TTAC - Tesla Electric Roadster

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    By Robert Farago
    March 26, 2007

    Tesla Motors claims it's taken 350 deposits for their Lotus Elise-based, lithium ion-propelled, $92k Roadster. Despite this success, Tesla's hyper-exotic may be nothing more than hype-fuelled vaporware. The company refuses to allow any independent product evaluation. Even before they've delivered a single Roadster, they're promising two additional, mass market electric vehicles– whose enabling technology is, at best, under-developed. Meanwhile, they've raised $60m in venture capital and scored $20m in state subsidies a new New Mexican factory. To find out if the Tesla Roadster is keeping it real for planet Earth, or DeLorean/Tucker redux, we sent our man Shoemaker to Tesla for a "test drive."

    Jay reports that the carbon fiber Tesla is far more attractive than the fiberglass Elise. Lotus’ engineers added two inches to the Elise’s wheelbase to holster Tesla's LiIon batteries and attendant cooling and heating gear. Lotus' boffins also lowered the sports car’s door sills and modified all the bodywork, adding Tesla-specific design cues. The finished Roadster includes 2.5mph bumpers, HID headlights and all LED rear lights.

    Shoes says the new dimensions and finely rendered jewelry (e.g. the distinctive hood motif and the taillights standing proud from the body) transform the British sports car’s look from insectoid to exotic. There's a bit of Ferrari F355, a bit of Lotus Europa, a lot of style. It’s no wonder the Tesla Roadster has become the plug-in poster boy.

    Jay also reports that the Roadster’s interior is so Elise it hurts. Literally.


    Tesla modded the cabin to appease their upmarket customers. They’ve widened the narrow seats and fitted them with “the finest space-age foam available.” They carpeted the floor, leather-trimmed the door panels and Blaupunked the ICE. The overall effect is like adding a space heater to a drafty classroom. “If it holstered a small block Chevy, the Roadster would be the official car of ‘The 300.’”

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    Instead, the Roadster houses 6831 lithium ion cells. The battery pack weighs 900 pounds and costs $20k to replace (try not to misplace it Bond). Tesla rates the four pole electric motor at 248 horsepower. It can be charged in six hours (if your home has 30 - 40 Amps of power) or as little as three hours (if you’re rigged with 90 Amps). Although the Roadster’s maximum range is 250 miles, the company says spirited driving will yield “substantially less.”

    Before we share Shoemaker’s “driving” impressions, keep in mind that all these numbers reflect Tesla's ambitions, not demonstrable reality.
    Again, no independent organization has evaluated any aspect of the Roadster's performance or construction. While Tesla Motors is happy admitting their Roadster's range could be “substantially less” than advertised, anyone thinking about buying a Roadster should consider those words carefully. Would you purchase a sports car that can only drive 90 miles between 12 hour recharges?

    Tesla admirers/intenders also note: our man was not allowed behind the wheel. Indeed, all Tesla’s media coverage has been carefully supervised and controlled.
    While "you can't touch this" restrictions are not unknown in an industry that produces million dollar plus prototypes, there are plenty of electric car companies happy to let responsible journos do what responsible journos are supposed to do.

    Tesla says the Roadster sprints from zero to 60mph in about four seconds, which would make it faster than the Elise. According to Shoemaker, the Roadster felt every bit as quick as his E63 AMG. The Roadster's all-electric engine doesn’t free wheel, so the car slows when pressure diminishes on the accelerator. Although the Roadster doesn’t generate any engine noise and very little transmission whine, Shoes says there’s virtually no insulation from significant road or wind noise.

    [​IMG]

    In terms of handling, “fast and darty sums it up.” Although the Roadster’s batteries [allegedly] add 25 percent to the weight of the elongated Elise, the weight distribution is still [supposedly] 40 - 60 front to rear. Jay says the Tesla Roadster’s low center of gravity and relative light weight maintain the Lotus’ slot car handling. The Roadster [purportedly] uses regenerative braking; as a passenger, Jay couldn’t rate the system’s feel or effectiveness.

    The enthusiastic staff at Tesla Motors describes the Roadster’s selling proposition as “performance without guilt.” But if you set aside the media’s PC fawning over an [ostensibly] eco-friendly sports car, there are serious questions about the Roadster’s ability to deliver on its manufacturer's promises.

    For example, Tesla says its engineers have placed the Roadster’s LiIon batteries away from each other in steel and aluminum containers. Even so, if one of its batteries ignites, it could cause a virtually unstoppable series of fires and/or explosions (traditional extinguishers are ineffective against this type of fire). Roadster deliveries are scheduled for this fall; federal approval for the vehicle has not yet been granted.

    Safety, range, reliability, recharge time, battery life, build quality, manufacturing costs– Tesla has yet to prove that they’ve overcome any of these obstacles for their lightweight Roadster (never mind their planned family car). Until they do, until they allow the press to thoroughly evaluate the car’s real world capabilities, their Roadster should be viewed as nothing more than another well-meaning concept car. Or, if you prefer, a fabulous toy.

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    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=3383
     
  2. borborygmus

    borborygmus Guest

    you are trishield
     
  3. pimpofthenation

    pimpofthenation OT Supporter

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    We have to accept the fact that one day there will be no more petroleum based vehicles. This shows that there is hope for the future, I guess. Electric doesn't have to = Urkel
     
  4. The Great Deceiver

    The Great Deceiver 21st Century Schizoid Man

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    Tesla the scientist, was one of the greatest men of the 20th century :bowdown:
     
  5. Idea of Evil

    Idea of Evil Struggle

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    if he were still alive, he wouldnt want to charge that much for the car :hs:
     
  6. Harry Caray

    Harry Caray Fine purveyor of x.264, h.264 & TS HD-Video !!! HD

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  7. Got Boost???

    Got Boost??? New Member

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    Trash talk now "I just put heads, cam, and nitrous on my car. I'll smoke that POS"

    Trash talk in 10 years "Ive been charging my car all week, I can taken on anyone!"
     
  8. Harry Caray

    Harry Caray Fine purveyor of x.264, h.264 & TS HD-Video !!! HD

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    Just look at their Tzero... goes to L.A. to vegas on one charge like a bat outta hell !!! :bowdown:

    The technology is here... just the Government wants to keep it down !!

    http://www.acpropulsion.com/tzero/
     
  9. WS6Formula350

    WS6Formula350 molestache amririte?

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    looks... interesting.
     
  10. cedric

    cedric I don't have a contract

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    I rode in a lexus hybrid this weekend and I have to say, the absence of any engine noise is fucking unsettling. you can't tell when the damn car is on or off :eek4:
     
  11. Meat Popsicle

    Meat Popsicle What's that smell? OT Supporter

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    I'm beginning to be underwhelmed by this car.

    At first I was like :eek4:

    But, now I'm like :sad2:
     
  12. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    They won't allow anyone to drive the car. This company is the epitome of fishy. :rofl:
     
  13. Meat Popsicle

    Meat Popsicle What's that smell? OT Supporter

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    :werd:

    The first stuff I heard about it I was like omgwtf WOW.

    Then I read this and I'm like :ugh2:
     
  14. Bernout

    Bernout OT Supporter

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    :eek4: Didn't know it would be near $100k. :sad2:
     
  15. huntz0r

    huntz0r New Member

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    Plus that Ziggy Stardust album was kick-ass.
     
  16. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Well, it was inevitable someone would make an electric sports car. Gotta start somewhere, though why they didn't opt for a fuel cell is beyond me. Why recharge a battery when you can replace its electrolyte instead? ESPECIALLY when the waste product is water?
     
  17. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    You're not thinking about it the right way. You don't need to worry about whether the engine is on or not. All you need to worry about is whether you're going as fast as you want to, and if you're not, then you step on the accelerator harder. There's nothing wrong with a car that knows how to run itself, so long as you're the one who tells it where to go. What's so tough about that?
     
  18. American SuperBeast

    American SuperBeast New Member

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    hmm first look its pretty hot
    eh still is too
     
  19. fraggles mccool

    fraggles mccool upkilt!!1 trypantsTOO! yuh 8=D~

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    nice post admin i like this topic
     
  20. Mjolnir

    Mjolnir WHM6D > *

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    Fuck it. Slap a SBC in there and ditch the batteries. Then it looks good and goes fast for at least 200 miles. Pluse, it only takes about 5 minutes to "recharge".
     
  21. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Great. Replace cutting-edge with rusty-razor-blade.

    The point of this car is not that it's practical, but that it proves a concept and the few people who can put up with its quirks can have their fun without mucking up the environment at all.

    Not to mention the car would be virtually maintenance-free; electric motors need their bearings swapped somewhere around every 50,000 miles, and other than that the car would maybe need a washer fluid refill every now and then.
     
  22. Mjolnir

    Mjolnir WHM6D > *

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    Sorry. I was fooling around there.

    The vehicle has limited utility, but that isn't zero utility.

    I disagree with you on the zero environmental impact issue, but other than that I see your point.

    Hopefully, this company won't ruin the electric car market.
     
  23. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Between the Lines: Former Tesla CEO Martin Eberhard’s Email to Roadster Customers

    By Robert Farago
    August 14, 2007

    This website has been skeptical of Tesla Motors’ claims for their lithium-ion-powered Roadster since day one. While some readers think we’ve “had it in” for the California-based car company, rest assured TTAC is an equal opportunity muckraker. Anyway, yesterday, when CEO Martin Eberhard revealed that he’d relinquished the top job at the brash start-up (and BTW Roadster deliveries are delayed), we held fire to avoid accusations of smug satisfaction. But Eberhard’s email to Tesla customers piqued our interest. As Tesla has yet to deliver a single customer car, by thy words thy shall be known.

    Eberhard begins his e-sayonara by expressing his personal pleasure at helming Tesla for the last four years. He then outlines the management shuffle: “This week I move from the CEO position to become President of Technology, and I remain on Tesla’s board of directors. In my new job, I will focus on the final details of the Roadster and on advancing Tesla’s leadership in our core technology. I will also be able to spend more time with you, our customers.”

    Ah, those pesky “final details.” Presumably the new Technology Prez (a title missing from any other automaker’s personnel files) will be focusing on the electro-mechanical minutiae that have prevented Tesla from meeting its first two deadlines for customer deliveries. Eberhard’s claim that he’ll be advancing his company’s “leadership in our core technology” is classic Tesla: asserting technological leadership— not competence, leadership— without showing the goods.

    Meanwhile, Eberhard’s promise to “spend more time” with his customers is more than slightly perplexing. Spend more time with them doing what? There are no demo cars. Again, given the delays, I’m thinking Martin’s about to become Tesla’s Hand-Holder General.

    Next up: Eberhard's explanation for why he was shunted from the top slot. “We at Tesla need leadership with that same kind of passion and talent for operations - passion that will secure Tesla’s future as the next major automobile company. I initiated an intense CEO search some time ago, but the board and I have yet to find the right person to fill this role - even as Tesla continues to grow and its operational needs become paramount.”

    Eberhard is saying two things here. First, his move was planned a long time ago, and, therefore, does not represent any kind of management crisis at Tesla. Second, modestly enough, Tesla can’t find anyone with his passion and talent to run “operations.” Judge for yourself, but this journalist does not find either of these claims remotely plausible.

    Common sense suggests that the timing of the transition, hot on the heels of yet another delay in Roadster deliveries, indicates that someone with money lost faith in Eberhard’s ability to git ‘er done. Hubris aside, there are plenty of current and ex-auto industry execs who could handle Tesla’s operational needs. And the appointment of an interim CEO after “some time” tells us that either the choice was actually made in haste, or there is ongoing conflict in the boardroom.

    Now, about those deliveries…

    “We are still planning to start production of the Roadster by the end of next month and deliver the first cars to customers this fall. We have a good chance of meeting this goal, but to be fully transparent, I want you to know that while it is within our reach, it is not yet fully within our grasp.”

    That is one major piece of sophistry, or, if you prefer, a textbook example of weasel words. Eberhard’s insistence on seasonal deadlines– rather than dates– has got to worry those [erstwhile] customers who’ve signed checks to Tesla. By the same token, a “good chance” is not a statistically relevant term. But both qualifiers pale next to the obfuscatory majesty of Eberhard’s metaphor.

    If something’s within your reach but evades your gasp, uh, what does that mean? You could get it to in theory but you can’t in practice? How very reassuring. The addition of the words “yet” and “fully” is what takes this Zen koan to the next level. Jeff, Murray, Anthony and Greg should enjoy so much wiggle room.

    Eberhard eventually gets down to brass tacks, identifying Roadster crash testing and durability as the remaining stumbling blocks. Oh, about that crash testing, “there is always the chance that something unpredictable occurs… in which case we would incur a delay to address the issues.” And regarding reliability, “The results of this testing are critical to the schedule.” But if there are testing-related delays, “I will let you know.”

    Even if everything goes according to plan, Eberhard says Tesla’s looking to produce one– count it one– car per week; you know, until they get the bugs out. Of the Roadster’s revised range limitations or battery recharge times, nothing.

    Eberhard concludes by promising that “the end is in sight.” But not within view.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=4754
     
  24. danonboost

    danonboost I invite you

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    Agreed. All the engineers at work have been calling BS on their claims since its inception; myself included.
     

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