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Frontal crash test.  (Source: Tesla Motors)

Side crash test.  (Source: Tesla Motors)

Aftermatch of rear crash test.  (Source: Tesla Motors)

  (Source: Tesla Motors)
Tesla Motors' highly anticipated Roadster comes closer to fruition

Tesla Motors' Roadster has been in development for quite some time now, but it appears that there is finally light at the end of the tunnel for the project team.

Malcolm Powell, Tesla Motors' Vice President of Vehicle Integration, announced yesterday that The Tesla Roadster has passed all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and is legal for sale in all 50 states.

"Thanks to great design, structural analysis, build quality and well run test management, we have successfully completed the entire suite of dynamic impact testing to meet both FMVSS and, as importantly, our own very strenuous internal performance targets," said Powell. "This is a great achievement for Tesla; it takes us another (major) step closer to our final goal and is another demonstration that EVs are as real as any other vehicle on the road."

The Tesla Roadster performed admirably in front, rear and side crash tests. "I always find it interesting when people say, 'Isn't it dangerous carrying all those batteries around?' Well I don’t know about you, but I’d rather carry a load of relatively inert battery cells than 10 gallons of highly volatile, flammable liquid," added Powell. "I will not comment on how other companies design their vehicles but at Tesla, we have paid great attention to the integrity of the design for crash management."

In addition, the vehicle passed basic rear view mirror, lighting and windshield defogging/defrosting tests.

Production of the $100,000 roadster will begin on March 17 although the first models to roll off the assembly line will come equipped with "temporary" transmissions.

Tesla claims that the temporary transmissions are of a design that has been road tested more than 100,000 miles, so owners shouldn't be too concerned about reliability or safety. Performance, however, does take a nose dive -- the first production models will only accelerate 0-60 in 5.7 seconds instead of 4 seconds as previously promised.

The temporary transmissions will be replaced with production-level hardware at Tesla Motors’ expense when it is available.

The Tesla Roadster is loosely based on the aluminum-intensive Lotus Elise and features an electric motor powered by 6,381 lithium-ion cells. The projected range for the two-seater is just over 200 miles.

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RE: This is nice but...
By MrBlastman on 1/25/2008 9:45:53 AM , Rating: 5
Honestly we NEED a performance electric car like this for several reasons:

a. Performance Cars drive the cutting edge of technology creating innovation and new ideas that might not have been thought of trying to create something average for everyday use. Disagree? Look at how many good technologies were the result of aircraft development in WW2/Vietnam etc., or for that matter other vehicles/equipment.

b. They create INTEREST. Like it or not, this car has people talking about Electric cars in a positive note.

c. Not only do they create general interest, but they create desire - for people beyond the eco-lovers. How many of you want to see less SUV's on the road? I sure as heck do, I'm tired of them. A performance electric like this will get your Bubba Ray talking about Watts and Amperes like a measure of horsepower far faster than your average Prius.

d. With interest comes a lower aversion to purchasing an electric. This could ultimately lead to further acceptance of them as an alternative.

Weather you want to spend 90k or not, the Tesla is a good thing for electric cars. I can only dream of the day I take one out on the Autocross course vs. high-powered, gas burning Porsche's, Corvettes, Camaro's, BMW's, Miatas, WRX/STI's, EVO's etc. and spank them with an electric :)

I think this is part of why electrics have failed so far to create wide acceptance - the percieved image of wussification by going to an electric. America is full of lead-pants filled people who think size matters, bling is good and a Hemi rules all. It is a sad world but we need things like this to get their minds looking elsewhere.

RE: This is nice but...
By Spuke on 1/25/08, Rating: -1
RE: This is nice but...
By MrBlastman on 1/25/2008 10:32:39 AM , Rating: 2
I would think that instead of weight being the cause of the 0-60 in 5.7 vs. 4.0 increase is not weight but more has to do with battery capacity and other electrical issues.

They more than likely had to cut back a bit to get the thing to market now rather than later to generate an income stream. Hopefully it sells initially so they are able to get us to the 4.0 number in production - there was a Motortrend or C&D article stating the model they rode in made it 0-60 in 4 seconds.

You're right about skill though - Auto-X and Track times are 80% skill, 20% car. I've seen plenty a driver in a nice Z06 go skidding off the course because they did not know how to drive it :) However, you get two equal drivers, one in a Saturn the other in a Elise, I'd be willing to bet the driver in the Elise will come out on top.

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