Pure driving joy, with a big open-mouthed smile. That's what we see on the face of Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima as he puts a 2012 Tesla Model S through its paces on a test drive down some curvy California roads.

Best known for winning the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb six times in a row – including in 2011 when he became the first to accomplish the feat in under ten minutes. Tajima-san attempted to top that this year in his custom-built electric Monster Sport E-Runner Pikes Peak Special, but a motor failure less than a mile from the start ended his day. That short circuit, however, hasn't seemed to dampened his enthusiasm for battery-powered cars.

Indeed, the jovial racing giant appears to have quite enjoyed his time behind the Tesla wheel, as the video below shows him piloting the all-electric fastback like one might expect a driver of his stature would. Using the whole road and with little regard for the possibility of a speeding ticket, Tajima has his passengers both bracing and grinning nervously while he guides the Model S roller-coaster-like through the twists and turns.

His assessment of the new electric American hatchback? Well, scroll down for video of a little Monster-on-Tesla action and see for yourself.



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
  • 108 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      lets have a race.. from the beach to the sun.. top of Haleakala volcano crater... to meet the sunrise.. electric car race.. winner takes each car company supplies a car and a driver.. The Sun Climb.. then turn around and drive to Hana... and have nice luau on the beach at sunset.. Kahuna of Hawaii.. messenger of the sun God
      purrpullberra
      • 2 Years Ago
      The electric motor makes road driving fun again, at reasonable speeds. Off the line torque means fun under the speed limit, on smaller roads even, meaning more room for more people to have fun driving. If driving Camry's were as fun as electric motor driven cars are more people would be enthusiastic about driving. That's one reason to be pro-electric even if an electric car doesn't work for you. But I doubt the frothing-at-the-mouth club will be that logical. :)
        Sean McCarthy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @purrpullberra
        I really want a Tesla even though I feel EVs are just a stopgap to a better solution and I will really miss the feeling of jamming a manual into the next gear in spirited driving!
          GuyClinch
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sean McCarthy
          The electric car company people don't want to admit it but here in the US compressed natural gas would likely win out if given a chance. It's much cheaper then gasoline - and has none of the electic problems and we have vast reserves of it..
          Nick Kordich
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sean McCarthy
          @GuyClinch - there are roughly 7 times as many natural gas and propane vehicles as highway capable EVs in the US now. One of the five ATVM loans was to help a CNG van manufacturer, albeit the smallest. NG/LP ICE cars are eligible for up to $4,000 in tax credits and can qualify as CARB AT-PZEV vehicles (which the Volt at first did not). No one's stirring up much excitement for them, however, and they're not seen as new technology so they're not receiving loan money for R&D. All they manufacturers have made fleet CNG vehicles, I believe, so it's not like they need to figure out how to do it, or that there is an expectation for the CNG ICE technology to evolve significantly with additional R&D expense. The main thing they're lacking is momentum, though a higher-visibility refueling network and more available cars would help, too.
          Anne
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sean McCarthy
          What better solution? Don't keep us in suspense. Oh the agony!
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sean McCarthy
          If you're into two wheels, there is an electric motorcycle manufacturer that offers a 6 speed transmission! ... i forget the name of the company.. :(
          Ryan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sean McCarthy
          You can have a manual EV without the stalling part.
        sixpackdan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @purrpullberra
        logical? really? MOST of us cant and or wont afford a 90k toy/commuter. Most of us need to get to other places and cant sit while the car charges. Never mind the limited range on most electrics and that recharge time is the killer. If I want to drive to see my parents there 800 miles away. Two tanks and im there in 11 hours. How long would it take in this???? Want to talk "logical"?
        justgoawaymad
        • 2 Years Ago
        @purrpullberra
        logical? really? MOST of us cant and or wont afford a 90k toy/commuter. Most of us need to get to other places and cant sit while the car charges. Never mind the limited range on most electrics and that recharge time is the killer. If I want to drive to see my parents there 800 miles away. Two tanks and im there in 11 hours. How long would it take in this???? Want to talk "logical"?
          Nick
          • 2 Years Ago
          @justgoawaymad
          Woah 800 miles, whenever I need to travel that distance I'd rent a car. Its not worth putting that many miles on mine.
          raughle1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @justgoawaymad
          If your parents loved you they'd live closer.
          Sorten Borten
          • 2 Years Ago
          @justgoawaymad
          Well, there are cars at all price ranges. The Model S isn't competing against the Honda Civic, it's competing against BMWs, Porsches and Mercedes that cost as much or more. How often do you drive 800 miles to see your parents? That's a crazy drive! I would just hop on a plane, but if the Model S were your only car and you didn't want to fly then you'd probably rent a car for $40. For normal drives (the average American drives < 30 miles per day) the Model S would need to be charged once or twice per week. I'm assuming that you sleep at least a few hours each night.
          Anne
          • 2 Years Ago
          @justgoawaymad
          Just stick with whatever works for you. No need to get all excited. No one is pointing a gun at you forcing you to trade in your gasser for an EV. You logic error is to think that as long as you can come up with far-fetched scenarios in which the EV comes short, the EV will be a failure. You don't have to appeal to 100% before you can start selling something. Heck, even 1% is enough to get your company going. Oh, wait, that is exactly what Tesla is doing...
          Anne
          • 2 Years Ago
          @justgoawaymad
          Oh, and you might want to read this, how some fresh Model S owners are taking their new car home themselves from the Fremont, CA factory all across the USA: http://teslamodelsxc.wordpress.com/
      • 2 Years Ago
      SMASH TESLA! THOR SMASH. SMASH SMASH!! THOR SMASH TESLA!!!!!
      Grendal
      • 2 Years Ago
      For those who claim that no customers have received their cars, here is a forum thread from a new owner detailing his experiences with his new car that he received on 9/8/12: http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/10078-First-experiences-with-our-Model-S-(Dadaleus-story) It's got over 19 pages of questions and answers. He is not alone. People are receiving their cars every day.
      • 2 Years Ago
      This video gets me excited! but as the initial excitement settles, the voice of reason comes in: There has been a considerable amount of hype for the Model S so far, yet they haven't even delivered the real customer cars yet. The 'founders' or 'signature' cars are not even all delivered. from some of the latest photos of the car, it's DEFINITELY not as great as they claim it to be regarding design, fit & finish, quality, etc., i.e. carpet edges showing, large gap mismatch in the tail lamps, etc... and having sat in and tested out the cars they have in their store, I feel the photos are far superior to the actual cars. I will not get fooled. I do really hope this car is as good as they claim it to be, in real life, but so far I'm far from convinced, and so far all they've done is A LOT of TALKING. Tesla claims to deliver 5000 vehicles this year, and Elon is also taking the high road of stepping on other EV companies to promote how great and revolutionary his Tesla is. Very CLASSY. If he is really inspecting the cars himself to promote good quality, he will have to inspect about 40 cars per day. He probably won't be checking every car, which is fine. But for Elon to boast the special attention he's put into checking the cars (which he is definitely not professionally qualified to do) and then come around and say the standards are not perfect is a huge contradiction. Nothing is ever perfect of course, but for Elon to call out other company's imperfections, and claim that his cars are superior to other, then come around and say "well we're NOT perfect neither and hope everyone understands"...sir, that's being a HYPOCRITE. I really hope these EV companies gain traction, because as much as I love powerful cars, we MUST transition into the next era of energy and automobiles. this takes not ONE dude or company, but an INDUSTRY. it takes cooperation. anyone who thinks he can single-handedly accomplish this is naive and ignorant, not to mention EGOTISTIC.
        • 1 Day Ago
        I don't DJ, I was quite convinced of how good the Model S will be. It looks nice, sounds like it will be fun to drive, from what Tesla has been saying, it is the next BIG thing. Although you do have some valid points. Me too have yet to see the actual production cars, and the prototype they have in the showroom is just garbage. Half the features weren't working. I asked them how long is the wait and she told me at least 1-1.5 years. Also i wish they had better interiors, not up to the expectations is this price range. I'm thinking of putting my money down for it, but the more I see and read, the better it sounds and yet the less confident I feel. May be it's just a gut feeling, but I'm heavily re-thinking this Model S. Like every car ever made, the first cars will surely have problems, that's why it's been a know car-buying rule of thumb to NOT buy a new car in its first year of release. because They're fixing all sorts of problems in the first year or two. I really hope Tesla is being realistic and truthful to themselves and, most importantly, to customers like me.
        Anne
        • 1 Day Ago
        "yet they haven't even delivered the real customer cars yet. The 'founders' or 'signature' cars are not even all delivered." Liar alert! At least 250 non-founder customers have gotten notice that their car is ready and can schedule a delivery date. Probably 100 of those have gotten hold of their car already. there is a partial list here: http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/9489-Model-S-Delivery-Update This list is not complete, many customers do not visit the forum and the list is not accurately maintained.
          Anne
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Anne
          To clarify my point: 'signature' cars customers are 'real' customers.
      NY EVO X MR GUY
      • 2 Years Ago
      I cannot wait until they have longer EV range. I think 400+ range would be groundbreaking
        thor.petersen
        • 1 Day Ago
        @NY EVO X MR GUY
        No it will not. Even a 600 mile range will not do the trick, as long as you need 20 hours to recharge it after each 600 mile leg. THAT is the HUGE diff between a GAS car with a 400 mile range, and a pure EV with same range!!!!
          raughle1
          • 1 Day Ago
          @thor.petersen
          I heard of this guy who can drive 2000 miles in one sitting. He wears a diaper and goes to full service gas stations so he doesn't even have to get out of the car. An electric car would be completely useless for that guy.
          Jake
          • 1 Day Ago
          @thor.petersen
          I think a 600-mile range with an 8-hour charge time should do it. That's probably as much as most people are willing to drive in a day, and then both the driver and the car can "re-charge" overnight.
          Ian Bruce 伊恩·布鲁斯
          @thor.petersen
          You don't generally charge from a flat state any more than you empty your gas tank before you get a fill-up every time. Topping off, or charging to 80% is much more common. But if you car's in your garage all night sitting on a inductive charger, who the fug cares? BTW: It's been demonstrated that shooting batteries thru with carbon nano-wires dramatically decreases charging times. Once that's commercialized, charging your vehicle could take less time than filling it with gas. (!!!!!)
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 1 Day Ago
          @thor.petersen
          Ah, someone's never heard of a quick charger.
        FoxJ30
        • 1 Day Ago
        @NY EVO X MR GUY
        200-400 mi with quick recharge time (20 mins or less) would be fine for me - I wanna stretch after 3-4 hours most of the time anyway. or 1200 miles so that I'm not worn out before my car is... that works out to about 16-20 hrs of highway driving. but the model s is a great first step. remember, the first cars had 1-2 gallon tanks and no filling stations - useless compared to a horse and some hay.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Anyone know the soundtrack used in the Monster Tajima piece?
      Kenneth E
      • 2 Years Ago
      The author calls the model S a hatchback. I thought it was a sedan? Hmmm :D
        Domenick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Kenneth E
        Actually, the author used "fastback" earlier in the article and "sedan" later. The second reference was changed to "hatchback" by an editor.
        thor.petersen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Kenneth E
        It's both. Really a 5-door hatch.
        Sean McCarthy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Kenneth E
        It is a hatchback (not to be confused with a wagon), it just means the rear window is a part of the trunk lid. It keeps the sedan look but has easier access to the boot.
      Chris M
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looks like Tesla has another customer!
      Carma Racing
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bet he doesn't buy one with his own money at retail.
      libertedelacroix
      • 2 Years Ago
      For the morons who keep bringing up charge time.... what do you do when you run out of gas and the nearest gas station is 40 miles away??? That is a much more plausible scenario. Does that mean your gas cars are just as much of a failure as EVs? The real solution is public transportation. Car enthusiasts would have to stick to a track, but imagine, if cars were replaced by mass transit, there would be no need for car regulation, which means if you buy a "car" from BMW, Lambo, Audi, MB, etc it just might have that 500 hp engine and 2200 lb curbweight we all pine for, all for tens of thousands cheaper than what they cost now. Without mass consumption of cars, we would not need all the safety tech and features, just a roll cage and airbags. Sure, we will not see the nice cars driven by others on a daily basis, but it will leave the car industry to those that matter- the enthusiasts. At the same time, it would be much better environmentally as well as providing free transportation for every citizen. Our dependence on foreign oil would lessen as well. Too bad America went from being the worlds best innovators and leaders to a country of mass consumerism and selfishness. Everything is about me me me me, and if I want to get a 6 wheel turbo diesel truck that gets 10 mpg (even though I never haul anything), then gosh darn that is my right! Screw everyone else and their lungs! THAT THIS HURR IS AMERICAAAAA, TAKE YER GAD-DANG SOCIALISM AND MASS TRANSIT AND OBAMACARE TO EUROPE, COMMIE!!!
        bimmers50e30
        • 2 Years Ago
        @libertedelacroix
        Hey, someone with a brain :-)... now lets go read the dumbs dumbs responses.... Also while on the topic. I had fun explaning to my redneck friend that his crazy smokeing diesel truck is badly down on power. He laughed and called me stupid.... I laughed and told him to do a google search about diesel tuneing.
        - v o c t u s -
        • 2 Years Ago
        @libertedelacroix
        wait, so you think that if cars were only designed to be raced on a track, they would cost LESS? Is your head that far up there?
        thor.petersen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @libertedelacroix
        Worthless retard: YOU calling anybody a moron is the pot kalling the kettle black. Get an effing job so you can free your parent's basement. Clown!
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @libertedelacroix
        Maybe its me, but your rant made no sense.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @libertedelacroix
        Heh. Where do you live, and have you taken public transportation before? I spent a few years in Portland, OR. and was attracted by the public transport system initially, but it turns out that it was more expensive than a car and less versatile. As a youngster, i took the bus because i had no car. That bus trip ate up over 2 hours a day. I have found an interesting third way, and that is the electric bicycle and electric motorcycle. But look, here's the reality - most people are fine with cars. As the price of gas goes up, they will seek alternatives naturally. Public transport gives you less freedom and that is a problem. It also tends to be not price competitive. Look at the driver and maintenance salary and you'll find out why.
          Nick
          • 1 Day Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          2WM It depends where you are. In dense cities like NYC or Hong Kong, the subway system is the ideal way of going from point A to B. It would actually take longer to attempt driving, especially during peak hours... and public transport costs a lot less than owning a car. Not sure how you can say otherwise.
          • 1 Day Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          I stay in Delhi and I commute by the local metro rail. Just to reach my office that is 35 kms away, I take my car to local metro station that is 2.5 kms away, then take two different metros to reach the station that is 5 kms away from my work place. I take a bus for those last 5 kms. The whole journey takes 105 mts and costs 65 rupees. On the days that i have to take my car to my work place it costs me 90 minutes and 175 rs. So i lose 15 minutes in one way commute and save 110 rs each way and 220 rs both ways. For a 25 day work month i save rs 5500. Considering the fact that it is roughly 10 % of my monthly salary i think it really makez a lot of sense using the public commute .
        GuyClinch
        • 2 Years Ago
        @libertedelacroix
        Outside of NYC and DC - most public transportation in the US is pretty awful in my experience. What you have to understand is that things like trains and buses are only really efficent if they pack alot of people in them. This means that unfortunately it will always be less comfortable then driving around in a big comfy SUV with a powerful AC. This will be even more apparent when cars can drive themselves. Its actually going to be the exact opposite - when cars drive themselves EVERYONE is going to want one and the roads will be packed. Public transportation will lose out..to self driving cars..
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love the haters that can't get it through their thick skulls that EVs are a reality. They aren't science fiction any longer. And no matter how much these clueless folks bitch and moan, they are here, and here to stay. No one is saying that right now they are for everyone. Just like I wouldn't want a Toyota iQ for some cross-country trip, nor would I ever want to drive an enormous SUV in NYC. Same deal with EVs. If I have a garage, and my commute is under 40 miles, like it is for the vast majority of folks, then an EV could very well serve my needs. If however, you drive 200+ miles a day, then not only are EVs not for you, but you probably should think about moving closer to your work/school/whatever. The advances made in EV technology are coming at a faster rate than the improvements for the ICE, so its only a matter of time before the range on EVs starts to climb, all while prices drop. Oh and here is one last comment for the haters that always mention recharge time: ~100 years ago, there weren't gas stations on the corner of every block. Refueling your gasoline engine wasn't exactly a easy, nor convenient thing to do. But just like how gas stations started popping up everywhere as gasoline cars become more popular, so too will recharge stations. You'll drive to a local restaurant for dinner with 75% charge on your EV, park in a charging location and come back after dinner to a car that could very well be 100% charged.
        thor.petersen
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Hazdaz
        you savage retard. EVs were a reality 100 years ago,k you damned, hisrorically illiterate fool, and they FAILED as miserably then as they are most deservedly failinjg NOW. They are NOT serious transportation and everybody with half a brain, that is not a savage geeenie MINDLESS FANATIC, KNOWS IT. They are toys for the very wealthy who can afford 6 cars per family or much more. THEN everybody int heir family can have a REAL car they can take on a long trip, AND the golf cart EV to take to the MALL.
          Ian Bruce 伊恩·布鲁斯
          @thor.petersen
          Speaking of historical Illiteracy, cars used to be "toys for the wealthy" too... $60 to $100K in today's dollars.
          mawhalen53
          • 1 Day Ago
          @thor.petersen
          I think you need to seek professional help man, that anger is normal. EVs failed 100 years ago because battery technology was in its infancy. Advances in technology have made battery power viable once more, and things will only improve from here. Why are EVs a toy for the wealthy? The Model S signature is expensive, yes. But the forthcoming cheaper variants are easily on par with the prices of German sedans, which are owned by normal people with fewer than 6 cars. But I have a feeling that facts aren't going to change your opinion. Why are you so angry? There are a lot of legitimate things to focus your anger on, this is just going to drive up your blood pressure and stress you out. Chill man.
          ADDvanced
          • 1 Day Ago
          @thor.petersen
          You mad bro?
          purrpullberra
          • 1 Day Ago
          @thor.petersen
          So sad, so savage and sad. What a joke. I've heard an angry 5 year old with more sense and decency. And every 5 year old alive knows more than Thor ever will. Let's see if we can run him from 99% insane to 100%. Is your anger attributable to lack of big powerful car or a baby appendage? Nothing else makes sense.
          ADDvanced
          • 1 Day Ago
          @thor.petersen
          BTW, I don't see what's stopping the "average" family from having a small EV for commuting/daily tasks, and a big gas ******* suburban for long trips, towing the boat, and hauling big stuff.
          A_Guy
          • 1 Day Ago
          @thor.petersen
          Why do you use the word savage? I'm not sure I understand the context. Also, you rip on EVs for taking it to the mall, as if it's sillier than the brigade of H2s and other pavement pounders you see in the parking lot that never do anything other than that. And really, a two car family could do what you say anyways. Even a one-car family could if you do like many people and rent cars for trips.
    • Load More Comments