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2008 Tesla Roadster Review

Electrified Performance

A front view of a red 2008 Tesla Roadster at Tesla Motor's store in Los Angeles

In short: A revolutionary, all-electric sports car you can really buy.

If hybrid technology is a stepping-stone to powering automobiles, hydrogen and electric (not to mention compressed air), are probably safe and clean alternatives. The engineers at Tesla stuck 6,831 laptop computer batteries to a three-phase, four-pole electric motor, and they cleared 60 mph in less than four seconds without a single engine sound. Celebrities have shown their support for the promising roadster,and quite a few new auto aficionados have followed suit. There is one in Tony Stark’s garage of “Iron Man” fame, while Arnold Schwarzenegger and noted car buff Jay Leno can be seen cruising the streets of Hollywood in their Roadsters, as well.

Views of the 2008 Tesla Roadster's all-electric powertrain and front interior

Although orders are no longer being taken for the Roadster, Tesla has already turned its attention towards a new project — the Model S. Starting at under $60,000 and once again offering Tesla's innovative electric-drive performance engineering, this luxury sedan is an affordable option that is both exciting and environmentally friendly.

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Watch a video of the Tesla Roadster

A three-quarter rear view of a red 2008 Tesla Roadster at the Tesla store in Los Angeles

Warranty/Service: Four-year/100,000-mile warranty

Base Price: $109,000

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: rear-motor, rear-wheel drive, 2-passenger, 2-door roadster convertible

Engine: 3-phase, 4-pole AC electric motor
Horsepower: 302 hp @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
Torque: 273 lb-ft @ 0-5,400 rpm
Transmission: single-speed fixed gear

Curb weight: 2,723 lbs
Wheelbase: 92.6 in
155.1/72.9/44.4 in

Brakes: front and rear vented disc with ABS and regenerative braking
double-wishbone front and rear
Traction: traction control

Safety: front airbags, front and rear crumple zones, rigid occupant safety cell, side-impact door beams, tire pressure monitoring system

0-60 mph: 3.9 seconds
Top Speed:
125 mph
70-0 mph: 213 ft

EPA rating: 135 mpg (equivalent)

Charge Range:
245 miles
Max Charge Time: 3.5 hours
Recharging equipment: at-home charging station; optional on-road charging kit

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Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated: 09/12/12 NW)