Review : A day with the TESLA Roadster


Yesterday was one of those weird kind of days. There’s a bit of an end-of-term feeling in the office, thanks to having just finished another issue of Octane, and – well, Christmas is coming and, finally, I’m beginning to get into the swing of things…

There was another reason for the odd mood in the office – we had a TESLA delivered and needed to give it a day’s thorough road testing. The electric car has been around with us a long time but, in these straitened times, it seems that the idea of owning and running one of these things is becoming fashionable.

I’m sure you’ve all seen Top Gear and know just how quick and capable the TESLA is – but actually driving it and experiencing the other-worldly sensation of supercar matching acceleration without an associated soundtrack (it sounds like a quiet passenger jet spooling up under acceleration) was the most memorable feeling. As was the instant, devastating torque delivery – I have never driven a car that so effortlessly nails slower traffic on busy A-roads.

Regular Clarkson-junkies will also know that the TESLA breaks down constantly, does 50 miles on a recharge and handles with little finesse. Well, er, umm, I’m sorry to disappoint, but we scorched through 50 miles (and a lot more besides), without a hitch and the battery indicator told a rather more positive story…

But as fun as it was – and it was fun – I struggled with the idea of actually having one of these in the real world. Okay, the £92K price ticket that we all feel is ludicrous will probably not bother its Hollywood clientele base and the 200 mile range won’t be an issue for these guys, as they’ll be seen driving around in something that shows they care about the environment…

But is the electric car really that environmentally friendly? The concept of secondary pollution won’t be lost on you, I’m sure, and, as far as I know, the power stations that generate the electricity which is used to charge up the TESLA won’t be subject to the strict emission standards that internal combustion powered cars are… and what happens when those batteries need changing? Where will the old ones get dumped?

For me, the TESLA raises more questions than it answers – and it’s certainly no environmental Shangri-la. But it was a fun diversion for the day.


Keith Adams

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