The Tesla that Started It All, the Tesla Roadster


Before Tesla became publicly sold trade stock and popular with affluent families, they started with a two-seater spots car, the Tesla Roadster.  If the Tesla Roadster looks somewhat familiar, it should. The chassis is stemmed from the Lotus Elise, which has been sold in the United States for nearly a decade.

Lotus loves to focus on lightweight cars and the Lotus Elise is no exception.  Cars built out of the factory with minimal options leave with a curb weight hovering at 2,000lbs.  Almost coupe, sedan, or convertible seen on the road today tends to be over 3,000lbs. easily.

For Lotus, lightweight cars produce faster lap times.  It’s an excellent approach.  Less weight to carry means most speed can be carried in cornering, quicker acceleration, sustained speed on straight-aways, with shorter braking distances. The alternative energy world is trying to do the same.  Quicker acceleration, faster speeds, but most importantly, extended range.

[via AutoGespot, @TheSuperCarHunt, Twitter]

Though the Tesla Roadster has a lighter chassis, the additional weight of the batteries places the total curb weight over 2,700 lbs.  As a frame of reference, three modern cars that are close in terms of weight are the Mazda Mx-5, Scion FR-S, and Subaru BRZ.  All of these cars are between 2,500-2,800lbs. of weight.  All of them are known for sporting characteristics in terms of driving feel, braking, acceleration, and cornering.

The Tesla Roadster retains some of the characteristics with manual steering.  The silence of the power generated takes away from a throaty exhaust note, but the high-pitch whine provides a sound, like muted afterburners meant for the road.

[via SuperCarsFullHD, YouTube]

Tesla has updated the Roadster, and it’s now part of their Certified, Pre-Owned program.  While a few thousand Tesla Roadsters were sold in the U.S., no one seems to be letting them go.  There are only two cars total in the Tesla CPO program altogether.

Why would anyone let them go?  It’s a two-seat, removable top, sports car with unusually quick acceleration and updated drivetrain characteristics.  Tesla was off to a good start.  Their sophomore effort, the Model S, only affirmed what great cars they can build.

Please drive safely and observe all rules of the road.