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Woo-hoo! WOW!!! WHOPEE!!!

I've been following Tesla for about 4 years, maybe a bit more. About 4 years ago I visited the Tesla headquarters in San Carlos and was given a ride in (but not allowed to drive) one of the four existing engineering prototype Roadsters. It had a two-speed transmission, but low gear was disabled due to problems. (I was adamant that a transmission was a bad idea.) The car was fast, and it was cool, but it was uncomfortable to sit in, and the battery cooling system was loud. Wait time was unknown, and I decided it was not the car for me.

I bought a Zap Xebra instead, and it's been a fun little car. It's been my daily driver and I've put on thousands of electric miles since I got it. But it only goes 35 mph on level ground, and struggles to get up hills. With an aftermarket LiFePO4 battery pack it's got a 40-mile range, though it's better for the batteries to not go below 20% SoC. It's been a nice car.

Today I flew to Seattle and drove a 2.5 Roadster Sport. As the thread title says: WOW!!! I expected to dislike having the regen on the go pedal. I wanted the regen on the brake pedal. But within 5 minutes I was feeling very comfortable with it. And, boy, does it move! (Well, most of you reading this already know that.) The car was really quite comfortable to sit in, the opposite of the prototype four years ago, though it's still awkward to get in and out of. Even in range mode the car was like a jackrabbit on crack. I never put it in performance mode.

This is not intended as a review of the car, just an expression of enthusiasm. I've been committed to electric for several years, and the Roadster is an amazing car. In the end, I bought number 1117, presently in Chicago, and due to be shipped to me. Five to ten days, depending on whether expedited shipping can be arranged. It's a non-sport model with few options. The only options are premium paint (bright orange) and the "infotainment group" which I'd happily have passed on, but it's what the car had. All the other available cars had far more options, and correspondingly higher prices for stuff I didn't need or want. I'd actually have bought a Nissan Leaf if they'd delivered it any of the half dozen times they promised me. But I finally got tired of waiting for a car that Nissan seemed to have no intention of ever delivering, which was why I decided to make the trip to drive the Tesla. Let me say thank you to Nissan for being such a crummy company, and breaking so many promises, since I know I'm going to be much happier with the Roadster than I'd have been with the boring old Leaf and its measly 85 mile range.

Now I won't be able to sleep for anxiety as I wait for the car to arrive.

Correction: I misspelled "Whoopee" in the thread title. Sorry.

Also, I've decided it's the "goose" pedal. Please correct your vocabulary.

;)
;p

"Goose pedal" sounds good. Can't really call it the "go pedal" (as some EV folks do) since it's both a go pedal and a slow-down pedal, though not quite a stop pedal. In the Xebra I always call it the electron pedal. This seems in keeping with traditional nomenclature wherein a stinker has a "gas pedal."

Accelerator pedal as there is both positive and negative acceleration.

Great story.

In physics, acceleration is any change in speed or direction. But in common usage, acceleration means to speed up. I really like the term "electron pedal," because it sounds good (to me, anyway) and is analogous to the term "gas pedal" in stinkers, and emphasizes the fact that when I step on the pedal, I'm sending electrons, not gasoline. With regen, it's just sending electrons the other way.

I once calculated that my Zap Xebra goes a billionth of a billionth of a mile per electron. (Electrons are, of course, very, very small.) And yes, I know that's silly, and probably wrong, and an electron is not a proper unit of measurement of electrical energy, but I still like using it when people ask what my "gas mileage" is. [i][/i]

Now I just got word that they're having trouble getting me an expedited delivery and I'll probably have to wait ten days for my car. Grump! (Though there's still an outside chance...) Knock on wood. [i][/i]

The fact that you have a Xebra makes my think you are from Spokane (or Spokane Valley)and that we have a friend in common named Allan. If so, I'd love to see your Roadster when you get it.

Don't tell him, please. He doesn't know about it. I want to surprise him by driving up in it. After that I'd be delighted to give you a ride. I'll be looking for excuses to take it out.

I've had Tesla-on-the-brain disease for four years, but always gave myself reasons for not getting it. It's too small. Too uncomfortable (the engineering prototype I rode in 4 years ago was). Not quiet enough (the prototype, again). I had other ideas that seemed more practical. But when two other options seemed to have fallen through I just made a snap decision to take the trip to test drive it, and as everyone knows who's driven one, that was all it took. I went from "not interested" to "might as well drive it" to signing the papers in about 54 hours.

It's not like I hadn't given it a lot of thought. Just that the actual decision came suddenly.

I haven't talked to Allan in quite awhile (after he'd looked at a Leaf and decided against it).

I'll keep quiet until I see that you've taken delivery.

daniel;
The trouble with the term "goose" pedal is that it's somewhat dangerous; I can imagine drivers lurching and hopping down the road as they snicker and heave with suppressed laughter every time the term catches the fancy of their funny bones. So to speak.
;)

Congratulations on #1117. I considered that one, along with #1301 and #1213, but really #1244 was perfect for me. The wait time from Menlo Park to Seattle was shorter than predicted. Here's hoping the time from Chicago to Seattle is also shorter than quoted. Keep in mind, though, that you're not waiting nearly as long as custom order folks. I spent 15 months waiting from 2008 to 2009 and had to give up my reservation, so the short wait this year was nothing, especially considering that folks who purchased a custom the week before won't have their vehicle for months. I purchased when custom orders were temporarily unavailable ... before the recent announcement that there are now 100 more U.S. custom order slots.

Regeneration on the Accelerator pedal is 100% appropriate. It works exactly like my gas roadster and other gas sports cars. My only complain is that the "creep" mode in drive is entirely inappropriate for a sports car, since roadsters as a class of vehicle always always have a manual transmission. Automatics creep, and thus the Model S should certainly creep, but the Roadster really shouldn't go until you hit the accelerator.

David70:

Now I know who you are. I'll be delighted to give you a ride when the car comes. If it actually does come. After waiting so long and being frustrated so many times, I'm reluctant to believe it actually will. I'll give Rick a ride, too, if he wants.

rsdio said:

"... Keep in mind, though, that you're not waiting nearly as long as custom order folks..."

Yes, but they mostly knew about how long they'd have to wait. A year and a half ago I was promised to have a full-on electric car, (a Porsche conversion) and that kept getting delayed two weeks at a time, and is STILL not done; and so last year I ordered the Leaf, which was originally promised for December, and IT kept getting delayed; and I'm just totally at my wit's end, which was part of the reason I bought the Roadster. I offered to pay significantly extra for expedited delivery, and though they made no promises, I was hopeful that for the extra money they could do it, but as of yesterday they had not yet found anybody they trust to do it, and now I figure the car will probably fall off the trailer before it gets here. This has been a two year wait for me, and I'm practically a basket case now.

Now that I've driven it I agree with you about the electron pedal. And I also agree with you about the creep. The creep ought to be adjustable in firmware, I'd think.

I was going to ask about your Porsche conversion (from Florida?), but you've now answered that question. And IIRC it's been way over a year and a half now.

Two years to the month since I bought the Porsche. The Florida guy claimed it had never taken him longer than four months to do a conversion. It took him eleven months to get the car back to me, in such abysmal shape that after driving it for a few weeks I had to take it to a local place, where it's been for a year. But the local guy made no promises on time frame, and could only devote a few hours a week to it. Still, he was "hoping" to have it done 6 months ago. Lots of issues have delayed it. It just needs the battery issue addressed now. But I'm sick of it. I'd gladly sell it as is for a reasonable amount. Once my Roadster comes the Porsche will be redundant.

Congrats. You'll love it.

But keep your expectations low so they'll be wildly exceeded when you get the car.

;p

daniel;
"It's not like I hadn't given it a lot of thought. Just that the actual decision came suddenly." Actually, your subconscious had already decided, and just picked that moment to let you know about it.

:-)

Brian:

Actually, it was the news of yet another snafu and delay with the Porsche, and the mounting number of broken promises from Nissan regarding a delivery date for the Leaf, that made me decide on the spur of the moment to fly to Seattle to test-drive the Roadster.

I'm not sure what I expected from the Roadster, but the engineering prototype that I rode in 4 years ago did NOT prepare me for the experience of driving the 2.5. It really was a sudden decision, even though it's been on my mind from the beginning.

Now the conversion shop is telling me the Porsche will be done in a couple of weeks, rather than 3 months, so it's a toss-up which car will come first. Both the Porsche and the Xebra will be for sale. The Leaf arrived the day I was in Seattle. I turned it down. I'm sure it's a nice car, and the more EVs out there, the better. But with the Xebra, the Porsche, and the Roadster, I'm going to have two too many electric cars.

Donate the Xebra to a local charity. What you'd get for it is a rounding error on the Porche's price.

It's a thought. My concern is that the Xebra is not a well-built or well-designed car. It's been great for me. But I will not sell it to anyone who has not taken the time to read the Xebra Breeders Digest over at the Xebra group, because otherwise they are liable to be surprised and angry over the little shortcomings of the car. Donating it would mean they'd probably auction it to some unsuspecting person. It's also not a safe car. It's a trike, meaning it's passed no safety tests or standards. I shudder to think of some mom with kids buying it without understanding the safety concerns. I might let it out on consignment to someone who sells cars like this on a regular basis. The ideal buyer would be someone who owns or has owned a Xebra before and wants a lithium Xebra.

One thought would be to offer it as a freebee to whoever buys the Posche.

Daniel,

I didn't know they made a litium Xebra. Does it have any more range than the lead-acid version. The two reasons I'd avoided getting a Xebra were that it was a trike and that 40 miles wasn't enough to get more than barely to Spokane from Cheney and back. OTOH there is more level 1 charging available. The trike issue isn't tooooo bad, as I wouldn't be tempted to take it onto I-90 anyway. I always got the best mileage with the Prius taking the side roads.

Has your Porsche arrived yet? I might want to see it too. Not for purchase though. You've probably put more money into it than you would for a Model S, maybe even more than for the Roadster.

Is the Xebra a sedan as opposed to a pickup?

If my wife insists I don't get a Model S, I could be interested. At least I wouldn't feel too bad about leaving it behind when I go on road trips in the gas guzzler.

But, I really want that Model S, even if I can only afford a 160 mile version.

Daniel,

I just re-read your opening post and see that you did (had done) the Lithium conversion.

Maybe if I threatened my wife with getting the Xebra and using it as the main around town vehicle she'd give in on the Model S.

David,

If your Prius gets the best miles on side roads, then is that basically because you're trading time for efficiency? I assume that the side roads have lower speed limits, but are maybe shorter in actual miles.

I recall reading somewhere that the Roadster battery is most efficient at 17 mph, although I'm not sure how that was calculated. It makes some sense that traveling fast - i.e. 70 mph - comes at a cost that perhaps we should all learn to do without! One of my games in the Roadster is to try to keep the gauge below 25 kW, but I notice on the freeway that it sometimes takes 50 kW just to maintain speed (if it's uphill or there's a headwind). In any case, everyone to whom I demo the Roadster reacts by talking about speed, but I actually enjoy driving at a nice, relaxed pace to the grocery store or on other errands. I do love a sports car, but the selling point on the Roadster for me is the low drag area, light weight, and basic minimal vehicle (well, except for a one-seater that crossed my path in Wallingford the other day).

I'm looking into getting custom wheels that are lighter than the stock Tesla wheels, just so that I can reduce the unsprung weight and hopefully gain even more efficiency.

Not necessarily shorter in miles, but as with EVs as lower speed and smaller magnitude acceleration drag forces are lower and regenerative braking more efficient.

Thanks! I've only had my Roadster 2.5 for three weeks, so I do need to learn how to get the most out of it.

Yep. Become a hypermiler without irritating fellow travelers.

If you haven't done so yet, look at

http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/roadster-efficiency-and-range
for speed vs range plots, and where the energy losses occur.

Thanks again! Now I know where that 17 mph figure came from. Looks like 17 mph to 19 mph are at the (flat) peak of efficiency. If only we all had the time to travel at a mere 17 mph from place to place...

It'd be a lot more relaxing (and boring) driving. Might as well do it on a bicycle.

Yeah? Try it. Have someone drive along on a level road at 18 mph. and see how long you can keep up on a bicycle. Unless you're a road racer, I'll bet it wouldn't be 15 minutes.

I was never a real road racer (although I did enter some races between 1967 and 1970). By "real" I mean I was never competitive, but I could maintain 20 mph on level ground for up to an hour. Other amateurs I knew could do 25 mph for reasonable periods of time. When I was in condition (for me) I could do 15 mph over uneven ground for over 3 hours. These days, the best I could do is 10-12 mph. Of course I no longer ride a road bike.

RSDIO:

The reason the Prius is most efficient at slower speeds is because slower speeds are inherently more efficient due to reduced wind resistance. Our expectations are distorted because gasoline engines are so abysmally inefficient at low power output that they waste even more energy in city traffic than on the highway, where they can run at their design power output. The Prius, with its electric motor, can make do with a smaller and inherently more efficient engine, thus greatly limiting city-traffic inefficiencies. The low-power engine is better matched to the actual average power needs of the car, and the electric motor can supply the torque needed for acceleration.

The electric motor in the Tesla preserves its (very high) efficiency over a wide range of RPMs, so it's largely wind resistance that accounts for the change in range with speed. Thus it's most efficient at very low speed.

David:

The stock Xebra has a range of about 20 miles with its lead-acid battery pack. But lead batteries do poorly if discharged below about 50%. So, while the car can go 20 miles, it's best to limit frequent trips to 10 miles.

I got mine with an aftermarket lead pack that had a 40-mile range, but since I regularly drove 30 miles, my batteries degraded rapidly. So I had the LiFePO4 pack installed. This pack has a 40-mile range also, but LiFePO4 can safely be discharged to 80% DoD, giving me a safe range of 32 miles. Lithium also does not lose much range in cold weather, as lead does. So my range in winter remains close to 40 miles (close to 32 miles safe), whereas the lead batteries had noticeably less range in winter than in summer.

If you are interested in my Xebra, you should join the Yahoo Xebra_EV group and find the Xebra Breeders Digest in their files section and read it. Also ask questions on the group to familiarize yourself with the car's shortcomings. It's been a great little car for me, but it is not of the quality most people expect in a car, and I won't sell it to anyone who does not take the time to learn about its quirks.


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