Tesla Roadster’s prototype was first unveiled on July 19th, 2006. In March 2008 the company commenced regular production of the vehicle. It is designed in such a way that each component has multiple uses. For example, there are air ducts that double as energy-absorbing zones and the Power Electronics Module (PEM) controls motor torque, charging, and regenerative braking, aside for translating the driver’s gear shifting or accelerating into precisely timed voltages so that the motor responds accordingly.
Tesla Roadster’s 375 volt AC induction air-cooled electric motor has an output of 248 peak horsepower (185kW) and 276 ft/lbs (375 nm) of torque. It weighs only about 115 pounds and has efficiencies of 85 to 95 percent. The vehicle’s battery pack weighs 992 lbs and combines basic lithium ion battery technology with the company’s own battery pack design, thus achieving a light, recyclable and efficient Energy Storage System (ESS).
The car’s transmission is a single speed fixed gear with electrically-actuated parking lock mechanism and mechanical lubrication pump. The car has only two forward gears and no clutch pedal. Instead, shifting is done by the electronic control module when moving the lever. The Tesla Roadster’s brakes are hydraulically operated; the car’s regenerative braking delivers higher miles-per-charge on in-town driving by recovering the energy usually lost when slowing down.
Each wheel works independently with optimal contact with the ground thanks to the company’s independent, double-wishbone suspension. For additional safety, the vehicle’s 4-channel anti-lock braking (ABS) system offers shorter stopping distances with no lockup, so that the driver maintains full steering control. Inside the battery pack’s protective enclosure is the battery safety monitor, which is designed to automatically disconnect the battery pack from the vehicle and shut down power to the car in a case of emergency. The 2009MY Roadster’s base price is $109,000.
Tesla Motors stated the recharge time of the 2009MY in between 3-3.5 hours; however some critics calculated that in some situations a full recharge can actually take over 30 hours. If this is true, Tesla Motors will need to help consumers find a way of making the costly cars reduce their charge time otherwise they will have to spend more time recharging then actually on the road (but hey, you can always buy two for twice the money, right?).
TFOT also covered other electric cars such as TH!NK Ox – a five-seater, fully electric car capable of accelerating from 0 to 100km/hr in less than 8.5 seconds, and Milner Motors’ 4-door, 4-seat, 4-wheel, plug-in hybrid ElectriCar. TFOT also previously reported on the “Vectrix” electric scooter, which offers all the benefits of a gasoline-powered scooter with reduced carbon dioxide and smog-forming pollutants,and the “EV-X7” Electric Motorbike, capable of reaching speeds of up to 150 kph (90+ mph) using its new “Sumo” hybrid magnetic motor.
More information on the Tesla Roadster can be found at the company’s official website.