Tesla is experiencing success building its electric sports car. The company is profitable, and is at full production. Demand for the Tesla Roadster is still high, with a three- to four-month back order list.
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The Tesla Roadster Sport uses a chassis from Lotus clad in carbon fiber. Other companies supply the motor, battery, and gearbox.
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After one year ramping up production, Tesla has updated the Roadster. The 2010 model includes a Sport version, and there are cosmetic and ergonomic changes throughout.
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One change is the addition of clear coat carbon fiber in various spots around the car.
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Under the hood you will find cooling gear for the cabin and battery.
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Where the standard Tesla Roadster gets to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, the new Roadster Sport does it in 3.7 seconds. Tesla achieves this performance by using a more tightly wound stator in the motor.
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Yokohama tires and Brembo brakes suggest the Tesla Roadster Sport is track-worthy, but we weren't impressed with the cornering.
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Given its Lotus chassis, the Roadster Sport delivers a surprisingly comfortable ride. The company also added sound deadening material into the body.
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The car's socket includes a light ring that turns on when you open the hatch. Unplugged, the light is white. When plugged in and charging, the light is yellow, then green when the battery is charged.
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The Roadster Sport's electric motor is far more efficient than a gasoline engine in converting energy to drive the car. And electricity is much cheaper than gasoline per mile.
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Storage space in the Roadster Sport is minimal, with just this rear tub and a glove box in the cabin.
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The power control module sits next to the big battery pack. Tesla made it smaller for the 2010 model year.
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Getting into the cabin is easier than in a similar Lotus car, as Tesla has lowered the door sill on the Roadster Sport. But we suspect those lower sills affect the rigidity of the vehicle, which could hurt its cornering ability.
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The cabin in the Roadster Sport is tight--this is more sports car than luxury vehicle.
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The MOMO steering wheel doesn't include any audio control buttons. There is also no power-steering module, so turning the wheels requires a little effort.
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The tachometer and speedometer share the same needle, as the two figures are directly related in this single-speed car.
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For the 2010 model, Tesla replaced the small shifter it had used previously with these buttons.
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The head unit in the car, a JVC KD-NXD505, is very capable, providing navigation, stereo functions, and Bluetooth phone integration.
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Tesla fit speakers where it could around the cabin, but space is severely limited.
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The touch screen got moved from the left side to the center for 2010. It lets you set the drive mode, and monitor energy usage.
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Various energy graphs are available on the touch screen. This one show energy usage over time.
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This simple screen shows battery charge level and remaining range. It is probably the most useful screen for everyday driving.