• Feb 24, 2010

Tesla Roadster Sport versus Porsche Boxster Spyder – click above to watch video

We've been fortunate enough to drive a number of different Tesla Roadster models now, including a week-long review that was just published. Owners of high performance sportscars like the Roadster sometimes like to take their rides to the track for some of the kind of fun you can't really have when you are constantly on the lookout for hidden constables. While we haven't had the chance to track a Tesla, one of the favorite cars for such activities is the Porsche Boxster.

Motor Trend magazine's Kim Reynolds and Arthur St. Antoine took the latest edition of the Boxster, the new Spyder to Willow Springs along with a 2010 Roadster Sport. It makes for very interesting comparison since the 2011 Boxster Spyder is the most minimalist version of the Porsche and the Tesla has a slightly more upscale interior than its Lotus Elise progenitor.

At nearly twice the price of the German, the Tesla offers tremendous performance but requires more effort to learn its limits in part because of the reduced feedback it offers. Nevertheless, St. Antoine in particular was surprised at how well Tesla's "science experiment" works. When considered purely from a bang-for-the-buck perspective, the Roadster makes no sense compared to the Porsche, but to be fair, on-track performance has never been the Tesla's raison d'etre anyhow. Check out the video after the jump.



Tesla photos by Brad Wood / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Motor Trend]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 55 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      the tesla fanboy waxes poetic on the relative environmental impact of his car, but where does he think all them electrons come from? odds are it isn't from those wind mills, but from a coal fired power plant. that said, the tesla is impressive. interesting to note, the competitor brand here has embraced the potential of electric drivetrains in the new hybrid 911. harmony.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It all depends where you live. Up here in Ontario much of our power comes from nuclear plants and hydroelectric dams. We still have a few coal plants however, among the largest in north america which is set to be decommissioned around 2014...
        • 4 Years Ago
        too bad you MIGHT have to leave it plugged in for 4 days...
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Wingman

        Don't let facts stop you from your snark... Nevermind that the "Tesla fanboy" just said that since there is a huge windfarm right over the hill, if you came to the track and plugged in, you'd be most likely getting your power from wind, making your driving essentially "wind powered"...
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Tesla only carries the amount of energy equivalent to 1.5 gallons of gas, and yet it still goes 200 miles (in normal use). It's far more efficient, so even if you run it off of electricity made from a coal plant, it still uses less energy and pollutes less than a gas car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The energy source doesn't matter for the Tesla, it is still cleaner and more efficient than the Porsche. Many areas have green energy options. If you do any reading on the topic then you already know this and have just decided to troll.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What do you think powers those wind farms when there is no wind? That's right, not clean diesel generators, but dirty-diesel generators with no Particulate filters or adblue solution. But yes electric is a more efficient form of energy when it's actually working as planned.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice to see that the Tesla successfully survived your week-long test and is still making the rounds with the press corps. :)
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Swordman thinks that these types of electric vehicles have their own set of problems. They've been around for decades (think milk floats), yet they're still lumbered with high weight, long recharge times and small range.

      And let's not even think about where the majority of the world's electricity comes from. *cough fossil fuels cough*

      Hydrogen fuel cell technology is the future. The only drawback being that it would rain a hell of a lot more if everyone switched to them.

      So, let me think. Warmer, sunny days, with fast growing plant life due to anthropomorphic global warming or cloudier, wetter days with fuel cell vehicles?

      I'll have a petrol engine, please.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's one way of producing hydrogen, but have you ever heard of electrolysis? You can split water into hydrogen and oxygen - and get this, you can do this with solar power.

        The burning of hydrocarbons produces 2 lots of H20 to 1 lot of CO2. a 2:1 ratio. Not only this, there are also impurities in hydrocarbons, leading to emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide, albeit in much, much smaller amounts.

        Fuel cells react hydrogen with oxygen to produce nothing but water.

        100% vs. 66%

        or if you're going to do it by molecular weight:

        100% vs. 45%

        So there we have it. You're wrong, matey chops.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hydrogen is made from fossil fuels using steam reformation.

        And fuel cell cars don't produce any more water vapor than gas cars do. The primary result of combustion, whether of hydrogen or gas/Diesel is H2O. If you want to make n BTUs from gas or hydrogen, you're going to produce the same number of H2O (water vapor) output molecules.

        Get informed.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Uhhg, these videos are just so rough to watch. We really don't need to see the whole lap or at least get different views...or maybe some more exciting hosts!?

      I really dig MT as a magazine but the videos are just so boring and factual, all fact no flair.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I enjoyed this. Informative and entertaining. Much as I like Top Gear, it's mostly just some dudes screwing around. I look forward to seeing electric Porshes.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You want to talk pollution.
      Ever seen how lithium is mined and what that does to the earth?

      Oh, but you just feel so good knowing you are doing the right thing
      driving an overpriced electric car, right?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ha! I just said "mining steel". Whoops, I meant iron.

        Oh yeah, and copper, gas cars use a lot of that too.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Unlike mining steel and aluminum?
      • 4 Years Ago
      How long will it be until we will have mainstream circuit racing series with electric motor cars only....in the pit we could have hot swappable battery packs instead of gas :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        check out your local hobby shop!
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Boxster spyder FTW! The Tesla is nice but its a Lotus with a Tesla drivetrain...
      How about a Lotus with a hybrid drivetrain from Lotus!

      http://www.autoblog.com/2010/02/24/geneva-preview-lotus-formally-introduces-evora-414e-hybrid/
      • 4 Years Ago
      Boxster wins... solely on the fact that you can re-fuel in 5 minutes, and get back out on the road or track!

      Plus it just wins, period.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sorry, Carlos... it is a matter of chemistry and physics, not wishful thinking.

        These cars, even on fast charge, require HUGE amounts of power, and it still takes more than an hour to reach a full charge from "empty." Oh, and empty is not zero, and lithium batteries get dangerous if dropped below minimum voltage... usually around 3-3.5 volts per individual cell, and they have to be meticulously balance-charged... all 6,831 individual Li-ion cells. According to tesla, it’s roughly the size of a storage trunk and weighs about 900 pounds. A fuel tank and engine together don't weigh nearly that much. I'll bet the Boxster's entire powertrain doesn't weigh 900lbs.

        Do you have 440 volts at more than 200 amps in your house? most people don't. Most people don't have access to that anywhere. Nissan's Leaf lists it's quick charging level at 440 volts.

        An energy station with enough terminals to support enough cars to sit there for an hour, not 8 hours on a regular charge, but 1 hour on a max quick charge, would have to have FAR more terminals than a gas station has pumps, where people stay for a matter of minutes, and then make the pump available for the next vehicle.

        An energy station with that number of electrical terminals, EACH at hundreds of volts, and over 100 amps (53,000 watt-hours (53kWh) is a lot.)

        That is more current draw than a modest single family HOME. My house has 100 amp service, at 240 volts, and I don't use all of that.

        To charge a tesla in an hour... at 440 volts... you would need 120.45 Amps constant draw, for EACH terminal at an energy station, Not to mention cabling that can handle that current, and a power grid connection, likely a whole sub-station for that.

        Now tell me that is no different than pumping a tank full of gas in 5-10 minutes, and getting back on the road.

        Organic chemistry is a better energy storage medium than a substrate electrical storage battery. No way around it. Electricity is not primary energy storage, it is a transmitted energy medium that has to be generated... and tends to be lossy when it is transmitted. Energy lost to electromagnetic field, and heat when going through transistors or other electrical management devices.
        • 4 Years Ago
        For some reason, I thought you'd like the Boxster. I have to admit I love it too. Especially without the giant nav screen in the middle of the center stack and all the weight savings but what troubles me is that all Porsches should come that way standard.
        Carlos
        • 4 Years Ago
        See now thats just not fair. If electric motors and batteries had an almost trillion dollar a year market they'd have the technology to refuel in less then that. But that's speculations
      • 4 Years Ago
      Interesting car contrast. With that said, MT needs to work on making its videos more interesting. I suppose I am spoiled watching Top Gear and Fifth Gear though...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed. They should also look at some Chris Harris on autocar and now Evo. The production qualities of the British are lightyears ahead of the US.

        I bet these guys are terrific writers, but TV guys they are not.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well, the video market really isn't so prominent here in the US. In Europe you can produce a car show and make a profit, but in the States the market is really rather limited to magazines, so its reasonable that they wouldn't have auto journalists whose forte was acting and exciting action scenes. I'm glad they are trying though.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Also, Id looove to have that youtube preview screen as my desktop background.

        :P
        • 4 Years Ago
        A surprisingly decent video from Motor Trend, who like many of the old school mags are just way behind the times. I like the idea of the Tesla, but until they can flash recharge batteries, or don't make us take a giant step backwards in what we have come to expect from a car, the electric will just be an interesting novelty. If they can figure out the battery tech, or develop a compact, light full cell that can power a car, then I will jump on the Tesla bandwagon, until then give me the Porsche.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree that they arent as charismatic as TG hosts but they certainly earn some respect from me thanks to their level-headed approach to cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think all of you guys are being too damn nice. I didn't think it was possible to bore me considering they are testing one of the sexiest cars on the market right now, but I couldn't even finish the video. Awful. Awful dialouge, awful concept, awful editing, and from what I can see- awful driving.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice to see that the Tesla successfully survived your week-long test and is still making the rounds with the press corps. :)
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'll take the Boxster
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