The Tesla Roadster seemed like an offering from a flash in the pan start-up that would inevitably fail. Produced by Tesla Motors (now Tesla Inc.) in a production run that spanned 2008-2012, the Louts Elise based electric sports car chalked up a measly 2,450 sales globally.
Fast forward to 2018, the Tesla Roadster is a footnote in the meteoric rise of the Silicon Valley based Electric Vehicle manufacturer. Tesla delivered more than 100,000 vehicles globally in 2017, including 1410 in Australia. In 2018, thanks to the mass market Tesla Model 3, Tesla is on track to deliver more than 250,000 vehicles globally. Tesla have also announced a 400km/h successor to the original Tesla Roadster.
The Tesla Roadster Sport is powered by a 53-kilowatt-hour battery pack that produces 215kW of power and 400Nm of torque – enough to propel the 1238kg roadster to 100km/h in 3.7-seconds. The Tesla Roadster Range is estimated to be 380km in mixed driving conditions, but this can creep south very quickly with liberal use of the throttle. Just like the Lotus Elise on which it is based, the Tesla Roadster squeezes the engine in the middle of the car for ideal weight distribution.
So then, the Tesla Roadster is significantly faster than its donor car the, but how does it stack up in other areas? Well, for starters, it’s a very different driving experience. Maximum power and torque are available from 0 RPM (as is the case with all Tesla’s) which means power is more usable in city driving conditions. Most notably, Tesla’s regenerative braking system means that the Roadster drives more like a remote control car and less like a real one. The Tesla relies on constant throttle application to keep moving, lift off the accelerator and the car will begin to brake.
When this car was purchased in 2012, the Tesla Roadster had an MSRP of $206,000. A number that could easily creep up towards a quarter of a million dollars with the addition of a few creature comforts. With an asking price of $135,000 and the potential to become a future classic, the Tesla Roadster Sport makes a very good case for itself against petrol powered rivals.