The Tesla Roadster: Is it the Worlds First Serious Electric Car?


The Tesla Roadster electric car has now gone into full public production, and with a chassis based on the acclaimed Lotus Elise and performance to match, this could be the first all electric car you would actually want to own. It also seems that with perfect timing Tesla has launched its new products into a world where, with uncertain petrol supplies and global warming, the electric car has suddenly become more appealing.

There have been a number of attempts in the past to produce a viable electric car, however the technology and public demand meant that these versions were never a great success. The biggest drawback was due to poor battery technology, which meant that such cars were lacking considerably in performance to keep up with modern traffic, and had a woefully poor range to match.

Now Tesla has launched its roadster, capable of hitting sixty in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 125mph, it has certainly challenged perceived stereotypes of an electric car. Ironically much of the delays that prevented the roadster from being launched back in 2007 were not due to the batteries, but were in fact beacause the electric motor was too powerful.

Initially it was expected that a two speed transmission would be required to enable the 248bhp electric motor to meet Tesla’s performance targets, however the high levels of torque produced by the motor meant that a single speed option has now been used. In order to keep to their performance figures, Tesla have raised the maximum supplied current from the roadster’s batteries.

The electric power comes from 6831 lithium ion cells, which give a maximum range of 220 miles. The batteries can be recharged by a conventional household electricity supply and the total charge time is around 8 hours. Like all rechargeable batteries, the lithium ion cells do have a finite life of around 5 years or 100,000 miles, although by the time they need replacing battery technology should have advanced even further.

Basing the Roadster’s chassis on the tremendous Lotus Elise, meant that the Tesla has endowed the Roadster with excellent handling, and thanks to the weight saving aluminium design and instant power of the electric motor, it has the performance to match a modern supercar. Inside, the cockpit is very sparse with energy draining luxuries like electric windows or air conditioning absent, the Tesla roadster even utilises low energy car bulbs.

Sadly such cutting edge technology does not come cheap, and new Tesla roadster will cost the same as a brand new Porsche 911 turbo, however Tesla does plan to release a more affordable saloon, coupe and SUV in the future.

Certainly the Tesla Roadster leads the way in electric car technology, however with the cleaner and more economical hydrogen fuel cell engine technology advancing at a quite a pace, the Tesla may not hold the key to our motoring future.


Source by Jo Alexander