• Aug 7, 2009
Tesla Roadster - Click above to for high-res gallery

If there's any one area that Tesla Motors seems to have succeeded above all others with its first electric car, the Roadster, it's changing perceptions about what an EV is all about. After all, electric vehicles have been around for a hundred years or more. Still, tell someone who's not aware of the Tesla Roadster that an electric car can out accelerate a good number of Italian Prancing Horses at the drag strip and prepare for an unbelieving look of bewilderment.

With that in mind, it's not surprising to read about shocked reactions from those driving powerful electric cars for the first time. Such is the case with KUOW News reporter Colin Fogarty, who recently got the chance to drive a 1978 Ford Pinto that had been converted into an electric drag racer. Later that day, a Tesla Roadster Sport would go on to take top honors at the local drag race at Portland International Raceway, and Fogarty was on hand to witness the event. Click here for the complete story on how it all went down. Prepare to be shocked.



[Source: KUOW News]


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  • 28 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yawn

      We've been blowing the doors off gas and alcohol cars for the better part of 13 years at the race track. For a couple years there, the Portland Viper club never beat an electric on the drag race, until one of the guys blew his battery pack 1/2 way down the track.

      The 9-10 sec funny cars had a hard time beating us in the 1/4th mile, even in the bracket races.
      • 5 Years Ago
      OK, best solution? You need a combination of things. Basically diversify fuels, make using them more efficient, and downsize your vehicles.

      First off, EV are good for a certain segment of the population, but I feel that they just wouldn't work in some areas. Suburban sprawl is a nasty culprit, mostly in the inland west. Also, City dwellers, who would benifit mostly from EVs, shouldn't even have a vehicle larger than a motorcycle. Any vehicle with more than 2 wheels that gets brought into a major city adds to traffic congestion, even if nothing comes out of the tailpipe. They would work well in suburban areas surrounding major cities, and in coastal areas.

      More efficient gasoline and diesel engines are a good choice for a large segment. Have you looked up the 6-stroke engine? Or fuel vaporization (what FVT uses)? Both provide very dramatic increases in MPG.

      Read this:
      http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/green/articles/2009/07/13/the_greening_of_gasoline/

      Boston Globe, very well respected paper. The gist of it is that you can make gasoline from sawdust, yard waste, corn husks, ect... This is the type of biofuel we have been waiting for, where you take the whole plant mass and use it as fuel. Also, this dosn't have to replace regular gas entirely. Use of Bi-Fuel vehicles ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bi-fuel_vehicle) would make this much easier.

      Now also, I need to point out that hydrogen burned in an ICE is cheap and simple.

      Oh, and you want to see the greenest vehicle of all?
      http://www.huffybikes.com/

      Yes, that's right, a bicycle. When I'm on my huffy, I spit at people driving priuses because they are killing infinitely more polar bears than I am.

      They are absolutely wonderful. In many cities you can take them on the subway. If you can't take them on the subway, get a petition going. Also I think a great idea would be scooter cars on trains (for people to lazy to bike). The need for something more than a vespa is limited, and if you can replace the major highway leg of your trip with public transport, and carry a small 2 wheeled vehicle with you to get around town, you're set.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ok, I'll bite.

        "Also, City dwellers, who would benifit mostly from EVs, shouldn't even have a vehicle larger than a motorcycle."

        Talk about vehicles that are only "good for a certain segment of the population." What about families who have kids? Do you want people carting around newborns on the backs of motorcycles? Those things are so dangerous it's not even funny. One time (no, not at band camp ;) my cross country team was riding home from a meet in the team van. We were just cruising along, when all of a sudden we feel this little bump. Most of us thought we just ran over a rock or something, but when the coach stopped to see what had happened, we realized that a motorcycle had run into the back of the van. The van was barely scratched, but the motorcycle was thrown back several feet and the rider was severely injured. No thanks, I'll stick to my full-sized vehicle and live to a ripe old age, thank you very much.

        "More efficient gasoline and diesel engines are a good choice for a large segment. Have you looked up the 6-stroke engine? Or fuel vaporization (what FVT uses)? Both provide very dramatic increases in MPG."

        Increases in MPG are all fine and dandy, but they aren't a *solution.* No matter how your MPG goes, you're still using gasoline and still polluting.

        "Boston Globe, very well respected paper. The gist of it is that you can make gasoline from sawdust, yard waste, corn husks, ect... This is the type of biofuel we have been waiting for, where you take the whole plant mass and use it as fuel. Also, this dosn't have to replace regular gas entirely. Use of Bi-Fuel vehicles ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bi-fuel_vehicle) would make this much easier."

        Now this is more like it, but where will you get the energy to make all that gasoline? Does it require electricity? Heat? How will you produce that? Just because you can "make" gasoline out of waste does not mean it is free. Taanstafl, my friend.

        "Now also, I need to point out that hydrogen burned in an ICE is cheap and simple."

        Cheap and simple? Maybe it's slightly cheaper than a hydrogen fuel cell car because you don't have to pay up the yinyang for the fuel cells, but you still have to store and transport the hydrogen, which is very expensive just by itself. Safety is also an issue here. Think normal gasoline cars are combustible? Remember the Hindenburg? Yikes.

        "Oh, and you want to see the greenest vehicle of all?
        http://www.huffybikes.com/"

        Yeah, we don't all live close enough to work for this to be reasonable. Many cities don't have subways, unfortunately.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Me think "Lorena Palin" = "Greg Blencoe":

      http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/02/26/greg-blencoe-finds-20-great-hydrogen-news-items/

      Same message, same style, same prose, same barrage of links "to learn more". I must admit, the guy's tenacious...

      - Nick -
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sadly I think you are probably right!
      • 5 Years Ago
      @ Lad

      Armchair analyse the Top Gear lap all you like, but the FACT is the Tesla did a time equal to a GT3 (which is a full race version of a 911 factory roll cage and all).

      The Tesla time was also done on the standard low rolling resistance tires (read hard compound)... you can rest assured the Porsche GT3 didn't have Eco tires on.

      So given equal tires the Tesla is actually ALOT faster than a race version of the latest Porsche 911 around a track. If you doubt the difference tires can make, watch any motor race!!
      LongshotX
      • 5 Years Ago
      Still no all electric mid sized sedan...will we ever see one? I don't need a race car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @LongshotX
        You haven't seen the Model S yet? Room for 5 adults and 2 children, luggage space front and back, 160 to 300 mile range depending on battery option, with plans for public 45 minute or less chargers or battery swapping. Gorgeous looks, est. $50K price.

        They need to set up manufacturing facilities first, so it may take a year or two before they start customer deliveries.

        After the Model S rollout, Tesla will be working on their 3rd model for about $30K.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A two-seat $80,000 car that is based on a Lotus is fast??? It had better be, but drag racing is one thing and top end speed is another. The GM EV-1 was quick in its day. Those Italian pracing ponies, or even an every day Accord has a higher top end speed.

      Why this endless pimping for Tesla?
        • 5 Years Ago
        "A two-seat $80,000 car that is based on a Lotus is fast??? "

        The Tesla website says $101,500

        http://www.teslamotors.com/buy/buyshowroom.php
        • 5 Years Ago
        Teslas at the drag strip is not a new topic. It is not suprising that an electric motor, which has max torque immediately, should be fast. This is just more pimping for Tesla, which is currently in self-destruct mode. I do not think that Tesla will survive. Fisker might have a better chance. These companies are at best boutique car firms like Spyker or Vector, or Pagani. Fisker hired the North American marketing director from Maserati. When fuel cells or battery technology improves and the technology goes mainstream, these companies will cease to be relevent.


        No one is saying that the Tesla is a bad car. I am sure that any Electric Lotus would be nice. When Dodge (Fiat) gets their electric Lotus going it will be even better, or when Lotus launches their own electric car it will be even better yet. I applaud electric vehicles, and think that they should be just as sportly as their gas bretheren.


        • 5 Years Ago
        It's not $80,000 or $101,000.

        As mentioned on here, Tesla held their owners over a barrel and required them to buy accessories in order to "ensure delivery" of their vehicle "on time". And then after that they just flat out jacked the price up.

        You can look at Tesla's site all you want, but my understanding from my friends who bought them, if you want one be prepared to pay between $110,000 and $120,000.
        • 5 Years Ago
        In the real world, top speed isn't nearly as relevant as acceleration, and this car accelerates as fast as cars that actually sell for far more money.

        @Lorena, the Top Gear review of the Tesla contained a certain amount of "Artistic License" and both Clarkson and BBC have come clean to say they wanted to show what it would be like "IF the Tesla ran out of Juice". On top of that, it didn't die after 2 laps, they claimed it "died" after 55 miles. Even if that were true, it's not surprising that a car being flung around at track speed will achieve much lower mileage than on an EPA drive cycle. When Top Gear tested the Ford GT (one of my favourite cars) it average 4mpg for a range of only 75, while EPA rates it at 12mpg.

        Considering it's performance on the track, you can see it landed the exact same time as a 911 GT3 RS, both on mildly moist tracks. What it lacks in agility, it seems to make up for in accessible power.

        At $80,000, I'd say the Tesla is priced surprisingly competitively. It's definitely subsidized by the company to get their name out there, but the fact is its a pretty damn good deal for an impressively quick car that happens not to have a tailpipe.
        • 5 Years Ago
        skierpage,
        Tesla's technology is making 1,000,000 laptop battery work when strung together without it blowing up and catching fire. This is because they didn't have the clout to produce a really large automotive lithium battery. Concerning Daimler, my guess is that they see a dead man walking and are just waiting to take over the marketing right to the Tesla name for their own product when the company goes belly up.

        Concerning GM volt. Well, they are union and the unions bankroll Obama. As we read, their battery supplier, LG, just got a $1B grant to build a new factory to employ more skill-less workers and pay them obscene paychecks, which will have union dues deducted an funneled back to Obama. The cycle of life!
        • 5 Years Ago
        In everyday driving, how often to you go above 120mph?

        @Palin
        Of course the Top Gear test was less than flattering. The top gear crew is very openly anti-green, and it's well known that the car never did run out of juice, they calculated it did and filmed their crew pushing the car for no reason. It's an entertainment show, not a solid place to find real reviews.

        Keep in mind they compared the cornering to a Lotus Elise, which is one of the best cornering cars in the market. The Tesla might not be as quick through the corners as the Elise, because it has different tires and more weight, but it's still pretty damn close, and it catches up in the straights.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Obama is god and Al Gore is his profit!
        • 5 Years Ago
        "These companies are at best boutique car firms like Spyker or Vector, or Pagani."

        Not really. Tesla is far bigger than those companies, making about 50x more cars a month. And their Power Electronics Module engineering expertise was worth millions to Daimler, specifically "controls and cooling system for battery packs".

        Tesla is a successful niche car manufacturer, and if the Model S comes out, they'll be in an even bigger niche.

        I look forward to "endless pimping" for other electric cars actually available in the USA.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You haven't noticed all the postings for the GM Volt?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah...and also, is it fast around corners? I mean the top gear test of it was less than flattering, driving it hard made it run out of juice after 2 laps, and the low rolling resistance tires did not make for good cornering.

        I think they are pimping tesla because "autoblog green" is really "EVs are the only type of transportation we can have and everything else is EVIL" and tesla is the only company that makes EVs that drive nice and have good range...and for 100 grand they had better...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Judging from how the car performed on Top Gear's track, it appears to be poorly balanced front to rear and has a poorly located roll center. the stig seemed to be fighting oversteer on every rotation of the car. Definitely not a good track car at this stage...needs lots of help!
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Obama is god and Al Gore is his profit!"

      FWIW - Obama drove a V8 Chrysler 300 before running for POTUS. And now he is chauffered around in a large diesel truck chassis made up to look like a Caddy. Thats when he isn't in the presidential jet or helicopter.

      Whatever Obama's personal agenda may be, green transportation is not a part of it - he just needs the votes of the green constituency, so he panders to them as needed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        As President of the United States, he is required to use whatever armored vehicle is made available to him. He also had to give up his blackberry for a more secure device. Safety before green -- until they make these as EVs.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Really, I want something that is faster in the corners if I'm getting a "supercar" or something that can do 180+ mph. The top gear test did show that it was not the best car at cornering.

      Now, personally, my issue is that this whole sight is dead set on EVs as the only option. As they are now electric cars are coal cars.

      The overall "green" strategy of EVs is outright stupid- It requires creating new infrastructure and convincing people to buy less practical, more expensive cars, and then completely re doing our power generation system.

      And I hate to say it, but the US is not going to stop using coal. We are the saudi arabia of coal. The best way to reduce coal emissions is to use less electricity. There are plenty of things that can be burnt incars to fuel them that are cleaner that keep the convenience of oil.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "As they are now electric cars are coal cars."

        Thanks for your astonishingly short-sighted, backwater viewpoint. Where I live, 98% of our electricity comes from Hydro. In places like Arizona and Southern California, the current batch of solar-thermal powerplants currently under construction will easily provide 100% or more (their total solar capacity could easily power all of America, if the rest of America weren't so far away) of the state's power production in the future. As an added bonus, there are few states where coal is the only source of electricity.

        But hey, why would facts keep you from pulling your head out of, uh, the sand?
        • 5 Years Ago
        The best solution is to do nothing, gasoline ICE is best, always has been and always will be. Oil prices will never ever spike again and will not increase at all in real terms EVER. Don't you read the posts from all these wonderful people who know everything? I hope they are e-mailing Nissan, Mitsubishi and Tesla on a regular basis to inform them about their folly.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So, Loena, what do you propose? Hybrids are nice, but they too are "more expensive". Diesels are more expensive, and have problems meeting basic emissions standards. H2 fuel cell cars are 10x more expensive than those "expensive EVs" are less efficient, and requires far more of a much more expensive infrastructure, both for fuel production and for H2 dispensing. Compressed air cars have very limited range and poor performance as well as low efficiency. Bicycles are very clean, efficient and cheap, but for most people have limited speed and range and cargo capacity. Biofuels can help reduce oil consumption, but there isn't sufficient land for it to completely replace petroleum fuels.

        We don't think of EVs as the "only solution", it is just the best solution.

        Here in California, we get 40% of our electricity from renewables (solar, wind, hydo, geothermal) but only 20.1% from coal, and that percentage is dropping as more renewables come online. So, no, we're not stuck with "coaltricity". But even where coal does provide a substantial portion of electricity, the higher efficiency of coal plants combined with the very high efficiency of the grid and EVs still means less CO2 emissions than the average gasser.
      • 5 Years Ago
      one problem with that- I think fuel cells are crap. Hydrogen when used in an ICE, especially if you make it a bi-fuel vehicle that can also use CNG, is dandy.

      In all honesty I rather just use "grassoline" made from yard waste in a smaller, more efficient car.

      Are you guys even reading any of what I'm saying? Or the links? Granted the huffy one was kind of a "F you" too everyone wanting green cars, but the one on "grassoline" is a pretty damn good article.

      It's like you all have your hearts set on EVs so anything else that might be better, any problems with EVs doesn't exist.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If you can wait until next year, you might have a chance to buy a sedan BEV made by Nissan, currently called The Leaf in Japan; I'm in the market for one also.
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