Considering that it’s such a significant car, it seems wrong that so few journalists outside of the US have been anywhere near a Tesla Roadster. This is, after all, the world’s first zero-emissions sports car.
If Toyota had launched it, the PR budget would have dwarfed Liberia’s deficit, and the reams of copy written as a result would have been lengthier than the collected works of George Eliot. But Tesla can’t afford that. Which is why we’ve employed the services of Automobile technical editor Don Sherman to give you the first verdict on the car. Read it by clicking here.
I’m one of the lucky ones. Fifteen months ago I got a passenger ride in a Tesla Roadster while it was undergoing engineering proving at Lotus. Back then, they were still trying to work out how to make the car run for longer than an hour without something fusing, melting or overheating. Photographer Charlie Magee and I waited for a couple of hours on a chilly December morning while Lotus’s seconded engineers reset control systems, reconnected wiring looms, rebooted ECUs and tried desperately to revive the stranded Roadster we were attempting to photograph. Back then, they didn’t have much luck; we ended up towing the car around a corner to get the shots we needed.
An hour beforehand, though (while the car was still cooking with direct current), one of Hethel’s chassis men had taken me for a spin down some of the firm’s tried-and-tested shakedown routes, and I got to experience this car’s remarkable performance first hand.