My test drive - was I fair or not?

My test drive - was I fair or not?

I finally got to take a test drive.
In summary, performance exceeded my expectations. Interior construction caught me off guard.

About a dozen friends and family have heard my desire for this car, and then wanted feedback. Rather than have an hour conversation with everyone individually, initially I posted a summary on Facebook. Then I migrated it to a web site. I'll leave it up for a while to get some feedback from you forum people :-)

FYI. I haven't given up on making the purchase...

Please post comments back to this blog.

Arlington TX.

dsm363 | 9 februari 2011

That was a good write up. Yeah, the car is tiny but you get used to it. I actually think the interior is fairly well done. That small screen (the VDS) just shows basic information so I don't mind that it's not a high resolution screen. The Alpine unit is not the best but works ok.
I think you'd love the car. It's one of a kind.

scotty2541 | 9 februari 2011

dsm363.... I see a lot of positive info from you. Are you part of Tesla?
Just had to ask :-)

An acquaintance of mine says they have lost a few engineers from NASA to Tesla, and they love it. Since I am getting me EE, he tells me I should apply there too.
But I don't want to move to CA.

Tesla 1233 | 9 februari 2011

My responses to your web post:

The 3M paint guard clear plastic film is an extra cost purchase option.

You should be able to close the hood and trunk by holding it open a few inches and then letting it drop.

Getting into my Audi TT is about a difficult as getting into the Roadster.

You test drove a car with the "executive" (all leather) interior. You might like the standard a bit better (I do). It is likely you would purchase a car with a standard interior anyway because the all leather interior adds a lot to the price, and nothing to the acceleration.

You said the tight suspension made for a really bumpy ride. You were probably driving a Sport model which comes with adjustable shocks; they were probably adjusted on the hard side. You might find the ride on the basic Roadster a bit softer. The adjustable shocks (standard on the Sport) are an extra cost option on the standard Roadster. Discuss the adjustable shocks with the sales advisor.

Yes, the side mirrors are manual -- that was a surprise to me too. I would highly recommend that Tesla provide remote control mirrors for safety as well as convenience. One advantage of the Roadster is that you can accelerate quickly just prior to changing lanes, assuring nobody is along side of you.

I agree that the rear visibility is limited, but I have initially felt that way about other cars I have purchased then learned to adapt. I also agree that the interior is small (it is a small car) and not as flashy as either the exterior or the performance.

I too considered those things before I placed my order. Knowing that this is a limited addition car is what pushed me over the edge. I did not want to look back a few years from now and say, I wish I had bought a Roadster when I had the chance.

dsm363 | 10 februari 2011

I don't have any affiliation with Tesla, just have been following them for years and finally got a Roadster. I love it and drive it basically every day.

I agree, it takes time to get used to how basic the features are sometimes. Manual mirrors, non-movable steering column, seats that only slide back and forth...etc. This is a pure sports car though (have never owned anything like this) so you have to take that into account.

This is not the car for everyone. It's small, not that practical (if you need to haul lots of things around) since the trunk is so tiny, and expensive but it's an amazing car. Nothing moves like it and it attracts lots of attention. Someone wrote on here once "Owning a Roadster is the closest you'll ever be to being a rock star" and that's pretty accurate.

Jaffray | 10 februari 2011

Scotty, I think that you are fair in your observations...however, you must remember, the joy of driving any brand of "Roadster type" vehicle is the pure joy of driving...period.

Your criticisms of the interior, knobs, manually adjusted mirrors are all valid if you are stacking the Roadster up against a luxury performance vehicle...MB / Beemer / Audi / Lexus / et al...but, their interior fit & finish & softer, "luxury -performance" ride is not what the Roadster is all about.

The TM Roadster is more fun to drive than all of the above mentioned my opinion.

Fifty days ago, I was a Lexus guy, really enjoying the luxury performance ride of my Lexus I'm a Roadster guy, with my shocks set at 8 out of 10 for performance and not missing the luxury-performance ride at all...

For pure (and guilt-free green) driving joy, the Roadster is unrivaled imo.

ggr | 10 februari 2011

To "Tesla 1233", one minor correction. The trunk lid is sprung to open, so it must be closed by pushing down on the sides where the latches are one side at a time (or by two people). Letting go from a few inches up just allows it to open wide again.


scotty2541 | 10 februari 2011

Tesla 1233: My MR2 Spyder had much worse blind spots with the top up. I was surprised how bad it was. So the roadster is an improvement over what I'm used to. But my point was it will take getting used to.

Jaffray: I'm not considering for the 'green' factor. In Texas, they're not concerned with it. I'm only after the 'cool' factor.
The luxury ride is the Accura my wife drives. I was originally expecting something similar, but clearly not the same due to it's size.

I primarily wrote it for friends and family, but thought it would be a good read for other considering it.

Thanks guys.

dsm363 | 10 februari 2011

Well for the cool and unique factor, the Roadster wins I think. You'll see 10 times the number of Ferraris driving around the city as Roadsters. It's just so much fun to drive and leaving every morning with a 'full tank' and never having to go to a gas station is awesome.

Timo | 10 februari 2011

Also with that acceleration you can beat 99% of Ferraris out there in stoplights ;-) (that 1% is then really rare indeed and costs four times the Roadster).

scotty2541 | 11 februari 2011

I am surprised no one corrected my comment about the regen mode.
My sales rep told me that the brake lights do light up during regen. This afternoon I remembered that I had left that comment uncorrected on my Facebook writeup.

Anyway, I have another drive this weekend in Dallas. And I'm bringing someone else who may be interested as well.

Two days ago I followed a Lotus for a few miles. For a while I thought it was a Roadster, until I caught up with it.

Jaffray | 14 februari 2011

Scotty, if you have another Roadster drive this weekend, it might be a good idea to call in advance and ask the TM rep to have the Roadster Sport suspension adjusted to the softest ride might be a better yardstick to more fairly measure a Roadster set up in this manner against your wife's Acura.

Have fun!

Earl and Nagin ... | 15 februari 2011

If it had been a Roadster, you wouldn't have caught up with it >:-)
Seriously, though. The Roadster is pure sports car, focused on performance with just a nod to luxury.
Its a blast to drive whether you feel like getting sideways or just getting to work.
It definitely gets attention (not always good). Passing by gas stations all the time is very empowering, running off of the solar panels on your roof is very liberating.

scotty2541 | 18 februari 2011

What is the equivalent suspension setting of a roadster that does not have adjustable suspension?
My test drive was on a setting of 4 or 5. Just wonder how it would compare to the fixed version.

Jaffray | 4 mars 2011

I'm not sure it's winter weather up here, so I haven't adjusted my suspension at a month or so, I may try so I'll ask that question then...

scotty2541 | 21 mars 2011

Well, I caved in and ordered the adjustable suspension.

Now, I just am counting the days... :-)

Douglas3 | 21 mars 2011

Good call, scotty2541.

RonaldA | 22 mars 2011

I agree and have noticed the rear fin looks like a car in my blind spot. My solution accelerate when you change lanes, almost nothing can keep up. This car is a blast to drive it is all about the instantaneous acceleration at almost every speed. I ride some fairly large bikes (Bourget fat daddy with a 2100cc ss motor and a big dog mastif) they do not compare to the blast of accel. you get from this car. I once liuned up against a Z06 at a red light we both new what was next but he was shocked to see me fly away from 0-60. Of course spinning the rear wheels didn't help his cause and he would easily overtake me on a track, but who drives on a track? I can maneuver and cut through traffic in this car almost as easily as on my bike, if you have the money and like unique vehicles, this is the one to buy.

adkol2300 | 30 mars 2011

I had just taken the Roadster for a test drive three days ago and all I can say is wow! Not just for the sheer torque, but also the speaker system in that little car! It's incredible! I felt that if I had turned the volume all the way up the beat bumpin' bass would have torn the car apart, not to mention my ear drums. Want the Tesla Roadster so bad, I only wish that they weren't ending production by the end of the year...

Brian H | 30 mars 2011

fear not!
1) It's now promised thru 2012, I think. Or 2500 cars, whichever comes first.
2) I think Elon will have the redesigned home-built one up within a year of that, probably early 2013. There's a skunkworks project on it now, like as not.

rsdio | 10 juni 2011

Were you fair? Here are a few reactions:

A) You mention that the door requires a solid slam, but I think that you did not explore long enough. On my first day of showing off my new Roadster, one of my sports-car-fan buddies discovered that you can simply let go of the door from just about any angle inside the first detent and it will latch solidly. The spring loading is impressive. Unfortunately, this isn't true in my garage, but most level surfaces do not require slamming the doors. You'll find out once you practice on your own Roadster.

B) You give the Alpine much higher praise for a 'quality' touch screen, and yet you never used it. This is a very confusing way to rate something. How can you rate something that you never used? What were your criteria? Was it the size alone? I use both on a daily basis, and find them to be equal in quality if not size.

C) While it's true that a full charge disables regeneration, it's not actually typical to charge the battery to 100% like that. By default, charging is done in Standard mode, which only charges up to 90%, leaving regeneration fully operational. I'm actually very surprised that the Tesla Store would do a Range charge for a 25 mile trip! I've only needed to do it once since owning my Roadster.

D) Electric side mirrors would bother sports car purists. My previous roadster purchase, a 2000 Honda S-2000, has an electric motor for the rag top, and I've been cursing both it and the air conditioning. Such amenities do not belong in a sports car because they add weight and consume power. The Tesla Roadster has plenty of amenities for its class. You can be sure that the Model S will have 'normal' car amenities.

E) The electric motor cannot instantly change the AC frequency because of the laws of physics. There is such a thing as rotational inertia. So, if you do place the accelerator pedal to the floor all at once, you still have to wait for the motor to catch up to the newly desired frequency. The frequency generator could change instantly, at least that much is possible electronically, but it would probably cause the motor to turn backwards or fail completely unless the actual frequency is synchronized with the speed of the physical rotor and only gradually changed.

That said, I totally agree that there are visibility problems and a very creaky suspension. The lack of engine noise and small size of the vehicle probably makes the suspension sound louder than it really is.