The Tesla was the world’s first sexy electric car. Fast enough to worry a Porsche 911 Turbo or Ferrari 599, the neck-jerking torque and devastating, silent acceleration felt uncanny. Brainchild of PayPal founder Elon Musk, it used a Lotus Elise chassis, stored power in 6,800 laptop batteries, and was the first electric vehicle (EV) to have a range of more than 200 miles (322 km) on a three-and-a-half hour charge.
With zero tailpipe emissions and a theoretical fuel consumption of 120 mpg (51 km/l), its green credentials were unimpeachable, but it also gave the struggling EV market glamour and desirability. Without the ferociously fast Tesla, electric cars wouldn’t have come as far as they have. This sparky little roadster remains one of the great technological landmark cars of the 21st century.
The biggest barrier to volume electric car sales has always been “range anxiety,” or the fear of running out of battery power. But in 2010 Tesla cleverly and successfully drove a roadster round the world, and owners often achieved over 300 miles (482 km) to one charge.
The Lotus Elise chassis and suspension gives scalpel-sharp handling.
Slippery aerodynamics and lightweight construction make it as fast as a Lamborghini Gallardo.
Removable roof panel makes a quick convertible.
Drilled, ventilated four-wheel discs are extremely powerful.
Owners have a home charging unit that simply plugs in, and can also top up at the office or at a street charger, if they can find one.
Fast charging system is twice as quick as most other Evs.
Wing ducts help cool batteries and brakes.
S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
MODEL Tesla Roadster (2007)
BODY STYLE Two-door, two-seater.
CONSTRUCTION Steel chassis, carbon-fiber panels.
ENGINE 185-kw electric motor.
POWER OUTPUT 248 hp.
TRANSMISSION Single-speed Borg Warner.
BRAKES Four-wheel discs.
MAXIMUM SPEED 125 mph (201 km/h) (limited)
0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 3.9 sec
0–100 MPH (0–161 KM/H) 12 sec
A.F.C. Theoretical 120 mpg (51 km/l)