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>> It's not like the Tessla Roadster needed to be faster at 3.9 0 to 60, but with their second model, the S, not going into volume production until 2012, this Roadster Sport will have to do as the new Tessla. Let's see if there's a difference between fast and faster and check the tech.
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Now, Tessla's refined the interior on the Roadster. They've made a lot of important improvements. The first of which, you'll notice, is very low tech. Glove box, literally, a glove box, but it's better than the no glove box you had before on the earlier production cars. This little information display used to be down here, tucked away to your left knee. A much better placement for it. It's a little touchscreen that takes you through various settings for the car and allows you to change up the interface as well. The transmission selectors are all different, too. Instead of this sort of electronic switching lever it used to have that simulated a real gear shift, you've got a pushbutton console now, which is more in keeping with the whole high-tech ethic of the car, I think. And down here is your contraction control enable or disable. Seat heaters -- let's face it, the folks who want maximum mileage aren't going to use those because it taps the same power source as what drives the car. All around, there's a little more upscale finish then previous Roadsters I've seen because this has a leather and carbon package. You see the carbon fiber seal. This is all real carbon by the way. At this price point, we're not doing simulated carbon crap like you get down at Kragen [phonetic]. One gripe is the steering wheel still doesn't adjust. If you're my height, you will never, ever see the top of your gauges, unless you, you know, do one of these, which I don't intend to do. Now, our car has the electronics group, which really means it has a JVC head unit installed, for the most part. Hot, little, single-den unit, hard disc-drive based with nav in it. Yeah, the screen is small, but that's not the big point of this car; big, long, navigated road trips. You've got Sirius satellite radio in here, of course, seven speakers around the cab and God knows where they put them. A sub-woofer is part of that count. Trick, little flip-up screen there, single-disc slot behind it. Your source list includes, aside from AM/FM and Sirius satellite radio, a CD or DVD, believe it or not. Don't think I'll be doing that real soon. We've also got the hard drive integrated here that you can put music on. External input. Here is an iPod connector down here. Bluetooth audio, A2DP streaming. That's nice. And you got your radio tuners. So quite a bit in a small package. You use a pin number on this car, kind of like a little, orange, rolling ATM machine. One is for starting the vehicle. You've also got a pin for activating valet mode. And that lets you do several things to keep that valet from, well, shall we say having a little too much fun while you're inside having oysters Rockefeller. Reduces the range, the performance, the acceleration, the top speed, just tones the car way down. A few other high-performance cars have had a mode like that. This one probably needs it more than any other. Now, one thing that kills me about electric cars is there's not much to look at under the hood. I'm never gonna get over that. But there's a whole lot under the hood, whether you can see it or not. First of all, back in here is the battery pack. It's basically composed of lithium ion laptop cells. I'm oversimplifying, but part of the secret sauce here is how they control that, deliver the power from it, and manage the cooling as well. This is a giant ECM, or electronics control module here, basically a big computer that runs this car. And those batteries, through here, feed the electric motor, which is relatively unimpressive. I've seen them on the stand. You know, it's about, yay, the size of a pumpkin, down there, going into a single-speed gearbox. Not really a transmission. There are no gears to change, but it basically sends the power out to two wheels. It's almost more of splitter or a differential more than a real transmission with multiple gears. The difference on the Sport is the horsepower. 288 horse out of this guy versus 248 out of a standard Roadster, and that will improve your 0 to 60 from 3.9 to 3.7 seconds. So more about that motor. 185 kilowatt -- that seems almost impossibly high draw, but that's what they say. It also will get you about 244 miles on a charge. That charge take as little as three and a half hours if you use a 240-volt circuit with one of these things that plugs in on that little charging port right there on the pillar behind the driver's side. And about the relationship between regenerative braking and friction braking, when you're driving this car and hit the brakes, you're going onto the friction brakes. They're Brembo units all around. When you lift off, but don't go to the brakes, the car pops into a regen mode, and you've got electric drag that is running through the motor backwards to regenerate power. So it's a synthetic compression braking that's really convincing. This car really goes unh when you lift off, even before you hit the brakes.
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Our Roadster Sport is what they call "very orange." Uh, yeah. It takes a trained eye to tell the Sport from the standard Roadster. Look for special black wheels and a little badge on the rear. Technically, the Sport is a $19,000.00 package on top of the basic Roadster. Like the standard Roadster, range stays the same at a stated 244 miles. Also, the feel of a go-cart is no different. The suspension's adjustable on the Sport; however, so you can dial in some civility to go with that improved cabin. Or go the other way for track [inaudible]. Also unchanged in the Sport is your inability to believe how much power is on tap, how low you are, and how many folks stare and stop and ask you about the car. If you drive one of these, it helps to have a big ego and loose deadlines in your daybook. You make a Roadster Sport by adding a $19,000.00 package to a base Roadster, which includes the brawnier motor to save those .2 seconds 0 to 60, adjustable shocks and roll bars, black finish alloys shod in Yokohama AO48s, and more exposed carbon fiber. The other option to consider is the electronics group. For 3,000 bucks, that gets you the upgraded stereo head unit with a little, tiny GPS nav screen, better speakers, including a sub, and Bluetooth hands-free.
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