2010 Tesla Roadster

  • 2010 Tesla Roadster Base Roadster

    Base Roadster

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  • 2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Roadster

    Sport Roadster

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2010 Tesla Roadster Review

All the promise and pitfalls of battery-electric propulsion

Reviewed by Automotive on

If you want a wild driving experience, check out the Tesla Roadster. The Roadster is an aggressive model that sports an electronic motor and a 7000 cell lithium-ion battery. It's fast as well; it can go from 0-to-60 in all of 3.7 seconds and it doesn't have any kind of lagging throttle.

The Roadster has several problems though. One involves the cars range and the other its recharge time. One charge of the battery gives a driver enough power to cover 200 miles. It takes about 6 hours to recharge. The cost of the Tesla Roadster is definitely a shock since its base configuration begins at $100,000.00. The Tesla is small, it has a interior that is cramped, and egress and ingress are difficult. Finally, when the consumer has to replace the battery, it is costly: this is another issue with the attractive Roadster.

If looking to express oneself, the Tesla Roadster is an ideal offering. This car's future may be electric one, and the carmaker is making progress with the oil and electric car issue that society now faces.

The Range

Bodystyle: 2-door roadster
Power: Air-cooled AC electric motor
Transmission: 1-speed
Models: Roadster, Roadster Sport

What's New

This past year has seen the introduction of the Roadster Sport, which is a no-holds-barred, extreme performance edition of the basic Roadster. For its $19,500 price premium, the Roadster S includes 8.1 percent more torque, an adjustable suspension (10-positions for the shock absorbers, 3 settings for the anti-roll bars), forged alloy wheels wrapped by sticky Yokohama AO48 tires.


While the Roadster began with a heavy influence from the Lotus Elise upon which it is roughly based, the Tesla now contains only traces of the Elise DNA as Tesla has developed its own edgy, unique styling (indeed, the new Lotus Evora could be seen as aping some of Tesla's thinking).


The Roadster's cabin is a tight fit and a struggle to get in and out of, but is actually longer than that of the Lotus Elise it was patterned after. Tesla's material's quality is quickly improving, moving from the kit-car realm of it prototypes to quite respectable now. Unusually, changing from park to drive or reverse involves simply pushing buttons.

Performance & Handling

Few cars can out-handle the grippy, firmly-sprung Roadster, and fewer still can out-accelerate it. Consider: The base Roadster can hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds; the Roadster Sport in a sizzling 3.7. Past that speed the constraints imposed by the Roadster's single-speed transmission cause its acceleration to quickly taper off -- but by then, you're long gone. Our only desire would be for a little more feedback about what the chassis is doing.


While the Tesla Roadster meets all required safety standards and includes dual front airbags, being a battery electric vehicle raises some unique safety questions. Is there a chance of shock in the rain? What happens with that giant battery in a crash? Despite the high voltages surging beneath the Tesla's bodywork, all of these issues have been extensively studied and addressed.

EPA Fuel Economy


You'll Like

  • Fantastic acceleration
  • Nimble handling
  • Other-worldly whine while accelerating
  • Passing gas stations
  • Low cost of electrical energy

You Won't Like

  • High price
  • Difficulty getting in and out
  • Recharge times
  • No long trips

Sum Up

All the promise and pitfalls of battery-electric propulsion

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Audi R8
  • Lotus Evora
  • Porsche Boxster Spyder

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