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Ever drive a car from -0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds? Before yesterday, I never did, and never expected to. I’ve seen the ads in the motor mags for “A day with Supercars” but I dismissed them as prohibitively expensive. I’d take a day of Supercars as a gift though (Just in case my wife reads this). :lol: Anyway, yesterday I got to drive a real Supercar, and even more remarkable, a Supercar that runs on batteries.





I came upon this good fortune by having good friends. Friend One works at the dealership that is prominently advertised all over the car, Eurocars. Eurocars is a boutique used car company here in the Twin Cities. Their showroom is usually full of Audis, Porsches, Mercedes, and BMWs. Some nice stuff. See more here: http://www.eurocarsus.com/
Anyway, so Eurocars is running this promo where they’re giving everyone who buys a car from them a “Free Day” with a Tesla. Another friend who lives out east, Friend Two, bought a car from Friend One. However, being on the east coast, Friend Two was unable to avail himself of the opportunity. So, he told Friend One, “ Let Kenny have my Free Day”. So I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago from Friend One saying, Friend Two has a surprise for you. What a nice thing to have happen out of the blue!

So, about the car. It’s somewhat otherworldy, both from a driving perspective and from just simply orienting yourself with the cockpit. What other car provides you with a computer that reads HP, Torque, and G’s, both in real-time and Peak?





Here’s a (not very good) shot of the dash.




The cockpit fits like a glove. I’ve driven cars where you ride low and this was definitely one of them. There are a few miscellaneous creature comforts, but mostly it’s like a race car with turn signals. There does not appear to be any power assisted steering.. At low speeds, it’s like steering with a large boat anchor. Here’s the fuel tank:



There are four buttons on the console: P N D and R. There is no transmission. The wheels are directly driven by the motor. I drove a “Roadster Sport. Here are the Specs from their website:

Motor
375 volt AC induction air-cooled electric motor with variable frequency drive.
Roadster Sport
Torque 295 lb-ft at 0-5,100 rpm
Horsepower 288 hp (215 kW) at 4,400-6,000 rpm
Max rpm 14,000 rpm

Acceleration Roadster Sport
Top Speed 125 mph
0 to 60 mph 3.7 econds
Transmission
Single speed fixed gear. Reverse drive uses reverse direction of motor, limited to 15 mph.
Overall Final Drive 8.28:1
Final Drive Ratio 3.12:1

Battery
Custom microprocessor-controlled lithium-ion battery with 6,831 individual cells. 3.5 hour charge time from empty to full using the Tesla High Power Wall Connector at 240 Volts and 70 Amps.
Range 245 miles
Expected Battery Life Seven-years or 100,000 miles
Battery heater for cold weather charging to -20 degrees Celsius Standard

Price
Roadster Sport
List Price $128,500
Federal Tax Credit -$7,500
Effective Price $121,000

Oddly, the car that inspired me to become a driving enthusiast was a Lotus Europa. I think it must have been sometime around 1973 when I saw this Europa thing at a Subaru dealership and the love affair of a lifetime began. I never got to drive a Europa, or any other Lotus for that matter. But now I’ve done even better, since I’ve driven a 100% electric that’s built on a Lotus chassis!

When I picked up the car, it was dirty and it only had 150 miles of battery time left. I didn’t complain. I didn’t even use up the entire 150 miles. I took the little orientation/driving lesson from Friend One and then I drove the car home. I was thinking about this 0-60 in 3.7 second thing. What would it be like? I supposed it would be like getting to 60 in roughly half the time it takes in my B5. Just to further attempt to grasp this sort of acceleration, a Porsche Carrera GT2 RS goes from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, so this is pretty serious.



I took my wife to breakfast in it. She thinks it’s really cute, and somewhat scary. After breakfast, I dropped my wife off at home; content that her New York Times crossword puzzle would keep her busy while I took the Tesla out for some fun.









I drove to a road that I know of that has a 55MPH speed limit, but also has traffic lights. As I’d hoped, the signal turned red as I approached the road, and so I was able to come to a complete stop. The road ahead of me was quiet and straight; no traffic or pedestrians. So when the light turned green, I punched it. Not only did it take off like a rocket, as I expected it to, but the unique torque characteristics of the car, combined with the lack of any engine noise, made me both exhilarated and giddy. I was laughing hysterically by the time I made it to the next light. What an amazing car!

Due to time and battery constraints, I wasn’t able to take it out in the country to put it through its paces on the twisties. Also, despite the utter lack of body roll, it was obvious that there’s a learning curve associated with driving this car. The last thing that my friend told me before I left with his company’s $120K car was to PLEASE KEEP THE TRACTION CONTROL ACTIVATED AT ALL TIMES! So I did. You can get into a lot of trouble with that much power.

I spent the rest of my day with the Tesla hanging out with a couple of local friends who are fellow enthusiasts. I have a friend at work who was active for years in the Audi Club. He’s a driving instructor and he drives a B5 S4 (on snowy days) and a V8 Powered RS4 (the rest of the time).







Needless to say, my friend really enjoyed the experience of riding in the Tesla. But like me, he felt that you’d really need more time to become comfortable with pushing it to anywhere near its limits. One of the things that is peculiar about this car is the engine braking. When you come off the throttle, the car slows down rapidly. When I first experienced this, it almost seemed like the brakes were superfluous. The Tesla is engineered to regenerate power, and I suspect the pronounced deceleration when coming off the throttle is related to this. There’s even a gauge on the dash that tells you whether your spending power or making it.

Later that day, I hooked up with a local friend and fellow Passat owner, B5BAR. We took the Tesla for a ride down some lonely twisty roads, and had a lot of fun, but we agreed that getting anywhere near the limits of this car was just too scary.

I’d love to have a track day with this car, to really learn how to drive it. As it is, I had the driving experience of a lifetime with it. I’m encouraged by the fact that Tesla Motors has started down this path of electric high performance automobiles. I’m sure there are still some huge hurdles to overcome; the range, recharge time, and battery life, just to name a few. In spite of all that, it’s nice to know that even though fossil fuels are going away, high performance automobiles aren’t.
 

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What an awesome experience, for sure! Thanks for sharing. We're all jealous.
 

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I got this user title because I'm old and special
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I am jealous. Sounds like a perfect day.
 

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looks like you had an awesome time! thanks for sharing the experience, I would love to test drive one of these if I ever got the chance :thumbup:
 

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Kenny,

Been a LONG time since I have seen you, and even a longer time since I have been on Passatworld.. That was a great time, I didn't expect the neck snapping power when you hit the thr..er.. rheostat. Literally sounds like you have a GIANT Sony VCR going into hyper-rewind when you powered up in that thing.

Was a fun ride, but you forgot the most important picture!!

 

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Kenny,

Been a LONG time since I have seen you, and even a longer time since I have been on Passatworld.. That was a great time, I didn't expect the neck snapping power when you hit the thr..er.. rheostat. Literally sounds like you have a GIANT Sony VCR going into hyper-rewind when you powered up in that thing.

Was a fun ride, but you forgot the most important picture!!

Hey - that's Joe's shop! Were you two torturing the guys there with the Tesla?
 

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Kenny,

Been a LONG time since I have seen you, and even a longer time since I have been on Passatworld.. That was a great time, I didn't expect the neck snapping power when you hit the thr..er.. rheostat. Literally sounds like you have a GIANT Sony VCR going into hyper-rewind when you powered up in that thing.

Was a fun ride, but you forgot the most important picture!!

is that you, Ken?
 

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Been hearing some disturbing news that this car isn't as "electric" as everyone has been told:poke:
You are thinking of the Volt.
 
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