Driving P1

On February 1, 2008 Tesla Motors handed over the keys of the first production Roadster (P1) to Elon Musk, Chairman and now a proud Roadster owner. What has life been like behind the wheel of P1? Find out from Elon himself.

It has been a blast driving my Tesla Roadster every day for the past several weeks, using it as my daily driver from Bel Air to Hawthorne. I really think this is the most fun car I've ever owned, beating out the McLaren F1 and my 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo.

Car & Driver assessed the Roadster as having the best 30 to 70 mph acceleration of any car they tested in 2007 (and possibly ever), and that's where I really notice the difference. While the 3.9 second 0 to 60 mph time is great, the passing response on the highway is mind-blowing and effortless. No need to think about downshifting and getting your rpm into the torque sweet spot -- you're always in the torque sweet spot with an electric car.

Something else I notice is that the 3.9 second 0 to 60 mph time of the Roadster actually understates its performance relative to a gasoline car with the same quoted time. The reason is that there is no clutch engagement delay with the Roadster, because there is no clutch. I did some side by side acceleration tests with a friend of mine that has a Corvette, supposedly with a similar 0 to 60 mph time as the Roadster, and it was no contest.

Another great thing about having no clutch, plus having traction control that prevents an acceleration spin out, is that you can achieve max acceleration every time with ease. Try to do that on a Viper or a Porsche Carrera GT and you'll burn out your clutch within a week and destroy your rear tires.

Handling also seems excellent, although I haven't pushed that too hard.

As far as criticisms, my biggest concern is that I don't think our seats are comfortable enough. I've asked the engineering team to work on an upgrade right away. It will be provided at no cost to any customers that receive the existing seat design before the upgrade is ready. The back curvature and side support need to be improved. We are also looking at offering custom tailored seats, matched to each customer's height, width, leg length, etc., as an optional upgrade.

Reaction from driving the car around Los Angeles has been great. It’s thumbs up wherever I go – something that never happens when I’m driving the Porsche. A big advantage of the Roadster is that I can show up to an event like Global Green or Conservation International in a hot sports car and actually get a better reaction than if I drove a Prius! The Roadster has twice the energy efficiency of that gas hog. :)

Nächster Schritt: The Spin Stops Here

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Hi Elon,

I own a Porsche and a Lotus and as my next car, I was very much interested in Tesla... and actually was about to either visit Toronto or CA office to test drive and check it out and possibly order one (I am from Canada). However, your NON-SENSE LAWSUIT against Top Gear has turned me off SO MUCH that I am NOT going to bother!

Top Gear is an entertaining car show and has been for many years, the regular watchers DO UNDERSTAND their humor and that they exxagerate certain facts for being entertaining. Also, it's really stupid and a CERTAIN LIE for you to claim that your car can do a 200 miles TRACK DAY without charge... like if I could claim that my 911 that has a 20mpg rating, would DO THE SAME MPG on track, it does NOT! and that is understandable for ANYONE who's in the sports car market and has EVER owned and tracked a sports car (where you're marketing your car to).

So, I wanna just give you some feedback as a car enthusiast... STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT TOP GEAR REVIEW, get back to work and produce a better car that people would go and buy reglardless of what some show might say! You have made yourself look A LOT WORSE than better... specially since you're targeting car enthusiasts.


Alex B


Waah! im imspired!
how many hps on it?


Hi, I live in South Africa. Will we ever see the Tesla coming to South Africa and how much would it cost in USD$. I think South Africa is a viable market for the Tesla as our fuel prices are soaring and more and more South Africans are looking for better and cheaper modes of transport. A popular choice for electric transport in South Africa would be the Toyota Prius, but its not a looker and doesnt provide the performance. Many wealthy Johannesburg yuppies and rich businessmen are looking for performance and buy Ferraris, Lambos, Mercs, Porsches etc . . . The Tesla would be a welcome breath of fresh air . . . litterally because South Africas pollution is very very bad in some of the bigger cities. PLEASE PLEASE BRING THE TESLA TO SOUTH AFRICA ! ! !