Driven: Tesla Roadster!

March 23, 2009

“Thrust. Pure, seamless, unstoppable, rocket-to-the-moon thrust. That’s what the 2009 Tesla Roadster is all about.”

So declares GreenCarReports.com editor-in-chief John Voelcker, who just drove the Roadster this past week. His Bottom Line review of this thrilling all-electric sports car posts today on TheCarConnection.com.

That Voelcker was able to spend a few hours with the Roadster is in itself a feat. Previously TheCarConnection.com’s exposure has been limited to spins around the block or ride-alongs with company staff; pushed-back production dates, looming gearbox issues, and a very limited number of prototypes certainly haven’t helped either.

Finally, the $109,000 Roadster is in production, with 20 cars a week being delivered, and the backlog of 1,000-plus orders is falling. And with dealerships in the works in Chicago, DC, Miami, New York, and Seattle, plus London and Munich, routine maintenance or repairs will no longer be so daunting.

With its expensive lithium-ion battery pack, the Roadster has one of the longest claimed ranges of any production electric car to date: up to 244 miles. Does this hold in real-world driving? Quite possibly, but this time we weren’t exactly doing an economy run. The system indicated 202 miles of range at the start of his drive, but 58 miles later it had fallen to 110 miles remaining—“underscoring that aggressive driving will drain the batteries in the 2009 Tesla Roadster much quicker than steady-speed cruising,” explains Voelcker, who says a bit more about 'range vs. vroom' in this GreenCarReports.com post.

2009 Tesla Roadster

2009 Tesla Roadster

Enlarge Photo

Of course, as part of that aggressive driving he does admit to hitting triple-digit speeds at one point, driving mostly on twisty, hilly roads, and confesses [insert grin] that he “used the sheer, raw, relentless power over and over again, just for the hell of it.” Brimming with EV enthusiasm, Voelcker declares: “Forget rev bands, shift points, heel-and-toeing. They’re so last century. The Tesla Roadster will make you a convert to electric power. You just have to drive it.”

We also learned that while the Tesla Roadster might be one of the most exclusive cars in the world, it might not always seem that way around Silicon Valley. “While I was parked on a switchback to take pics, a dark green Tesla (probably one of the Founder's Series) came whizzing by in the other direction,” mused Voelcker. “Only in the foothills above Silicon Valley would two Teslas pass each other.”

In addition to the new Bottom Line review on the Roadster, you’ll find specs, photos, and related news all here at TheCarConnection.com.

And—we’ll be in Southern California Thursday as Tesla pulls the wraps off its long-anticipated Model S sedan. Stay tuned.

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