Road & Track magazine, usually a paragon of driving maturity, shows some uncharacteristic behavior in this new video. The editors determined how to defeat the traction control system on the Model S, which created the ability to do endless burnouts. Because electric motors create 100% of their available torque at >0 RPM, and produce exceptionally high torque, this type of hoonage is easy.
From the driver’s notes: “Holy hell there’s a lot of torque here. The fuse we pulled disabled ABS, ESP, and traction control (good) and the speedometer and air suspension system (whatever). But it also killed the power steering and vacuum brake assist (yikes). High-speed sideways shots? Uh, no thanks.”
“Through lower-speed corners, the Model S is a drift champ. A quick stab of the accelerator pedal is all you need to break the rear end loose—and then the steering comes alive. Corrections are a breeze; chassis balance and body control are superb. One thing, though: you really, really have to respect that pedal. There’s no rev-limiter to contend with, and no gearing to choose. Mat the pedal, and you’ll be spinning tire up to the car’s 132-mph top speed. That kind of wheelspin (especially at a stop, doing donuts) will blow a tire pretty quick.”
Enjoy! (Don’t repeat this at home)
We greatly enjoyed the the engineering walk around videos that Tesla provided a few weeks ago. The engineering was clearly highly advanced, particularly the ultra-low center of gravity provided by the position of the electric motor.
But we were left wondering if there was a a drivable Tesla S yet. Now Tesla has answered that question with video of a Tesla S driving on back roads. As in public roads – no mere test track, but well enough along in it’s development to be out on public highways.
These three videos are very worthwhile to closely watch. Tesla personnel explain how the new Model S is engineered and put together in great detail.
This is very unusual – you almost never see this kind of detail more than a year before launch. In fact you don’t see it after launch either – Tesla must be reassuring investors as well as potential customers that they are very serious and that the engineering is well along.
Tesla is offering special lease rates to bring in new customers. Yes, we’d very much like to have one, but $1658 for three years and 30k miles is out of the question.
Tesla: cut that in half for this (poor, but enthusiastic) journalist, and you’ve got a deal.
If it works for you, visit this site: http://www.teslamotors.com/leasing
Tesla has announced that their first two dealerships in California are open for business. Roadster production is indeed proceeding, although at a slow pace until September when an upgraded powertrain and the new gearbox (finally!) will be ready to go and production will ramp to 100 cars/month.
Online articles (suggest <right click> and <open in new tab>):
- Menlo Park http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/19/tesla-motors-unveils-jaw-dropping-menlo-park-showroom/
- L.A: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/uptospeed/2008/05/the-tesla-roads.html
Meanwhile, the Governator of California has announced that the production of the upcoming 4-door Tesla “Model S” will take place in a new factory to be built in California:
Tesla motors has updated their website to show full images and specs of their Tesla Roadster, which goes on sale next summer.
Take a look at their performance specs – including the torque curve. This will be a great performer when it comes out, even better than the gasoline Elise it was derived from.
And note their new blog and RSS feed:
The Tesla Roadster was announced today and shown to the press. It’s literally built from an Elise chassis, with a new fenders (but not roof) lights, front fenders, and rear bumper. The interior should look familar to any Lotus enthusiasts – it’s pure Elise. The overall effect is actually handsome (especially in the red shown).
Press events being what they are, the level of fluf was high. Lots of talk about global warming, etc. I had thought that we were learning in this country that being green alone won’t sell any car (except to Hollywood liberals)… and that electric or hybrid cars had to have their own very positive and clear merits outside of the propulsion system in order to find success.
But there is indeed merit to this particular electric car (and I’m definitely not a liberal) – as long as the conversion has been engineered well. Electric motors have all of their power across their entire range: this car will be extremely responsive and it could even be a great car for blasting around the cones. Electrics are quiet – it would be a pleasure to drive. Air conditioning and heating wouldn’t be a problem – there are air conditioning systems that are entirely electric-based (as in the Prius) – although it’s not clear what’s being used here. And I noticed from their site that it will do 0-60 MPH in 4 about seconds! Lets face it, the world will move away from internal combustion in the next 20 years – and cars like the Tesla point the way to a very encouraging future.
- It’s an Elise – so it is very well engineered – at least underneath.
- It looks like that have a great board, and serious financial backing.
- You won’t have to deal with having your kid or the next owner put a large-tipped and loud exhaust system – there is no exhaust.
Potential downsides are:
- Do our emergency and police folks know how to deal with electrics in crash situations? Batteries leak, high voltage shock is a problem. Same issue here as in hybrids (be glad you don’t have a hydrogen tank here under 5000 PSI!). I’ll point out that this isn’t the fault of Tesla – our entire infrastructure has to learn how to deal with this situation.
- It’s an Elise… any kind of crash at all will send your insurance company into a straight denial of repair (and policy renewal).
Unfortunately, the company’s website didn’t get updated today – they won’t be showing pictures of their product until early Thursday morning. Visit their site then to see the car and the details. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more of their announcement – particularly about the engine.