• Dec 29th 2007 at 5:03PM
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Tesla Marketing VP Darryl Siry and the Tesla Roadster

When I went for a ride with Darryl Siry in the Tesla Roadster following the Los Angeles Auto Show, we discussed a wide array of topics relating to the car. One of those areas was the use of the Roadster as track car. Given the heritage of the chassis being derived from the Lotus Elise and the frequent use of the that car on the track, it would seem to be an obvious application. Unfortunately for buyers of the Roadster, that won't be a viable option. The power electronics module (PEM) monitors a variety of the sensors in and around the battery pack and the air-cooled AC motor. If anything starts to get too hot, the PEM will automatically start limiting the power flow from the battery until things cool down. The result is that after a only a couple of laps of all-out track running, the motor will start to heat up and performance will be limited. On the road in real world conditions this won't be a problem, because conditions generally won't allow that sort of sustained extreme driving.

At some future point after the Roadster is well-established in production, Darryl would like to consider producing a dedicated track car similar to what Lotus does with the 2-Eleven. Tesla could potentially offer a chassis and power-train combination with a higher power battery pack and liquid cooled motor. They could also sponsor a single make racing series along the lines of the Porsche Cup or Ferrari Challenge. If any of that does happen though it will be off in the future after Tesla has resolved their current issues. You can listen to Darryl and I discussing the subject here.

[Source: Tesla Motors, Darryl Siry]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      All that low-end torque wasted on a super light street car. Can you imagine a race of noiseless, clean-burning, stink-less, stainless, sanitary race cars. Why it would spoil the romance of it all. But boy, wouldn't it be fun to fling 'em around! I think it's only a matter of time before someone decides to mod them for the track with or without Telsa's blessings or involvement. It might be better for Tesla to mod the car if for no other reason, just to protect the brand.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The car should be a good autocrosser if they get the tranny sorted out (or just get it stuck in low gear instead of high).

      A one-make Tesla Roadster race isn't terribly likely right now, it'll take a lot more expensive and heavy batteries to get even a 30-40 minute race together like many series like the MX5 spec series run. Well, I guess the other alternative would be to turn the wick far down, since it is a spec race. But they'd have to turn down the HP to something like 60HP to get through a 40 minute race on the current packs. That'd be no fun.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It'll do 50 or something in 1st gear, why do you need 2nd gear to autocross?

      I believe the 1-speed Teslas just have a straight-across connection, no gears at all. So yeah, as you say, there isn't really an option to "get it stuck in low gear" as I said.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Scott: the diff (rear end) always has a gear reduction in it. 4:1 or so is normal, but the 7:1 is quite possible.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Actually the one speed transmissions won't be two speeds locked in high gear. They will be explicitly built as one-speeds without the second gear set. While the car's dynamics would be ideally suited to autocrossing, the single speed transmission would be less so. Only when the two speed becomes available would this thing be a true autocross monster.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The T-Rex Lightning would be more of a natural track toy than the Tesla, don't you think?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mind you I still think the stock Tesla roadster will be an extraordinary autocrosser.

      A "Formula Tesla" racing series would be an extraordinary boon to the brand and to our R&D efforts. The time is not right now but I can't wait to work on that project.

      • 7 Years Ago
      There has to be gear reduction, 1- or 2-speed. The electric motor tops out at 13,000 RPM, much faster than the car's wheels turn. Figure about a 25" diameter tire, so the circumference is 78.5" or ~6.54'. A top speed of 125 mph = 11,000 ft/min. (11,000 ft/min) / (6.54 ft/rev) = 1680 rpm. So, you'd need a reduction of about 7.7 to 1 for a 1-speed.

      So, even with a single-speed car there will be a transmission.
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