It looks like Ben Stewart of Popular Mechanics got the privilege of being the first journalist to actually drive the upcoming Tesla Roadster, or at least the first to publish about his drive. As most AutoblogGreen readers probably know, the Tesla Roadster is a new Lotus Elise-based electric sports car. The Elise makes an ideal platform for this kind of car, because it is strong and very light-weight. This was strictly a subjective evaluation ride with no instrumentation. According to Stewart, his seat of the pants evaluation indicates the car should meet the performance targets claimed by Tesla.

"Even without the lower First gear the Tesla really hauls. Tesla's claim of running 0-60 in around 4 seconds sounds plausible. You squirt through traffic holes without the hesitation-it's absolutely always in meat of the powerband."

Electric motors have the advantage over internal combustion engines of a flat constant torque curve, so they don't need a complex multi-speed gearbox to achieve good performance. Even with the extra weight of the battery pack, this looks to be a serious sports car. One area the Elise is not known for is refinement, on the contrary it is quite raw. It is more akin to a go-kart than a Porsche 911. Stewart does mention that the extraordinary silence of the electric power-train means that all creaks and groans inherent in a prototype car really stand out. The Tesla engineers are apparently hard at work on this for the next batch of prototypes.

The handling evidently is very much in line with it's progenitor. The light weight, low center of gravity and well designed chassis make for a very environmentally friendly go-kart. My biggest question now is when do we get one in the AutoblogGreen Garage.

[Source: Popular Mechanics]


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