Introducing the only full electric sports car you can buy today. The Tesla Roadster gets praise for being a very clever machine with great speed yet it’s very friendly to the environment. It isn’t perfect though with a high price tag and a very limited range.
It’s a strict two seat sports car, which means there isn’t much practicality. Like the Lotus Elise on which it’s heavily based you would probably have to be as slim and agile as the car is to get in and out. Compared to rivals in the same price bracket, the Tesla’s interior quality is below par with some loose trims and rough edges reported but it’s still a nice place to sit. You get heated seats as standard and options include exclusive leather, 7 inch touch screen sat nav and even carbon fibre trim.
The standard car doesn’t handle as well as the Lotus it’s based on, but for an electric car it’s remarkable. Because of the weight of the batteries weighing the back end down, reviewers thought it did understeer quite a bit.
Sport models on the other hand are reportedly much better around the corners and suit our British country roads well since it has stiffer suspension. One aspect that will split opinion is that the steering is unassisted, which will please the hardcore driving fans and put off people who think power steering should be standard on a car costing as much as this.
Nether have a petrol or diesel engine. Both versions come with an electric motor powered by 6831 lithium ion batteries, the same ones you get in a laptop.
The standard car produces 248bhp and 275lb ft of torque which takes it from 0-60mph in just 3.9 seconds. The Sport is more powerful and faster with 288bhp, 295lb ft of torque and a 0-60mph of 3.7 seconds. Reviewers love the acceleration as it feels just as quick as some petrol powered sports cars but found that the lack of noise the unit produces will take time to get used to.
Of course the faster you go, the quick the power drains and once it’s out of juice it will take up to 14 hours to charge using a 240v plug socket (that’s the plug socket every home has, by the way). Tesla claim the car can go 200 miles on a full charge but that’s only if you’re gentle.
Value for money
New technology isn’t cheap. The standard car costs around the same as a standard Audi R8 and an Aston Martin V8 Vantage. The Sport is even more expensive costing around the same as a high-spec Porsche 911. Standard equipment is good however with heated seats, cruise control.
As with every electric car, one risk is unknown depreciation. Being an early adopter could end up costing you when you come to sell it.
The big benefit with the Tesla Roadster is that you can have near supercar performance with no road tax, no congestion charges around London and expensive trips to the petrol pump. The big cost is the long wait to charge the vehicle up and the range anxiety.
So the Tesla is flawed but it’s still an excellent piece of automotive history. It’s arguably a step in the right direction for the future of cars but it’s not quite there yet. Still if you can afford it and you’re willing to put up with the flaws to help the environment then we highly recommend it.