The Tesla Roadster Sport literally smokes the competition in the zero to 100 stakes. Then again, I stand corrected - Electric Vehicles (EVs) have zero emissions after all…
Photos: Joel Tam
Sell the idea of owning an EV to a petrol head and the first thing that greets you is a contorted facial expression of disgust and an exclamation that you have blasphemed against the motoring deities. In fact the Gestapo of the aftermarket car parts industry might spring from the bushes and detain you under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act. You don’t have to go around stabbing ah bengs and shouting secret society poems to get yourself into such trouble, just the mere insinuation of not being able to smell exhaust fumes and listening to the engine and exhaust would warrant such an arrest already.
But what if there was that one car? A car with exotic looks? A car that has a zero to 100 in super car territory? A car that turns heads, be it pedestrians or motorists? Would these factors be enough to turn petrol heads into tree huggers before Gaia gets her body lined in chalk, victim of a concerted homicide from humans? The answer in the Tesla’s case is probably a resounding yes. Zero emissions dear readers in Tesla speak, does not equate to zero fun.
Churning out 288 horses and 400 Nm worth of back pinning torque, the Tesla Roadster Sport accelerates from zilch to 100 under 3.9 seconds, well 3.7 to be exact. Of course one might say this car is not as fast as some other petrol powered European exotics or American muscle, but to achieve a timing of anything below four seconds for these cars as quoted, you need a combination of good driving conditions and skill to boot. On the other hand, the Tesla makes driving a cinch. In fact off the blocks, you can easily murder anything, be it a Ferrari or a highly souped up JDM ride. With the Tesla, torque is on tap and on the house, courtesy of the car’s single gear transmission. In fact the two Evo IXs we encountered can attest to that.
“So what?! This car can only go straight only lor.” Sayeth a young testosterone charged male with peroxide bleached hair follicles. I bet he has a newspaper wrapped machete hidden somewhere for that matter. On the winding roads, the Tesla is no slouch either. With a chassis derived from the Lotus Elise, adjustable suspension, light forged rims and sticky Yokohama AD07s, driving the Tesla Roadster S is sheer automotive bliss. Throw in a very weighted manual MOMO steering wheel; you get a driving experience that is close to surreal. In fact the song ‘Together In Electric Dreams’ soon started playing in my head as my brain began to conjure a beautiful mental imagery of me and the Tesla. Boy would Phil Oakley be proud.
However, this car does best only on smooth surfaces. On some bumpy sections, the very same suspension that makes this car a dream to drive becomes a nightmare. In fact rigidity of the car over some surface irregularities was simply an affair that calls for the services of a chiropractor. Throw in a full bucket seat with inadequate padding, and a broke back affair ensues. Just pray that your chiropractor has no parallax error in his relationship preference. As a daily drive in the city, the Tesla is a car with no drama. Push the ‘D’ button, step on the pedal and off you go, simple as that. The single speed transmission and the regenerative braking system (AP Racing brake calipers with cross drilled rotors) means that the brakes are only required when putting the car to a stop. The only problem one would face would be the curiosity of the general motoring populace. Yup, this car is one head turner for sure. In fact we had a passerby enquiring about the car, and I dutifully played my role as a pseudo marketing guy for Tesla. I hope you like reading the brochure Mr Tan, or whatever your surname is. The Tesla indeed turned loads of heads when I drove the car around town today.
In summary, apart from the limited storage space, relatively spartan interior and the hype that this car generates in public, the Tesla Roadster Sport with its exotic look and super car slaying acceleration is truly one amazing car to drive. And best of all, this car does not require any visit to the petrol station or service and maintenance associated with internal combustion engines (I.C.E), all one needs to do is just plug the car to any conventional electrical outlet when the ‘juice’ needs topping up, and he or she is good to go once the car is recharged. Plus you also get to do your part in saving the earth!