Over the past decade, Elon Musk has successfully established his electric car company, Tesla, and they’ve truly made a splash in the world of cars today. Tesla is known for its incredibly user-oriented cars with fun surprises and clean lines, but they didn’t start out with their more popular models like the Model 3. In fact, Elon Musk’s first Tesla Roadster might look familiar in a totally different way.
The first Tesla Roadster
In 2008, Tesla debuted the first roadster. It was an all-electric car based on a modified Lotus Elise chassis, which is quite evident upon first glance. It had a 375 V lithium-ion battery with a reported range of 244 miles. In fact, it looks so much like a Lotus that most people argued it’s just a stretched out, electric version of a Lotus, but Elon explains that the claim is “flat out untrue.”
Some parts of the first Roadster were still produced by Lotus, which is noticeable if you were to compare things like the dashboard, but the car itself goes through its final assembly, including the major necessary components like the motor and drive train, at the Tesla factory in California.
Besides trading in the traditional combustion engine for an all-electric motor, there are some other modifications that set this apart from it’s Lotus origins. The Tesla Roadster had taken the original Lotus chassis and stretched it by approximately six inches, making the car overall slightly longer. It was also heavier than the Lotus Elise, weighing 2,877lbs which is surprising considering the body was completely carbon fiber, a lighter-weight material than the fiberglass used for many parts of the Elise.
Price and performance
The base model for the original 2006 Tesla Roadster started at about $80,000 and could range upwards of almost $120,000 depending on options and features. This pricing was consistent through all versions, with the upgraded models through the 2010 production year stayed comfortably in that range, the most expensive reaching over $128,500 in the last model year.
The first Tesla Roadster wasn’t just designed to be a cool looking electric sports car, it also had some performance capabilities. The original 2006 model had a 0 – 60mph time of 3.9 seconds, which was upgraded in 2010 when Tesla produced a V2.5 Sport model of the car that could go from 0 – 60mph in a shorter 3.7 seconds.
If you didn’t know about the Tesla Roadster before you became familiar with the more popular Tesla cars, you probably saw the car when it was launched into space. That’s right, in 2018 Elon Musk sent on of his original Tesla Roadsters into space with his other company, SpaceX, and launched the car into orbit on the Falcon Heavy rocket.