2008 Tesla Roadster


Pros: Handles well, high torque, great eye candy

Cons: A little pricey, only fits two people

As a green car online journalist, I was fortunate enough to take the Tesla out for a short test drive at their new dealership on May 9. The car I drove was a prototype, but it performed very well. For more details, see the following video and review article:

YouTube Video

Triple Pundit Takes Tesla for a Spin


I haven't actually driven one of these. But as I was zipping along 101N this afternoon, I noticed a dark orange Lotus-style body coming up behind me. I've been keeping my eye out, so I took a quick look as it went by and discovered that it was actually a Tesla.

Lo and behold I decided to chase this flashy orange electric supercar in my own flashy supercar ('86 Volvo, beige). Traffic was moderate so I switched lanes to follow the Tesla and perhaps give its driver a hearty thumbs-up. Obviously the Tesla driver was bent on putting the car through its paces (employee test-drive, perhaps?) and zipped in and out of the holes in traffic, punching the rapid-response accelerator with the greatest of ease. It was real-life Frogger at 85 miles an hour, beautiful to behold.

I could only keep up for a couple of minutes before the Volvo's lack of pickup dashed my chances of a successful chase. But I can definitely confirm that the Tesla is a hell of a car. Everyone else on the road looked like they were standing still. Impractical as it is, it is still so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.


Pros: Fast, Sexy, Electric

Cons: 2 Seats, WAY TOO EXPENSIVE!!!

This just isnt a realistic car for most people to buy. The people who buy this car are the ones who already have a Ferrari.


There are some advantages to having an electric car. If you like having a unique car, then the Tesla might work for you. An average American will be able to use the car to get to and from work and will not have to charge the car for three or four days. According to Tesla you can recharge the battery at roughly two cents per mile. By that measure it equals out to less the five dollars per recharge. The roadster goes 0-60 miles per hour in four seconds. This makes the Tesla Roadster one of the fastest accelerating cars on the road. If you are a car buff, that's impressive.

There are some disadvantages to the Tesla Roadster as well. After 100,000 miles the battery will need to be replaced. You might end up spending a good amount of money for a new one. However, if you can afford to pay the price of the car, then a new battery will not be a big deal. When you need to charge the battery, make sure to leave some time because it takes about three and a half hours to fill the battery.

Unfortunately for Tesla, but fortunate for you, the electric and hybrid market is growing rapidly. Zap, Electric Transport, Fisker and Phoenix motor cars are companies that make electric vehicles. Tesla also competes with General Motors, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Honda who are all working on hybrid cars.

The roadster is a high end sports car that will compete with any other kind in its particular class. The Tesla roadster could be a great alternative to people who like to have a different car to show off with. It offers near zero emissions and a gas saving way to get around town. If you have the money to spend, then Tesla might be a car you want to look into.

2008 Tesla Roadster

The Tesla Roadster is the upcoming Electric Sports Car: 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds, 200 mile range, and NO gasoline involved. From the Tesla site: When you build a car that's electric, you start with one built-in advantage: Electric cars just don't have to be as complex mechanically as the car you're probably driving now. Sophisticated electronics and software take the place of the pounds and pounds of machinery required to introduce a spark and ignite the fuel that powers an internal combustion engine. For example, the typical four-cylinder engine of a conventional car comprises over a hundred moving parts. By comparison, the motor of the Tesla Roadster has just one: the rotor. So there's less weight to drive around and fewer parts that could break or wear down over time. But the comparison doesn't end with the counting of moving parts. The engine and transmission of a conventional car also need lubricating oils, filters, coolant, clutches, spark plugs and wires, a PCV valve, oxygen sensors, a timing belt, a fan belt, a water pump and hoses, a catalytic converter, and a muffler — all items requiring service, and all items that aren't needed in an electric car. The Tesla Roadster's elegantly designed powertrain consists of just the four main components. Mind you, these aren't "off-the-shelf" components, and each includes innovations, both small and large. But when you build a car from the ground up, you have the luxury of questioning every assumption — and to distill as you reinvent. The base price for the 2008 Tesla Roadster is $98,000 US. This figure will increase for future models as the vehicle is currently manufactured in Europe - Tesla Motors cites the exchange rate between the dollar and the euro for the bulk of the price increase.

Engine3-phase, 4-pole electric motor
Additional Features125 mph top speed, 2 speed electrically actuated manual transmission
Fuel Economy Hwy (MPG)135 mpg equivalent
Fuel TypeAll-electric (plug-in)
Fuel Economy City (MPG)135 mpg equivalent
Miles per Charge220
Body TypeConvertible
EV TypeHighway speed vehicle
Top Speed
Release Date2008
Release StatusLimited Release
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Huddler.com Exclusives

First Look

Huddler.com first look - SF Green, San Francisco, May 2007


Intro to the Tesla Roadster (Part 1 through Part 4)





Tesla Roadster Burnout



Recent News


July 12th, 2008 - Tesla Motors CEO/President Ze'ev Orori announced that Tesla Roadster has unclogged the logjam that had been halting delivery of their orders and they would now ramp up to delivering 4 per month for the next several months, and get up to production of 100 roadsters per month by the end of the year.


In other news, the Drivetrain 1.5 is completed and will be installed in all new Tesla's starting in September. Also, the second Tesla store is opening in Menlo Park, CA.


Technology Comparision

Tesla Motors released a white paper in October 2006 comparing well-to-wheel efficiency (well-to-wheel refers to the entire life of the fuel - from the point when the raw fuel is abstracted from its source [i.e. the well] to the point it turns into your vehicle's motion [i.e. the wheel]; well-to-wheel allows for a standard metric to compare different fuel types), well-to-wheel carbon dioxide emissions, and 0 to 60 miles per hour acceleration for a variety of technologies and example cars. In each case, the Tesla came in first (the Prius came in second for well-to-wheel efficiency and emissions but came in 6th in terms of acceleration).




Example Car Gas Mileage Well-to-Wheel Efficiency Well-to-Wheel CO2 Emissions 0 to 60 mph Acceleration
Electric Tesla Roadster 110 Wh/km 1.15 km/MJ 46.1 g/km 3.9 sec
Gasoline Engine (Turbo 6-cyl) Porsche Turbo 22.0 mpg 0.22 km/MJ 328.2 g/km 4.2 sec
Gasoline Engine (V12) Ferrari 550 Maranello 11.7 mpg 0.12 km/MJ 617.1 g/km 4.7 sec
Gasoline Engine (V8) Chevrolet Corvette 25.0 mpg 0.25 km/MJ 288.8 g/km 4.8 sec
Gasoline Engine (VTEC 4-cyl) Honda Civic VX 51.0 mpg 0.52 km/MJ 141.6 g/km 9.4 sec
Diesel Engine (4-cyl) VW Jetta Diesel 50.0 mpg 0.48 km/MJ 152.1 g/km 11.0 sec
Natural Gas Engine (4-cyl) Honda CNG 35.0 mpg 0.32 km/MJ 165.0 g/km 12.0 sec
Hybrid (3-cyl Gas/Electric) Toyota Prius 55.0 mpg 0.56 km/MJ 131.3 g/km 10.3 sec
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Honda FCX 64 mi/kg 0.35 km/MJ 151.7 g/km 15.8 sec

Table from: Eberhard, M. & M. Tarpenning. (Oct. 6, 2006). The 21st century Electric Car (PDF). Tesla Motors. Retrieved on Dec. 3, 2007.


Delays on Delivery

Originally, the Tesla Roadster was to be delivered during the 2007 summer. Then the release date was pushed to October 2007. But in September, the interim CEO Michael Marks sent a letter to customers announcing another delay. At this point, 50 Roadsters will ship during the first quarter of 2008 and another 600 will ship during the rest of the 2008 model year. According to Darryl Siry, Tesla's VP of Sales, Marketing and Service, the primary cause of the delay has been issues with durability and reliability of the transmission (he has also said that the initial rumors of issues with the lithium-iron batteries are entirely untrue).


How To Buy A Tesla Roadster

  1. If you live in the United States, visit the Tesla website to configure your vehicle.
    • You will have the option to select options and accessories including satelitte radio, a touch-screen navigation system with voice guidance, a carbon fiber hardtop, Bluetooth integration, a 7-speaker sound system, custom floor mats, and a mobile charging system. You will also be able to select one of twelve exterior colors and one of four interior colors.
    • Fill out your contact information.
    • Submit your form and send in your $5,000 deposit. This will put you on the wait list (depending on manufacturing, you may be able to receive a 2008 model; if you are not offered a 2008 model, you will be in line for a 2009 model).
    • When you come to the top of the wait list, if a car is available, a Tesla Motors consultant will contact you. You may then choose to put down a $30,000 deposit for the car (your wait list fee of $5,000 will be credited to your $30,000 deposit). You will be sent an approximate delivery date.
    • Upon receipt of your deposit, you will be given access to an exclusive online portal in which you can modify your vehicle's configuration, among other things.
    • Wait for your car to be delivered.
  2. If you live outside of the initial key markets (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Miami) where service centers will be located, you will be charged an additional $8,000 service fee.
  3. If you live in Hawaii or Alaska, Tesla Roadsters are not yet available in your states.
  4. If you live outside of the United States, Tesla Roadsters are not yet available.
  5. If you have already given your deposit for your Roadster and decide you are no longer interested, you $5,000 deposit is refundable (minus $100 for processing). The $30,000 deposit is refundable until three months before the production of your car.


Current Tesla Roadster Pre-Orders (unconfirmed):

  1. Sergey Brin - Google
  2. Larry Page - Google
  3. George Clooney
  4. Dennis Haysbert
  5. Martin Eberhard - former Tesla CEO
  6. Elon Musk - Tesla Chairman of the Board
  7. Michael Marks - former CEO of Flextronics, interim Tesla CEO
  8. Chris Paine - writer and director, "Who Killed the Electric Car"
  9. Dean Devlin - producer "Who Killed the Electric Car"
  10. Scott Burns - producer, "An Inconvenient Truth"
  11. Arnold Schwarzenegger / Maria Shriver - Actor/politician & his wife
  12. Gavin Newsom - San Francisco Mayor
  13. Nicholas Pritzker - Hyatt hotel CEO
  14. Eric Stang - Reliant CEO
  15. Brian Halla - CEO of National Semiconductor
  16. Matt Damon - Actor
  17. Will.I.Am - Singer
  18. Michael "Flea" Balzary - Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist
  19. Jim Marver - VantagePoint Venture Partners
  20. Steve Jurvetson - Venture Capitalist
  21. Jon Faiz Kayyem - Managing Partner of Efficacy Capital Ltd
  22. Rob Wilder - CEO of WilderShares LLC
  23. Dean Kamen - New Hampshire inventor
  24. Jeff Skoll - formerly of eBay
  25. Jon Mittelhauser - co-founded Netscape Communications
  26. Stephen Casner - Fellow, Packet Design
  27. Bob Bressler - Owner of Bressler Vineyards
  28. Don Cox - Professor of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University
  29. Earl Cox - Don Cox's son
  30. Rich Chen - formerly of Google
  31. Josh Hannah - Flutter.com president
  32. Tom & Cathy Saxton
  33. Bill Bennett
  34. Doug Cheeseman - adventure tour operator
  35. Farzad Nazem - Ex Yahoo! CTO
  36. Loren Carpenter - Pixar co-founder
  37. Julie Chaiken - sportswear designer
  38. Allen Skolnick
  39. Barry Skolnick - CAMBR CEO
  40. Don Ruggiero - CAMBR CFO
  41. Corinne - El Dorado Hills, CA
  42. Greg Woulf
  43. Simon Hackett - ISP Representative, Australia
  44. Matt - Domain broker from NY
  45. Michael Valentine
  46. Scott Byer - Photoshop Architect from Cupertino, CA
  47. Steve Stevens - AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories
  48. Tony Belding - Blogger from Hamilton, TX
  49. Don Auker - EV fan from Lebanon, PA
  50. Linda Nicholes - EV activitist