride in one of their fabulous cars.

I wanted to give a quick review of what I thought about the car. First of all the obvious, this car is gorgeous! It is based off the Lotus Elise and it shows. It is a pretty small car with 100% carbon fiber body panels. For being such a small car it looks fairly heavy sitting on the street, but when the trunk/hood were open I could see all of the unpainted carbon fiber (including the carbon fiber trunk “tub”). All of the carbon fiber really makes this car stand out from just another Solstice/Sky and into the super car category. I asked if it came unpainted but I just got a weird look and was told there probably wouldn’t be a market for that. They were probably right but I still think it would look sweet.

One of the first things I noticed when I got in the car was how hard it is to get in. The side sill was extremely high when compared to the seat, and the seat I sat in was quite uncomfortable. I asked and found out the car I was actually sitting in was only the eighth Tesla Roadster ever made. When I finally got into a production car with swede seats it felt significantly better but I still wouldn’t want to sit in the seat for more than a hundred miles or so. Of course in this car, those hundred miles would go really quick. The side support was also a bit lacking for how fast the car can corner.

Also from just sitting in the car I found a few things very strange. First was the fact that the car uses a traditional key. I know this may not sound strange but even basic cars now use a wireless key and push start buttons. Second was the RPM gauge. Sure the electric engine spins around 13,000 RPM but the current transmission is only one speed. That means the RPM gauge and speedometer mirror each other. Tesla did finally fix the problems with their two speed transmission so maybe this will make the RPM gauge a bit more useful but I still find it a bit strange. Lastly was how small the car was inside. I currently drive a Toyota MR2 so I know what small cars are like, but with a driver sitting next to me I found that I had to lean slightly to the right just to keep rubbing shoulders the whole time.

On the plus side, this car is quick! I have been in some quick cars (the fastest was probably the ’07 Corvette Z06) but now this takes the cake. It was very deceptive how fast we were even going because there is no engine noise, but I could feel my gut collapsing on my spine whenever the “gas” pedal was pushed. Not only was it fast in a straight line, everything in the car is so low that it moved around a corner just as fast as it did going straight. I think my lower intestine tied into a knot going around a freeway offramp. Another big plus was how simple the interior is. There is no glove box (more of a shelf), no center console, and only about 6 buttons and 2 knobs including the AC, heater, and radio. Most things were controlled with a touchscreen on the lower left side. I asked what you could do with the touch screen and besides the boring charge level and air pressure the valet mode was really cool. You can put in a pin number and it limits the car to a lower speed and RPM. Just something to make sure no one else is having too much fun in your car.

Overall the car looks fantastic, goes like stink, and is so unique I can almost guarantee you won’t know anyone else that has one for the next 3 years. But overall some of the car felt very “version 1.0” car quality and made me want to see how much better the second version of the car is going to be. For now the car is too expensive, starting at $110,000, and doesn’t offer enough to make it usable as a daily driver. Not that I would turn one down, but obviously I don’t have the money to buy one either.

Thanks to everyone at the dealership for taking time to show me around and let me ride in the car. I had a blast!

Let me know if you have any questions about the car in the comments.

Originally published at 1n73r.net  on October 4, 2008.

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