Daily use - Feedback requested

Daily use - Feedback requested

(Cross posted to the Roadster group, as recommended)
I am planning to buy a roadster, however I would like to get owners opinions about normal commuting.

I have a 80 mile round trip commute which I currently make in a Toyota Spyder (and get fairly good mileage). I try to only commute 3 days a week, and telecommute the rest. I also take my cars to 150K+ miles.

I know that this is an ideal use for the car, as I would just top off the charge every night. And get better efficiency than gasoline.

However the vehicle seems more like a fancy show car than a commuter workhorse.

So, what are the opinions of current owners about using a vehicle as a daily use commute, and piling on miles rather quickly. If any owners/users use their vehicle in a similar manner, I'd like to get your thoughts.

(After browsing some of the posts, I see some positive comments on this type of question. However would still like to see some feedback)

Scott Weber
Arlington TX.

AlfredG | January 5, 2011

1) Range: Depends on speed and your habits. 150 miles are generally no problem - not even in winter.

2) Surprisingly and in contrast to many other "super cars", the roadster is exceptionally smooth and easy to drive in dense urban traffic. It is hard to describe the effect, but many owners have reported how they started to just use the roadster for commuting. The only reservation I would make is for mountainous regions in snowy weather where chains become indispensable and sometimes compulsory.
- Alfred

ida-intl | January 5, 2011

Range: 80 mile RT is no problem, urban or highway. Winter does reduce range slightly when you use power to heat cabin, but only marginally from my experience.

Utility: As a single person commuter - it's perfect. 2 people travel does take some thought as to your luggage (laptop, briefcase, etc) as there is little room in the cabin for extra items. I travel by myself, but keep cabin empty as I often give passenger rides.

Efficiency: Besides aforementioned winter aspect, like any other vehicle, taking it easy on the accelerator makes it efficient. I find that I look farther ahead for red lights in urban areas so I can come to as gradual a stop as possible with the regen. Quite surprisingly, I find that after several months of use, I don't jackrabbit off the stoplight much. I've noticed range is diminished slightly from hardtop, to soft-top, to top-down. Expected due to aerodynamics.

Comfort: I use mine as everyday driver, but at most drive 15k per year. Suspension is tight and you drive as on rails, but it is surprisingly reasonable on the road bumps for a sports car of this level. The seats are very nice and my longest trips are 180miles from CT-VT after which I'm not stressed or tired.

Given that my local municipality doesn't plow very well in winter, I hesitate to use every day during snowstorm due to low ground clearance. One driveway plowed into the street can leave a trail of snow into the travel lane that might be challenging.

scotty2541 | January 5, 2011

ida-intl: Thanks. Winter is not a problem here in Texas. If we get snow, it is barely a dusting.
As to storage space, isn't the trunk adequate? I've seen video of the trunk, and without the connector tossed in, it looks fine. Better then my MR2 Spyder which has only little bins behind the seats.
Anticipating red lights for regen is an interesting habit I had not thought about.

AlfredG: Thanks. It's very flat here is Texas. Shouldn't be a problem.

Thanks guys.

Earl and Nagin ... | January 6, 2011

I use our Roadster as my daily commuter (except when Nagin insists on her turn :-). It's about 80 miles round trip and the Roadster is pretty much perfect for a single person. Two people are possible but you have to do a little space planning if they each have gym bags and brief cases. The trunk isn't bad but I often carry a Mobile Connector and a car cover.
Not having to go to the gas station or change oil is a huge benefit for the Roadster. Regarding efficiency: There's nothing else that comes close except maybe the Leaf but the Roadster is a much better performer if you're spoiled by the MR2.
I always use the standard charge mode so it is good for the battery and always have plenty of range, even if something comes up and I have to run home during the day - although I have to hyper-mile to do 2 round trips with a standard charge.
I guarantee you won't be at all disappointed with the Roadster as your commuter.

uday | January 6, 2011

It's great as a commuter car - I live in Laguna and split my time between there and LA/San Diego, either of which is a 130-150 mile R/T. Very comfortable and the fun of driving it daily doesn't seem to get old. Provisioning for other baggage (passengers, backpack, etc.) which may change during the course of the day is the only real thought that goes into it. My bigger, supposedly more comfortable SUV now collects dust...

ida-intl | January 7, 2011

scotty2541: In the summer, I have achieved: the top rolled away, and two sets of golf clubs including shoes and some ancillary items. Though it did require removing a few drivers and the passenger holding those in the passenger area for the trip. I keep my clubs in the trunk all summer for when the urge hits, and that demands thoughtful packing of laptop, lunchbox, gymbag, etc.

SteveU | January 7, 2011

I use my Roadster as my every-day car. My commute is about 30 miles round-trip now. When I first got the Roadster I was going about 100 miles two days a week (and 30 the other 3). I also use it for all of my errands including grocery shopping (by myself... so I can put some of the bags on the passenger seat). I still have the gasoline car I had before I got the Roadster. I drive it about 1,000 miles per year and virtually all of that is to and from the airport for trips where I don't want to leave the Roadster unplugged in the airport parking. I can't imaging having a car like the Roadster and not driving it every chance you have!

scotty2541 | January 7, 2011

Well, clearly everyone loves it.

So, I guess I shouldn't worry about committing to a purchase without a test drive? I haven't been able to arrange getting near a dealer to try one out.



Douglas3 | January 7, 2011

If you can get to a store for a test drive, I guarantee you'll have a blast. I sure did!

If you're not quite sure yet... a test drive would definitely seal the deal.

dsm363 | January 8, 2011

This is an awesome car but I wouldn't buy something like this without at least a test drive. If you're thinking about spending this much money on a car, it's worth a short weekend vacation in Chicago or maybe CA (can check out Menlo Park store) for a test drive. You can set up the test drive ahead of time of course to make sure they're ready for you when you book your flight. You'll love the car.

Tesla 1233 | January 8, 2011

You need to drive the Raodster to make sure it is really a fit for you. I went into the dealership wanting to buy one, but before I did I drove it. I also asked to purchase a copy of the owner's manual because I wanted to read it before making the commitment. They gave me a copy. I read it, asked some additional questions, then I closed the deal.

Earl and Nagin ... | January 8, 2011

Have you spoken with anyone from Tesla about your desire to purchase and get a test drive? I believe they do have a demonstrator somewhere in Texas.
I highly recommend you open up a dialog with Tesla at 1-888-51TESLA or call one of their stores to discus what they can do to help you.

berend | January 9, 2011

HI Scott,

As long as You are not over 1,88 metres and have the money, buy it, it is really great to drive on a daily basis!

dsm363 | January 9, 2011

Actually, that's 6'2" and I'm 6'3" tall and I fit ok. You're right though, anyone over 6 feet tall should really test drive this car first (everyone should for a car this expensive) to make sure they're comfortable with the fit because it is tight. I can't see the top of the speedometer for instance but the speed is also displayed on the VDS.

Douglas3 | January 9, 2011

Every time I get in my other car, I find myself looking at the trip computer expecting to see my speed display...

dsm363 | January 9, 2011

I wish Tesla you put the speed instead of amps in that small grey screen below the gauges (has estimated mileage and odometer there too). Much quicker to look there than on the VDS.

dsm363 | January 9, 2011

I wish this forum had an edit function: I meant I wish Tesla would put the speed.... rest is the same.
I imagine they could fix that easily with a firmware update.

alanwwebb | January 9, 2011

We drive it almost every day, about 60 miles round trip. Exceptions are planned big grocery shopping, or deep snow. For smaller shopping, three or four bags, we can jam it into the trunk along with the riding helmets and box of horse treats and whatall. Unlike gas cars, electric cars are more efficient in stop-and-go because of the lower power drain at lower speeds, and the regularity of regeneration in traffic situations. And, it is the best car in the world for scooting through traffic. Texas has a lot of Teslas. Ask around.

Douglas3 | January 9, 2011

dsm363: +1 on the LCD screen showing vehicle speed.

scotty2541 | January 10, 2011

Yes, I have been communicating with the sales team since last summer, and have picked up the pace since December (financing approved, model configured, ...). I've had several long conversations about the vehicle, similar to what I might learn by reading the manual.
I have not had a reason to travel to a location where a store resides, and haven't had the desire to purchase airfare just to make a test drive trip.

I've been watching/wanting since last July. But no one has had any test drives in Texas. I could drive to anyplace in TX, OK, AK, LA,... to see one, if there were any around.

The one I want it already configured, but a 'showroom' destined vehicle is in transit, and I may just take it, as it's almost identical to what I configured.

I am ready to make a deposit, but I am waiting for a test drive opportunity and to be sure. It's not refundable once you sign the order (I'm told).


dsm363 | January 10, 2011

Scott: I'm pretty sure there are a lot of Roadster owners in the Dallas area. Have you tried to reach any of them? I think you'll want to test drive one before you buy but you'll love it, I'm sure.

Fly to Chicago on a Sat. morning, test drive the car and then eat dinner at Frontera Grill then fly back. Eating dinner there is almost worth the trip by itself.

scotty2541 | January 10, 2011

Thanks dsm.
On the advice of the sales rep, I just booked a trip to FLL. That way the wife and I can grab some seafood. Chicago steaks are good, but I can get enough steak here in Dallas :-). Seafood that makes it here has a tendency to be 'aged'.

I haven't been told of any Roadster owners in the DFW area. Although I understand there are a few in the state somewhere. I'd drive to a dealer, but would feel awkward imposing someone.

I looked a ORD, but didn't want to risk getting snowed in.

karin714417 | January 11, 2011

I have been using it daily for a month now. It's pure fun! Mainly for short trips on my own ( food, bags on the passenger seat). Today I even transported the cat to the vet by Tesla. It was the first time the poor cat didn't meow his lungs out! He even seemed to enjoy the ride (in a basket, of course) :-))

Vawlkus | January 11, 2011

Now there's a way to advertise, so quiet even pets like riding in it :D

Paul B | January 11, 2011

I have been driving my Roadster for my daily commute of 50 miles in the Chicago area for 24,000 miles over almost 2 years, only keeping it in the garage when there is a significant snowstorm (>1-2 inches), and it has not gotten old. In contrast to Ida-Intl, I can resist punching the accelerator and actually smile when a light turns yellow as I approach it. Having said that, I rarely need to use the brakes, due to regen. BTW Scotty, I think DFW has been more snowed in the last week than ORD :-).

Paul B

scotty2541 | January 17, 2011

After todays commute, I remembered my first conversation with the Tesla sales guy... And never posted it here.

How does the charge hold up when stuck in a 90-120 minute commuter traffic jam? The the A/C on?
That has happened to me on more than one occasion.

Any experiences? I'd hate to get stuck half way home and run out of electricity.

Still think you're less snowed in now, Paul :-)

Steve | January 17, 2011

The EV is much more efficient than a gasser in stop-and-go commute traffic because regen braking lets you use the friction brakes much less. When you are stopped, you are not using much power at all (no idling engine) except for the A/C. The A/C takes about 10% of the power required to cruise on the freeway, so an hour of sitting with the A/C on would be about 7 miles of range.

Timo | January 17, 2011

If A/C takes 10% that is about 1.5kW of power (assuming 60mph usage as baseline). For 50+kWh battery that means you can stay in traffic jam about day and a half before battery is dead.

Though I find that A/C figure a bit high. Initial heating/cooling takes quite a bit energy, but that is like accelerating car vs maintaining speed, maintaining that temperature takes a lot less (again this depends a lot of ambient temperature, in desert heat A/C would take a lot more energy than in nice +20C half-clouded day).

Vawlkus | January 18, 2011

10% is way off. I don't know the exact figures, but I remember reading on Tesla's site that running the heater or the A/C for EIGHT HOURS would knock about 10 to 15 miles off your range in a Roadster. Don't worry about gridlock, EVs do better at slow speeds and stop/starts don't bother them at all.

scotty2541 | January 18, 2011

Thanks guys. It's not the just sitting in traffic that made me wonder. I knew it takes no power to not move, and little power to crawl. It was the idea of an hour or more of A/C while not moving. The math behind the day and a half comment makes it tangible.

Douglas3 | January 18, 2011

Put it this way, the Roadster is most efficient at about 25 mph. Even with the A/C on you're going to go farther in slow traffic than you will going 65 mph!