Tesla Roadster

The Essentials

  • Price from £87,945
  • What Car? says: 4 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 0.0mpg
  • What is it? Electric sports car based on the Lotus Elise delivers all the thrills you'd expect with none of the fuel bills.

Great

  • Stunning pace will leave most other cars standing
  • Looks absolutely gorgeous
  • You'll never have to stop for fuel again

Gripes

  • Silent engine can catch pedestrians and cyclists unawares
  • Battery will need replacing every five years, for £10,000
  • You've got 210 miles before it needs recharging
  • Drive

    Awesome: 0-60mph in under 4 seconds and it's all done silently

  • Inside

    Lots of leather and low-slung sports seats. Requires some flexibility to get in and out

  • Safety

    Two airbags are standard, and the battery pack is fitted with active and passive safety systems

  • Reliability

    We'll have to wait and see. No risk of traditional engine problems, and Tesla will want to ensure customer satisfaction

  • Space

    It's a two-seater and there's room for one golf bag or two very small weekend bags in the boot

  • Standard and extras

    Electric windows, air-con, heated seats and a carbon-fibre roof are standard. Suspension can be tuned to your taste

  • What's it like to drive?

    Pilots may disagree, but we reckon the Tesla Roadster is the closest you'll get to driving a jet plane down a runway. Foot to the floor there's no engine roar, just whine from the motor, along with the sensation of air rushing past your head. It feels as though one extra gust of wind might have you airborne. One forward gear setting means the car whisks you seamlessly from 0-60mph in less than 4 seconds. In normal town driving the car is silent, which can surprise pedestrians. Regenerative braking means that as soon as your foot is off the accelerator, the latent power is being channelled back into the battery, so stop-start driving in heavy traffic becomes an efficient way to travel.

  • What's it like inside?

    As you'd hope from a £90,000 car, the interior décor in the Tesla is suitably plush. A leather interior and dashboard, heated seat, air-conditioning and suspension tailored to your driving style all come as standard. There's a huge range of colours to choose from, so you'll never suffer the embarrassment of turning up at a party in the same one as anyone else. And the removable roof is also available in stunning clear carbon fibre. Getting into the low-slung sports seats does require a certain amount of flexibility, but once in place it's a comfortable place to be.

  • How reliable is it?

    Safety kit is pretty basic, with two airbags and traction control as standard. Reliability is an unknown, but without a conventional engine there's less to go wrong.

  • Should I buy one?

    Prices start at almost £90,000, so this isn't a bargain buy. There's no need to dirty your hands at the pump, however: fueling the car can be done overnight, from a standard electrical socket, using a cable supplied with the car. Each 'fill' should cost around £5, and the car will then travel around 210 miles, although this will drop if you fancy yourself a Formula 1 contender. There's no routine maintenance required, just checks on the brakes and tyres. However, a new battery will be needed every five years, and these cost around £10,000. The price should drop in time as technological advances improve the efficiency of the batteries. The car is exempt from the London Congestion Charge, once you've paid the annual £10 registration fee.