Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Unconventional performance

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We were left speechless after a recent visit to the Tesla Motors store on Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles. Aside from a small arsenal of stunning American machines with carbon fiber bodies, this store had knowledge to share.

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Our genuine interest resulted in a pummeling of questions for an apparently well-prepared Tesla employee. She answered questions of all kinds - from financials and company structure to drive train and voltage conversion. Taylor floated the possibility of a demo, and our generous host offered the unimaginable.

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The ride is like no other I've ever experienced. Megan pointed out that the Roadster's acceleration resembles that of a linear-induction roller coaster. She was spot-on. The quiet, but high-pitched whine and the subtle sound of the air rushing over the windshield was all your ears had to report. When not accelerating to 70 MPH in the blink of an eye, there was little sound aside from the ambient noise of traffic that you'd here if you were standing on the sidewalk.

It's way out of most people's price ranges, it can't get me to my parents' house in a single charge, and they recommend against taking the car to the track because of heat-related issues (according to our Tesla driver).

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Minor shortcomings aside, I can't help but feel misguided by automotive convention. The Tesla Roadster has a transmission with a single gear, and a motor that spins in both directions. Is this the necessary simplification of a tool that has been over-complicated for too many years?

2 comments:

tmitchell said...

Simply incredible. These guys are going to make Detroit cry.

Walk_n_wind said...

They definitely earned that privilege. In their service garage, I couldn't help but feel like everything I knew was wrong. It's time to start reading the technical articles, or in 10 years I'll be standing around with an O2 sensor socket wondering what to do with myself...