Tesla Roadster Sport

12 Feb, 2010 12:10pm Jack Rix

Verdict on electric pioneer in right-hand drive


Zero emissions, free road tax and Ferrari-rivalling pace make the Tesla Roadster a real achievement – even at £101,000. And the pumped-up Sport model is the best of the breed. Offering a right-hand-drive model is a shrewd move, too. Not only does it mean the car is more appealing to UK customers, but it opens up opportunities in other lucrative RHD markets, such as Asia and Australia.

US firm Tesla is taking a step in the right direction! A year after its revolutionary electric Roadster went on sale in the UK, the first right-hand-drive versions have arrived here.

So, we got behind the wheel of the higher-powered Sport model on British roads.

The standard Roadster was never short on power, but if you specify the Sport version, it comes with a Performance mode that unleashes an extra 20Nm of torque. That’s enough to cut the 0-60mph time from 3.9 to 3.7 seconds – taking the Tesla into supercar territory.

Drive with a heavy right foot, and the claimed 200-mile range soon dips into double figures. But pay an extra £2,300, and the firm will install a 70-amp charging box at your house – allowing a full top-up in as
little as three-and-a-half hours.

Only stripped-out track specials, such as Caterham’s R500 and the Ariel Atom Supercharged, come close to matching the Tesla’s amazing acceleration. Sure, it’s hugely expensive, but you always have to pay for new technology – and this electric car is way ahead of its time. If you want your own slice of automotive history, however, be quick – Tesla has announced that the Roadster will cease production in 2011.

Key specs

* Price: £101,900
* Engine: Three-phase electric motor, 284bhp
* Transmission: Single-speed, rear-wheel drive
* Torque: 400Nm
* 0-62/top spd: 3.7s/130mph
* CO2 emissions: 0g/km
* Equipment: Heated seats, iPod dock, touchscreen display, cruise control, seven-speaker stereo, air-con, power windows
* On sale: Now