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Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By Cars.com Staff
March 4, 2010
Vehicle Overview The Tesla Roadster combines the performance of a high-end sports car — it can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, according to the automaker — with the environmental-friendliness of an all-electric drivetrain that emits zero emissions.
Built in limited numbers, the Roadster can travel nearly 250 miles on a charge, and its lithium-ion battery pack can recharge in 3.5 hours. A Sport version features quicker acceleration and an adjustable suspension. Competitors to the Roadster include the Porsche 911 and Audi R8.
What's changed for 2010 All Roadsters have a restyled interior with relocated center controls, new push-button transmission controls and a relocated vehicle information display. The Roadster Sport has a hunkered-down suspension and additional engine torque, which cuts zero-to-60-mph acceleration to 3.7 seconds.
Exterior The Roadster is about the size of a Lotus Elise, and Lotus builds the Roadster's chassis for Tesla. The Roadster has its own styling, but because the proportions of the cars are similar, it still brings to mind the Elise. The Roadster's body is made of carbon fiber.
Finned hood, LED taillights
Drivetrain mounted in the rear
Optional carbon fiber hardtop
16-inch front wheels, 17-inch rear wheels
Sport model has dark-finished wheels, unique badging
Interior The Roadster's cabin has a minimalist design, though its cabin looks slightly more conventional for 2010. The air-conditioning controls have been moved to a more conventional location below the stereo system, and last year's gearshift lever has been replaced by Park, Neutral, Drive and Reverse buttons.
Standard heated leather seats
Optional microfiber cloth seats
Optional full leather interior
Optional navigation system
Standard iPod-compatible CD stereo
Optional navigation system
Under the Hood The rear-wheel-drive Roadster is powered by an air-cooled electric motor that makes 288 horsepower and 273 pounds-feet of torque in base Roadster versions versus 295 pounds-feet of torque in Sport versions. Peak torque is available from 0 rpm, which is a boon for acceleration. The electric motor drives the wheels through a fixed gear, and the motor can function as a generator when decelerating to help recharge the battery pack. The electric motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack made up of 6,831 cells. The battery pack weighs nearly 1,000 pounds, and Tesla says it should last for five years or 100,000 miles.
Roadster Sport has 288 hp and 295 pounds-feet of torque
Zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds (Roadster) or 3.7 seconds (Roadster Sport)
Home charging station can charge battery in 3.5 hours
Optional plug for recharging Roadster from regular 120-volt outlet