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A few weeks back we addressed the question of using the Tesla Roadster as a track car. Discussing the topic with Tesla VP Darryl Siry during my first ride-along in the car, he made it clear that the Roadster in its current form wouldn't be very suitable for track use. The sustained loads on the electric motor in that kind of situation would cause the air-cooled unit to get too hot. When the temperature rises, the power electronics module (PEM) automatically cuts the power output. However, the arrival of DriveTrain 1.5 could provide the ideal basis for a track special.

With the air-cooled motor soon to be supplanted by a liquid-cooled version, capable of sustaining significantly higher continuous power levels, the single biggest stumbling block may have been overcome. In combination with the upgraded PEM, the only other major issue to address would be the vehicle weight. To that end, Tesla engineers are contemplating a Roadster 120, with 120 referring to the range. They could use a battery pack with only half the capacity and chemistry balanced more toward power than energy. That would drop nearly 500 lbs of mass, improving handling, acceleration, and braking capability. The reduced mass would also reduce the loads on the motor allowing it run at speed even longer. Of course none of this will happen until the standard Roadster is in steady production.

[Source: Tesla Motors]




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