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The Tesla Roadster is an electric sports car based on the Lotus Elise chassis.

Overview

The Tesla Roadster is a battery electric vehicle (BEV) sports car produced by the electric car firm Tesla Motors in California between 2008 and 2012. The Tesla Roadster is the first highway-capable all-electric vehicle in serial production for sale in the United States in recent times. A replacement for the Tesla Roadster is expected for 2020. The other two cars Tesla Motors is producing are the Model S battery electric vehicle (BEV) luxury hatchback and the Model X battery electric vehicle (BEV) luxury crossover SUV.

The Roadster is powered by a 3-phase, 4-pole, induction electric motor with a maximum output power of 185 kW (248 hp). Its maximum torque of 200 lb⋅ft (270 N⋅m) is immediately available and remains constant from 0 to 6,000 rpm; nearly instantaneous torque is a characteristic of electric motors and offers one of the biggest performance differences from internal combustion engines. The motor is air-cooled and does not need a liquid cooling system.

Starting in September 2008 Tesla selected BorgWarner to manufacture gearboxes and began equipping all Roadsters with a single speed, fixed gear gearbox (8.2752:1) with an electrically actuated parking pawl mechanism and a mechanical lubrication pump.

The company previously worked with several companies, including XTrac and Magna International, to find the right automatic transmission, but a two-gear solution proved to be too challenging. This led to substantial delays in production. At the "Town Hall Meeting" with owners in December 2007, Tesla announced plans to ship the initial 2008 Roadsters with their interim Magna two-speed direct shift manual transmissions locked into second gear, limiting the performance of the car to less than what was originally stated (0 to 97 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in 5.7 seconds instead of the announced 4.0 seconds). Tesla also announced it would upgrade those transmissions under warranty when the final transmission became available. At the "Town Hall Meeting" with owners on January 30, 2008, Tesla Motors described the planned transmission upgrade as a single-speed gearbox with a drive ratio of 8.27:1 combined with improved electronics and motor cooling that retain the acceleration from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in under 4 seconds and an improved motor limit of 14,000 rpm to retain the 201 km/h (125 mph) top speed. The upgraded system also improved the maximum torque from 270 to 380 N⋅m (200 to 280 lb⋅ft) and improves the Roadster's quarter mile times.

The Roadster's 0 to 97 km/h (0 to 60 mph) acceleration time is 3.9 seconds for the Standard model and 3.7 seconds for the 2010 V2.5 Sport, which Motor Trend confirmed in the first independent, instrumented testing of the V2.5 Sport model. The magazine also recorded a 0-to-14-mile (0.00 to 0.40 km) time of 12.6 seconds at 165.1 km/h (102.6 mph). Tesla said the top speed is electronically limited to 201 km/h (125 mph). Tesla claims it has a weight of 1,305 kg (2,877 lb).

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