The company has shipped 100 of these cars. Now they get reviewed. The news isn’t good.

  1. kyle006 says:

    good first step, but it is a 1.0 and we all know how 1.0 technology goes

  2. So, Jeremy Clarkson says the Tesla doesn’t work in the real world? Do you know what he says about motorcycles? Short answer: They will kill you. Long answer:

    Still, Top Gear is the best show ever, but don’t buy everything they say.

  3. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    Laptop batteries suck because they’re pushed too hard and they get hot. A newer Li-Ion technology (google A123) loses a bit of efficiency but runs far safer on cheap lead-acid chargers. This is the stuff they’re putting in high-end cordless drills, and hopefully these kinds of cars. I’ve got a pile of them in a robot, and those bastids are amazing, and freaking nasty! That is, their peak current is >70A per 3.6V cell, enough for this experienced electronics guy to be worried about when soldering them together. 🙂

    They can charge very fast, if you have a big enough source. Ten minutes for a car.

  4. Mister Mustard says:

    #25 – Andy

    >>Speaking from the normal gadget loving middle
    >>class who cannot fathom buying a $100k car….

    This version is not for normal gadget loving middle class guys. It’s for guys like Mr. Curry, with their private airplanes and homes in various countries on various continents, but who don’t want to spend $5,000,000.00 on the hydrogen cars they give to Brad Pitt and George Clooney.

    Watch for Version 2.0. Unless gainsayers like Paddy-RAMBO put the kibosh on anything that doesn’t have all the amenities of his Dodge Caravan, this is a bold step forward.

  5. Thinker says:

    Well obviously not the car for the rest of us, yet. Still, its the first electric car I’ve seen that I like! And its mostly there, the gov should give these guys the $$, as they’ve got a good product that should be further developed.

    I’d love to commute in it. I have to drive 35 miles each way.

  6. Andy says:

    #33 Mister Mustard

    I must agree, it’s a great step forward. From a geek perspective, the concept of a purely electric car is awesome, not to mention one that does 0-60 in 3.9. I love my Prius, and if Tesla can do something to extend the range on the electric car then I might be more onboard. But, no matter what the technology is, you still have to get the car that’s best suited for your application. My Prius is for my normal commutes, and I can regularly get 55mpg out of it. I can carry the kids with me too, but only if my wife isn’t with us. If we go somewhere where we are all going, we have to drive the van (Caravan) simply because we can’t fit all three kids and their dang booster seats in the back of the Prius. Plus, the van is so much more suited to the family application.

    So, I’ve got my Prius, my wife has her Prius for her day-to-day stuff, and we kept the van (paid for, cheap insurance) for the family stuff. We’re pushing it if we put 200 miles/month on the van, so our total consumption is still way down. The Tesla just simply wouldn’t be a suitable car for our applications. But, it’s still hard to fathom $100k for a car that you couldn’t drive from San Fran to LA without having to stop somewhere for a few hours to charge the car. This is where I think electric cars are going to have trouble, and fuel-cell cars might have an edge in the alternative energy car deal . . . if those ever get made. It’s all about infrastructure at that point. If you can’t fill up your hydrogen fuel cell conveniently, why get the car? But, if there aren’t any cars around, why build the fuel cell stations? Chicken and egg argument.

    Maybe that’s what Tesla can do, augment the Tesla with an optional fuel cell for longer range? Of course, that doesn’t address the reliability issues that Top Gear hit – the brakes failing and the engine overheating.

  7. Mister Mustard says:

    #35 – Andy

    I agree, but the petro-powered Lotus Elise (bargain-priced at about $50,000) isn’t going to do you much good on a camping trip with the kids and the wife and the tent and the dog.

    The Tesla is a niche product for people who want to be green and groovy AND to show off how much money they have, but without having to reveal that they don’t have $5,000,000.00 for a hydrogen car and that they’re not famous enough to get one for free like Brad Pitt.

    However, the technology is improving, and the cost (which is steep now) will come down. You can easily drop $100K+ on a gasoline-powered Maserati, Lamborghini, or Ferrari. In fact, a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti runs about #315,000, and enough people buy them to make it worth Ferrarri’s while to produce them. You could get three Teslas for that price.

    It’s annoying when wet-blanket luddites whine about the high cost and the lack of absolute perfection in the first iteration of a product. Windows 1.0 sucked, the airplane 1.0 sucked, television 1.0, even the automobile 1.0 sucked. With the exception of Windows, they all improved and became cheaper over time. And so will this.

    For now, the Common Man can buy a Prius (I love mine, btw). In 5 or 10 years, maybe an electric car.

  8. Carcarius says:

    Yeah, why is it irrelevant? If you watched the whole thing Jones explains why all that speed is pointless. I’ll have to catch this episode on the “tele”.

    It is a pretty amazing feat of engineering… for the rich to buy as a trophy car.

    I love Top Gear… great show.

  9. Mister Mustard says:

    #35 – Andy

    >>Of course, that doesn’t address the
    >>reliability issues that Top Gear hit – the
    >>brakes failing and the engine overheating.

    Well, what he actually said was “while it was being charged, its breaks had broken”. They didn’t fail while the driver was beating the shit out of the thing. Unless there’s some kind of voodoo electric field effect that ruins Tesla car brakes, they got bunged up somehow while in the garage.

    As to the overheading, well, yeah. If you want to drive the thing like Danica Patrick, Indy car driver and Go Daddy Girl, you may suffer “overheating and reduced power”. But at least it won’t blow up and burn you to death, like a gasoline engine.

  10. For the record: Thanks to The Stig’s impressive turn behind the wheel, the Tesla Roadster gets a higher ranking in Top Gear’s performance board than a Porsche 911 GT3. Jeremy Clarkson, a die-hard “petrol head” with a clear bias against green cars generally, said that it must be “snowing in hell” because he had such a great time driving the Roadster and now considers himself a “volt head” thanks to the Roadster’s amazing performance. This is amazingly high praise from Clarkson, whose entire schtick is to savage even his most beloved petrol-guzzling sports cars.

    However, I would like to clarify a couple things. Never at any time did Clarkson or any of the Top Gear drivers run out of charge. In fact, they never got below 20 percent charge in either car; they never had to push a car off the track because of lack of charge or a fault. (It’s unclear why they were pushing one into a garage in the video; I’ll refrain from speculating about their motives.)

    The “brake failure” Clarkson mentions was solely a blown fuse; a service technician replaced the Roadster’s pump and it was back up and running immediately. They were never without a car, and the Top Gear testing did not put the Roadster’s reliability or safety in question whatsoever. Again, I’m going to leave out comments as to why the good folks at Top Gear might have mischaracterized the blown fuse as a brake failure, which is was decidedly not.

    I am also unclear as to why Clarkson said it took 16 hours to recharge the Roadster without qualifying that statement at all. The vast majority of people who have taken delivery of their Roadsters (and there are more than 100 of them now) have much faster systems that recharge from dead to full in as little as 3.5 hours.

    However, I really enjoyed Clarkson’s suggestion that, if people want to race Roadsters 24-7, they should simply buy two. 😉

    Rachel Konrad
    Senior Communications Manager
    Tesla Motors Inc.

  11. Mister Mustard says:

    #40 – Rachel Konrad

    Uh-oh. Facts. GASP. Those are like Holy Water to Satan when it comes to the blabbermouths of dvorak dot org slash blog. Like a stake through the heart.

  12. Jack says:

    Did anyone see the whole episode?

    The conclusion at the end was that hydrogen is the future, as it only takes a few minutes to refill, in line with our lifestyles, as opposed to the minimum 1 hour Jason mentioned on TWiT.

    They claimed that hydrogen is the same price out of the pump as petrol, but I’m dubious.

  13. Kuma says:

    They reviewed a fuel cell Honda Clarity at the end of the same episode… May is convinced that it is the way of the future… and he poses some good reasons around it.

  14. Mister Mustard says:

    #43 – Jack

    Yeah, hydrogen cars are great! If I had $5,000,000.00, and could buy hydrogen to run it, I’d have one already.

    It’s probably the wave of the longer-term future, but a car that’s $150K today may well be the price of a Prius a few years down the line. It’s going to take longer than that for the hydrogen cars to fit into my budget, not to mention the fuel problem. Most people have access to electricity, hydrogen not so much.

  15. I’ve dri9ven five or six hydrogen cars and a truck. This is not the car of the future I can assure you. Not with the current technology anyway. I’d vote for the electric before the hydrogen. We have a couple of hydrogen buses running in the area owned by AC Transit. I talked to the bus driver. She hated the thing. No torque, top-heavy and lumbering with no poop.

  16. Mister Mustard says:

    #45 – John C Dvorak

    I don’t know the specifics of the hydrogen cars and truck you drove, but I do know that the AC hydrogen bus is powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

    What I’m talking about are internal combustion hydrogen engines, like the ones in the $5,000,000.00 BMW “Hydrogen 7” (uses the same 6 liter V-12 motor as the 760i and 760Li) that they give to Brad Pitt, Jay Leno, and Placido Domingo.

  17. bobbo says:

    Hydrogen fuels cells “by definition” drive electric motors.

    Cars “powered by” hydrogen could be either fuel cells or hydrogren storage/generation systems that power normal internal combustion engines.

    Mr Mustard–how do you know what kind of Bus JCD is referring to? Most “buses” I have seen are as JCD describes, the fueled by hydrogen tanks that run normal engines.

    How do you know Mustard?

  18. Mister Mustard says:

    #47 – Bobo

    >>Mr Mustard–how do you know what kind of Bus
    >>JCD is referring to? How do you know Mustard?
    >>How do you know Mustard? How do you know
    >>Mustard? How do you know Mustard? How do you
    >>know Mustard? how do you know what kind of
    >>Bus JCD is referring to?

    Uh, there’s this thing called “The Google”, Bobbolina. You should try it some time. For example if you use The Google on “AC Transit hydrogen bus”, voilà:

    See how simple? ==//logical==\\, even.

  19. Mister Mustard says:

    #47 – Bobo

    >>Most “buses” I have seen are as JCD
    >>describes, the fueled by hydrogen tanks that
    >>run normal engines.

    Uh, he didn’t describe that (he couldn’t have, since the AC transit bus doesn’t use that technology). He said “We have a couple of hydrogen buses running in the area owned by AC Transit. I talked to the bus driver. She hated the thing. No torque, top-heavy and lumbering with no poop.“.

    If “most” of the buses you have seen use hydrogen to power an internal combustion engine, you must have an odd itinerary, or spend a lot of time in Iceland. The overwhelming majority of hydrogen buses in the US use hydrogen fuel cells.

    Speaking of “poop”, you’re full of it. Bobo, you’re BUSTED!

  20. bobbo says:

    $8–Mustard==unless JCD is referring to buses from a few years back (if they were hydrogen fueled even then?) it looks like your fact based posting wins this thread. Electric motors are all about torque, so if these buses lack it, it is by design==or JCD ran into some bus drivers with agendas of their own.

    Seems to me rather than ask someone else, JCD could get on the bus and directly observe the performance for himself to check for bias.

    Thanks for the links.

  21. Mister Mustard says:

    #50 – Bobbo

    Based on his posting here, and what’s been reported about his donnybrook on TwIT, it seems clear that he’s anti-electric, anti-hydrogen, and anti-green in general.


  22. Mister Mustard says:

    #50 – Bobbo

    In fact, on this topic, he reminds me somewhat of Larry Kudlow, bellowing in impotent rage over the “enviromaniacs”, and their unnatural attraction towards trees and green spaces rather than traffic jams and burning chemical rivers.

  23. MathaiosB says:

    Let’s see… low range (around 200 miles or less), expensive ($50k-$100k or more adjusted), low reliability (best thing is to hire your own mechanic for one), difficult to re-fuel (it’s not like there’s a station on every corner), noisy, impractical, can’t carry much payload, and dismal performance (top speed around 35-40mph)…

    I have to agree with you guys. This horseless carriage thing will never get off the ground. Someone call that Ford guy and tell him he should drop the idea of mass producing those things now.

    Oh, damn. You were discussing early electric cars, not early internal combustion engine cars. Well, obviously electric cars don’t hold any promise either.

    Good grief…

    If Tesla wants someone to drive a roadster around the midwest to build interest in them, I’d take one in a heartbeat.

  24. Rick Cain says:

    The tesla is just a rich persons bragging car. Much like the temperamental and unreliable ferraris, its not for you and me.

    Any production electric car for the masses will have half the batteries, half the motor and will emphasize practicality over performance. Something that is easily done.

    And for those hydrogen folks, give it up, you have been lied to. Hydrogen will NEVER be practical, which is why the oil industry wants us to spend money on the research. It delays adoption of electric cars so we still use gasoline while we try to fix a technology that doesn’t work.
    1) Hydrogen can’t be stored in sufficient amounts for a car 2) Hydrogen fuel is expensive 3) Hydrogen is hard to transport 4) Fuel cells will never be cheap 5) Hydrogen cars are finicky unless they operate in a very narrow temperature range

    After all, hydrogen IS an electric car, but with an expensive and impractical electric supply. Batteries are cheap and capacity is more than sufficient.

  25. ohms to Clarkson says:

    irrelevant my animal resembling a small horse with long ears
    2 to 4¢ a mile fuel cost–very good
    200mile range with normal some what sporty but mostly law biding driving –- very useful- how many of us commute over 200miles a day
    0-60 in under 4 seconds that’s in the 911 crowd—very good
    Ok charging the week point
    if you need a full charge from dead batteries(not likely for day to day driving)
    High Power Connector unit, and you’ll be fully charged in about 3.5hr ok
    With regular 220v 40amp(like your dryer may use) maybe 6 or 7hrs so so
    110v 15 amps over 20 hours sucks
    But for most real life uses
    you plug it in when you get home at night and you are toped off befor you go out the next day

    The Tesla Roadster Rocks!
    keep em coming
    hey what if a we get a storage system like this

    ok I’m a Top Gear fan and didn’t find this review out of place with the shows character

  26. amodedoma says:

    Not terribly surprising, no? Hell, most new car designs have some failings. It’s like I said before, advances in alt. energy technologies are coming out faster than the designers and engineers can incorporate them. This car probrably has 5 yearold technology in it and it’s been one heck of a productive 5 years for researchers. Patience, in the next few years, a seriously viable electric car should appear.

  27. Bruce says:

    They’ll be out of business within a year.

  28. Paddy-O says:

    #59. You think? They forgot an important factor in business. You need a market for the product you manufacture…

  29. Deep-Thought says:

    One have to know, Top Gear takes no prisoners.

    They complain about the slow charging time from a 14Amp socket, willingly ignoring the fact that no sane person would do this anyway. That’s just a compatibility fallback.
    You would use a heavy duty multiphase power socket for that. Which charges much faster, and you don’t always need to fully charge the thing anyway.

    And they say electricity comes from dirty power plants too. Ignoring that large scale electricity production is much more efficient then burning fuel in a small car engine. And the exhaust gases can be cleaned in just a different scale than on a car engine.
    And it keeps cities smog free.

    Ok, if the thing brakes down while filming that’s pretty much a death sentence for a car on Top Gear.

    PS: They ignore the fact that hydrogen for the much praised Honda FCX Clarity needs energy to be produced too. And the clarity is not for sale yet, the tesla is.

  30. JCincy says:

    # 40 Mister Mustard said,
    ‘If you want to drive the thing like Danica Patrick, Indy car driver and Go Daddy Girl, you may suffer “overheating and reduced power”.’

    I thought that was one of the main selling points of the car… you can drive it like a race car and feel warm in fuzzy inside because you are not blowing smoke out a tail pipe.


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