• Nov 3, 2008
Just how quick is the Tesla Roadster now that it's been blessed with version 1.5 of its drivetrain? Pretty dang quick, as a recent 12.7-second blast down the quarter-mile will attest. The first powertrain that was installed in the electric car used a two-speed transmission, while the latest v1.5 needs just one speed for seamless power delivery from zero to the car's top speed. That should make the Roadster an excellent bracket car, especially considering it was able to put down such impressive numbers with a novice racer behind the wheel who posted a relatively poor .764 reaction time. Its terminal velocity was nearly 105 miles per hour, and whatever car happened to be in the lane next to the Tesla got its butt kicked by an electric car. What's this world coming to?

Some of us here at Autoblog team who've actually driven the Tesla Roadster, myself included, were surprised by this quick performance, but the proof comes courtesy of a scanned time slip from California's Infineon Raceway, which you can click at right to enlarge. Thanks for the tip, JP!

[Source: Tesla]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sorry to hijack the comments, but I'm looking to build (convert really) two electric cars for my parents based on cheap, lightweight Japanese cars. I'm thinking maybe the EG 4 door Honda Civic for mom, and either an EG or EK hatchback or coupe, or an S13 240sx, mainly due to years of parts and experience with these. This is completely to make a statement, and will probably only be used for around town driving, although I would like to make removable mounts for adding small Honda gas inverters (quiet, clean electricity+road trip ability).

      The gutting the engine and unused accessories are no problem, but if anyone could point me in the direction of Electric motors suitable for this, mounting that to a transmission and battery packs/charging controllers, monitors, I would greatly appreciate it. I'm looking at keeping these projects under $10k/each, but most importantly to do my part to stick it to the OPECs of the world, and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

      Any thoughts would be appreciated.



      • 6 Years Ago
      good time, the driver is pitiful with such a dismal RT. the 60 foot time is also surprising as i manage 60' times of 2.2-2.3 seconds in a slightly modified volvo 240, rofl.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well the 60' time can go to 1.3 before the car has to actually go any faster, just by tightening the nut behind the wheel. Which is you know considerably better than your Volvo
          • 6 Years Ago
          No doubt, I was just slamming on the driver :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Pretty quick for a glorified washing machine.
        • 6 Years Ago
        And it does laundry?! Electric cars truly will save us all.

        In all honesty though thats one impressive machine.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Perhaps in ten years there will be Electric Vipers,Corvettes, GT-R's,NSX's etc.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Electric Dragster:
      http://videos.streetfire.net/video/Worlds-Quickest-Electric_163899.htm
      7.63 @160

      ...The lack of noise is creepy.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So this thing is basically an electric Elise?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Where have you been?
      • 6 Years Ago
      On a side note, if we are going to start bringing out and buying all these electric cars, I think we're going to have to do some major improvements to the power grid. Around here we get blackouts when everyone has their air conditioner on. If everyone has an air conditioner and an electric car plugged in, my generator will be getting a workout. (Which, I guess, negates some, if not all, of the electric car's positive environmental effects.)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wonder what the ZR-1 would do with the same driver on the same day?
        • 6 Years Ago
        It would probably stall.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Reaction time has NO effect on E.T. or MPH.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yea, reaction time has no bearing on overall time. It only helps when you're trying to beat the car next to you off the line.

        60' time is really what you want to improve, as a great 60' time means you can gain a lead on the car next to you, as well as get a lower time.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ET, think about it. If he waiting a full 5 minutes before gunning it, he's speed after 1/4 mile is still the same.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I meant LK, not ET....lol
      • 6 Years Ago
      12.8 seconds... if you want to take of the 2nd decimal, you need to round up, not down.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Indeed, drag is different because their times are truncated, not rounded. 12.7 secs is the appropriate rendition. Thus it is a "12 second" car, as is any car that runs the quarter mile from 12.0 to 12.9 s
        • 6 Years Ago
        Drag racers always keep the first tenth. 12.757 is 12.7....that's just the way it is.

        Also, the Tesla is so quick specifically because it never has to shift. Even an F1 style tranny would lose a tenth in the quarter due to shifting.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That's slower by a full second than I've seen a Tesla run and this was with the previous drivetrain and second gear lock-out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      12.7 at 105? Hmm, that's an interesting mph. What causes it to be so low?
        • 6 Years Ago
        probably the fact that it absolutely FLYS to 60-80 then poops out? drag racing is far from rocket science.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's cause the car has only one gear. It runs out of torque at the top and can only maintain speed, not add more.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed.

        Since it only uses one gear, it is geared more for the speeds that it will see normally. Since it is also a street car, those speeds are going to be under 80mph about 95% of the time.

        So, the car will get up to about 80mph or so pretty quickly. But, based off of some estimations I made knowing the top speed they were shooting for, the redline of the engine, tire size and the axle ratio. The car hits its HP peak and torque peak right around 70-80mph, beyond that, the power and torque drop off all the way to redline resulting in slower acceleration beyond about 80mph all the way to the top speed of about 125mph.

        For that reason, I really wish Telsa would have been able to design a good 2 speed transmission for the car. Then it could benefit from even better 0-80 acceleration and then not have the drop off up to 125mph, instead a more appropriate gear could be utilized allowing it to have better high-end acceleration. Either way though, the car is obviously no slouch but could still be better.

        In a sense, this is kind of the electric equivalent of the GT-R. It is also geared to be a quick accelerator, but drops off significantly at higher speeds. And before anyone else says it, yes all cars accelerate slower at higher speeds due to increased drag and wind resistance, but these two drop off moreso than their competitors and both are really due to gearing.

        Below are links to Tesla's own site where they show a dyno graph for the electric motor as well as the other important info I used for the estimations I made. You can easily see how the higher end acceleration will be affected simply by looking at the dyno graph. At redline, that motor puts out about 100hp less than its peak and a pitiful amount of torque at about 50ft-lbs. The graph shows the power in kW and the approx 105kW at redline equals 140HP

        http://www.teslamotors.com/performance/acceleration_and_torque.php

        http://www.teslamotors.com/performance/tech_specs.php
        • 6 Years Ago
        montym:
        Also, all cars accelerate slower at higher speeds because as you go to higher gears, you make less torque at the wheels. Less torque at the wheels just flat out means less acceleration, even with no air to hold you back.

        With only one gear, this car doesn't have to contend with that, but it is a victim of its own torque curve.

        Oddly, since it doesn't have multiple gears, HP doesn't matter on this car, except it certainly was taken into account when the gear ratio it uses was selected.
    • Load More Comments