• Jun 1, 2009
Tesla Roadster - Click above for a high-res image gallery

Electric drivetrain aside, the Tesla Roadster isn't the most practical sports car on the market. Like its Lotus counterpart, the Roadster is lacking space for both passengers and parcel, something Tesla CEO Elon Musk is all-too-happy to admit. But as you'd expect from the plucky upstart and its confident chief executive, Tesla has big plans to expand beyond the Roadster and Model S sedan, and it's got the Porsche 911 in its sights.

Although we've known for some time that Tesla plans to base future models on the Model S platform – ranging from a base model to a full-fledged GT – the automaker's been tight-lipped about the specifics of future sports cars. However, Musk let it slip during an interview that a 911 Turbo shares a space in his garage with a Roadster, and he loves its ability to schlep the kiddies to school in its diminutive back seats. Inspired, Musk said that the next Tesla sports car would be a 2+2, boasting 10 more trunk space than the 911, along with all-wheel drive. Additionally, the Model S' flat architecture means that styling won't be completely influenced by the drivetrain, allowing for "greater functionality with avant garde, aggressive" styling. Although this new coupe's future is largely dependent on the success of the Model S, if Tesla can keep the lights on and continue R&D, we might see the GT as early as 2012 or 2013.



[Source: WebRidesTV]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Unfortunately, you can't build a bigger electric car without sacrificing range. AWD would kill the battery life. Battery life will be even less if people were to drive this like a true sports car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Electric AWD can mean an individual motor for each wheel, whether hub mounted or mounted inboard connected via CV axles. It doesn't have much efficiency or weight penalty vs 2WD because instead of one or two big motors you have 4 motors at 1/2 or 1/4 the size/power each. The rotating mass and friction can be close to the same... it's not like in an ICE vehicle where 4WD requires all the extra rotating mass and friction of extra drive shafts and another differential, and the binding/tire scrub that happens in turns.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That didn't cross my mind. That is a great idea. Tesla will probably go this route.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There is a work-around: electric motors for each wheel. That's true all wheel drive and there's no transmission, no engine, no drivetrain, which means a hell of a lot of extra space. I'm pretty sure this is where Tesla will be going.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The reason why Tesla didn't already provide wheel-bound motors on the first-gen roadster is simple: Engineering cost. The current model is largely a standard chassis modified slightly to fit battery packs wherever possible. The lotus it is based on uses an FR arrangement (front engine, rear drive) with the suspension configured to allow for the differential and axles to stand where they are. One cannot simply add two motors to the back without substantially redesigning the suspension and thus substantially increasing development costs. Tesla already has enough problems with money as it is, and don't even think about the pain of working out the early production quirks in a first-generation system of that design when it's the first model your company has ever produced.

        By developing their next platform in-house, they gain the ability to tailor the suspension to their specific needs, allowing the distinct possibility of either hub-drive or multiple onboard motors in place of a more "standard" FR drivetrain with a transmission, a driveshaft, and a differential.

        And I do agree, four independently driven wheels is the only way they could pull it off. All that additional space gain from moving to four motors could easily be used to store batteries, too.

        I'll also state that I firmly believe Mr. Musk is talking straight out of his ass, as they they have yet to prove that they have the expertise to engineer a vehicle from the ground up...affordably...on a timely basis. And then they need to build it! (but that's a problem for another day)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually 4 electric motors has been an idea that's been around at least as long as the Lightning GT. An article from autoblog:

        http://www.autoblog.com/2008/03/06/lightning-gt-all-electric-sports-car-revealed/
        • 5 Years Ago
        More unspung mass. Sounds sporty.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sorry, Elon. The 911 is just a competitive car. The car with 2+2 AWD to beat is the Nissan GTR. Focus on your company strengths and that is good handling efficient electric cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You make a good point. A GTR is probably a better goal to attack. Regardless of the quality and performance, it's hard for a newcomer to top the classic styling and pedigree of a 911.
      • 5 Years Ago
      *Aim* at the 911 Turbo: fine.

      *Hit* the 911 Turbo: good luck.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really hope that Musk knows what he is getting himself into, making hese claims and all. Because we wouldn't want another "douchebag" fiasco again, now would we?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Increased size in drivetrain??? I don't think so.

      What everyone seems to forget is that one of the great advantages of having AWD in hub electric drivetrains is that all that pesky differential work can be completely controlled via a computer. Is a wheel not moving as fast as it should be? Or too fast? Then just change the amount of electricity going to that wheel and it'll change the speed.

      What was one of the greatest downfalls of electric cars in the past? Foolish people who kept looking at them like they should work like a gasoline or fossil fuel car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @why not the LS2LS7?

        The weight gained from going to 4 motors with a combined power output equivalent to that of the current roadster motor should be minimal from an electrical component stand point. Using four motor controllers each delivering 1/4 the power of the original motor controller, would add very little weight as each individual controller would require far fewer components than the original. Also speed sensors are required on all four wheels for ABS, traction control, and stability control.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @why not the LS2LS7?

        Yup, you didn't read far did you? You only need a differential if you have a central powerplant. Being an engine or motor. And having four motors means four CVT's that require only 50 lb*ft of torque instead of one requiring 200 lb*ft. Plus no axles for in hub motors. In fact you can remove the CVT's if you want to limit the speed to about 50mph. That's the top speed of forklifts that use the same technology.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So you think you can drive 4 wheels with no more equipment than you can drive 2? that doesn't make sense. Even if you could get rid of the diff, you need a CV joint and a stubby drive shaft at each wheel, plus a motor. Plus thick wires to the motor from the motor controller (which you'll have 4 of). And you need a speed sensor at each wheel (you only had 2 before).

        There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

        Oh yeah, sure, you're saying that these things are relatively light or whatever. Yeah, maybe that's true, but they are light on the Tesla Roadster right now too. So it will still about double the mass to add more drivetrain.
      • 5 Years Ago
      well, this time they just took a lotus body and made it electric, all they have to do now is take a 911 body and make it electric...
      • 5 Years Ago
      One other nice feature of a 911 is the ability for me to hop in and drive it from Seattle to LA in 18 hours or so. Until you can do that in a Tesla, they'll just be toys for people that can afford one in addition to a real car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't understand why they want to compete with the 911, I mean, you
      don't see amateur boxers with one fight under their belt, step in the
      ring with Mike Tyson.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its funny how they make such lofty goals public and then struggle to achieve them. Elon Musk seems intelligent. Then wonder why this stupidity. Its not like the publicity hype that the Tesla Roadster received proved only to its benefit.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its also going to have a Mr. Fusion, hoverwheels, and a flux capacitor!

      This Musk guy is getting really, really annoying.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder if they will do something about the handling - the thing needs much better rubber for starters (not conducive to range, but...)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Elon Mush Loves to tell people what they want to hear. But that boy is smoking a crack pipe. All the money in the world cannot reverse economies of scale or change fundamental aspects of electro-chemistry as they apply to batteries.

      Tesla is a great ambassador, but I hope that they push realistic goals so they do not put their foot in their mouth for the rest of the alternative vehicle players.
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