Tesla Roadster Sport Information Panel
The first thing about the Boulder showroom that most people notice is that it isn’t unapproachable, in fact it is like most of Boulder—laid back and welcoming. The Tesla Motors dealership is on Pearl Street west of the walking mall in what used to be one of two dealerships that used to house this part of town. On hand to talk to us was Ricardo Reyes, VP Communications, Zak Edson, Director Product Planning and Tony Longhurst, Tesla Boulder Manager.
In coming articles we will talk more about some the unique qualities of the Tesla Roadster when you get up close and personal with it. Today, however, I want to focus on the ride. The Tesla Roadster isn’t a rebadged Lotus, in fact it is pretty far from it. The first thing you notice is the quiet operation. Some would say silent, but there is a distinct noise, almost a whir when you are driving. You will also notice the push button transmission operation in the center console and square touch-screen information panel just ahead of it under the climate controls (would guess it is 3.5”x3.5”).
Out on the road, it is quite the ride—and that isn’t just because I am 25. The car feels tight inside, like a lot of Italian cars and even some German cars. It has a familiar layout like the older Porsche 914s or Fiat X19 or more recent Lotus Elise and Porsche Boxster. It has an adjustable suspension and in its medium setting rides like any comparable performance sports car—for me it is quite pleasant, as I love a firm sports car suspension (and hate spoiler damaging speed bumps). The sound? Well, there really is only that whir and the wind noise so it is a unique experience, especially with the roof off.
The car accelerates just like advertised and the power is indeed immediate. The handling has been compared to that of a Porsche 911 since it has more weight near the rear axles, however the balance is close to the racing ideal of 60/40 rear/front. The thing that I am still amazed at is the force at which this car can push you back into your seat. I have been in some fast cars, but the g-force experienced in a Tesla is hard to compare to any other vehicle. And even better is the interesting anomaly that the Tesla doesn’t get slower at altitude—in fact it actually gets a little quicker the higher you go because the air is less dense. A welcome difference when you consider the 30% plus you loose with a naturally aspirated engine at altitude.
Bottom line—The Tesla dealers welcome you to come experience the car. They have a vested interest to show the world how they are trying to change the face of the automotive world. Be sure to stop by your local Tesla dealer and check one out.
Look for our future stories on the Tesla, including our own driving experience that we hope to report on very soon! Until then be sure to check out our other small electric car news on the Nissan Leaf Pre-orders and Honda CR-Z Sales in Japan.