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Doug Drives the Roadster

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by doug, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    #1 doug, Mar 1, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2009
    I'm always happy to see when a fan gets a chance to drive the Roadster. In this case I was even happier since that fan was me! ;-)
    As DaveD mentioned, he came down last week to check out his car before delivery (which should be today, btw). I stopped by the Menlo Park store on the previous Thursday to take some photos for Dave and the weather was just great, but the precipitation returned that weekend and it was rainy when he made it into town on Monday. On Tuesday, however, there was a break in the weather and Dave called me up to see if I wanted to go for a ride/drive. You can bet I jumped at the opportunity.

    Plenty has been written about driving the Roadster. So I won't attempt to give a comprehensive review, just a description of my experience.

    I met up with Dave at the Menlo Park store and we took about a 2 hour drive that went through Woodside and La Honda (passing a few locations of Tesla lore such as Bucks and Alice's Restaurant), stretching to the coast and back. You can see the basic route we took here.

    We started out going north on El Camino and then west on 84 with Dave behind the wheel and the soft top on. Menlo Park was somewhat overcast and the roads were still a bit wet. I've ridden in the Roadster a few times before (both 1.0 and 1.5 drivetrains), and with the top on, you can hear the motor quite well. I have no idea why someone would want to mask or replace that sound, it's just too cool. A previous ride in VP16 revealed some audible creeks from the suspension and from body flexing. This time I only noticed a few squawks from soft top, which maybe was just settling into place because the noise quickly went away.

    Once out of the valley the sky was much more clear and there was plenty of sunlight. So we stopped in the lot of Alice's Restaurant, removed the soft top, and Dave gave me the keys. Continuing on 84, I carved down the mountain twisties towards the coast. Clouds of moisture could be seen rising from the road where shafts of sunlight broke through the trees.

    3321692226_8af4f44e98_b.jpg

    Let me just get this out of the way: The acceleration of the Roadster is very impressive. It came in handy when I executed a legal passing maneuver (that perhaps took Dave by surprise) on the two-lane, two-way road. It really presses you back into your seat and you feel your neck muscles working until you give up and just let the headrest do its job. Modulating the speed with only the right pedal was quite easy to get used to, and it was nice not having to constantly shift gears as I would have to do in my Miata (though arguably that's part of the fun). I did at times find myself using the friction brakes when aggressively approaching a curve before entry. The absence of power steering meant that a bit more effort was required to maintain the line through a curve and I was aware some mild understeer (compared to my Miata's gobs of oversteer).

    3321691326_29e38c637d_b.jpg

    We proceeded to the coast and stopped at San Gregorio beach. The weather was just fantastic. I need to find more excuses to drive out there regardless of what car I'm using. There was a great blue heron walking in the grass as well as some other wild life. After enjoying the surroundings for a few minutes, I gave the keys back to Dave and we returned up 84 much the way we came, then turned right down Skyline. I suggested we then take Page Mill since it's a road I know well (due to the fact it provides for some interesting driving close to campus).


    3321692918_519543fa74_b.jpg

    Stopping at a turnout, I once again got behind the wheel, and we continued down Page Mill. This car is really a lot of fun on winding roads. We then had a brief stretch of highway driving on 280. Like others, I found the 70 to 100 acceleration in the fast lane to be much less dramatic than the 30 to 70 in the on ramp. However, it was still more than adequate. Pulling into the driveway of the Menlo Park store, I was satisfied having experienced a thoroughly exhilarating drive. Heartfelt thanks to DaveD and the fine folks at Tesla Motors for making that experience possible.

    3320863725_d43692f76e_b.jpg
     
  2. jtibble

    jtibble Tesla Evangelist

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    Wow, great post! The google maps link says the trip is 65.5 miles... how much charge (or how many miles) did the car indicate you had remaining after you had finished your trip?
     
  3. graham

    graham Active Member

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    Glad you finally got to take one for a spin! I am jealous! I have not tested a DT1.5 yet - sounds like a great drive!
     
  4. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    [​IMG]
    :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
     
  5. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Glad to see you finally got your car, DaveD. (OK, the yellow is growing on me at least a little now!)

    Thank you for being nice enough to let Doug have that thrill.
    Sounds like the two of you had a blast.
     
  6. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    #6 doug, Mar 1, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2009
    I don't remember exactly, but I did take a glance at the VDS when we returned, and it was over 100 miles of range left.

    Btw, the VDS has a bunch on cool functions
    like giving your instantaneous torque, power, and acceleration:
    IMG_1640_1.jpg
    But for the 2008 model year, it's located in such a position that if you're
    doing anything interesting, you never get a chance to look at it. I'm glad
    this is changing for 2009/2010.

    Here are a couple more photos:
    3320860159_7af7988d1f_b.jpg 3321693650_43aaa26072_b.jpg
     
  7. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    Very nice write up Doug and well done to DaveD. Looks like you had a lot of fun. Jealous! :biggrin:
     
  8. DaveD

    DaveD EVs Kick Gas!

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    You're welcome, doug. It's always been my intention to let people I cross paths with to have an opportunity to experience the Tesla - you got to be one of the first on my list.

    That's OK if yellow is still at the bottom of your list, TEG. Color preference is a personal choice, and I take no offense by your not liking it as much as other colors.

    After the rainy Monday I experienced when I arrived there, the sunny Tuesday was a thrill in itself; driving in a Tesla in the sun made it darn near perfect.

    My Roadster arrived here in Seattle today, right on schedule! I spent much of today letting people drive it while I rode along. Tomorrow will be the beginning of it becoming my daily driver car.
     
  9. graham

    graham Active Member

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    Yay!!

    Please continue to let us know your experiences with it as a daily commuter. There are many "first drive" write ups out there, but few experiences from people who drive it every day.
     
  10. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    #10 vfx, Mar 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2009
    Very cool of you Dave to share with Doug and all comers. You are truly walking the walk.

    Doug you have created the picture of a near perfect day. Good friend, good weather, clean fun, you jyst need the good food.:tongue:

    This picture stood out as one showing the camped cabin space with your legs turning in like like grass in the wind.
    3320863725_d43692f76e_b.jpg
     
  11. graham

    graham Active Member

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    Yes, for folks who have not tried sitting in a Roadster this picture illustrates the interior trade offs pretty well. The "inside leg" gets to be mostly straight if you are not too tall for both the driver and passenger. The "outside leg" angles in somewhat. All that space shown to the right of the passenger's leg in the photo is the "door sill" everyone talks about, and it is ginormous. It is apparently lower than the original Elise by 2 inches, but it still seems 8 inches or so in width. You can see it in the picture starting to the right of the silver tray under the dash, and continuing all the way out to the door off the right of the photo.

    The good news is that this increases elbow-shoulder room in the outside direction. If you lean slightly to the outside, there is a fair amount of arm/torso space over that doorsill between the seat and the door. This is good since there is no center console space to speak of between the seats, and traveling shoulder-to-shoulder with a passenger would be very cramped othewise.

    However, leg room is not so lucky. There is a fair amount of length space under the dash to accommodate long legs, but the doorsill takes up much of the width making the foot area a bit cramped during long trips.
     
  12. DaveD

    DaveD EVs Kick Gas!

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    Will do, Graham. I'm not so much of a car guy that I feel my "first drive" impression would be any value over the others already written, but I'm serious about this being used as my primary four-wheeled vehicle (my electric Vectrix scooter now being relegated to being my 'other EV'). So, I'll try to post at regular intervals about my experience using it for everday purposes. As a fellow Seattle owner put it when I was riding around with him in my Roadster this weekend (paraphrasing), "I already know that it can go fast and that it looks great. What I want to know now is how does it feel to just use it in normal, everyday situations?"
     
  13. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Please include some of the funnier stories of questions you get and reactions heard from people that are astounded. No, please don't taunt gas station attendants like Lyle did, but please do include humorous anecdotes that come up when you surprise someone with the news that it is electric!
     
  14. DaveD

    DaveD EVs Kick Gas!

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    Dang - and here I was making plans to visit all the gas stations in Seattle asking the attendants to "top me off". :rolleyes:

    I will do my best to report on people's reactions to it. I'm not one to seek out the attention of average people on the street (honest, I got yellow to improve my chances of being seen in traffic and not getting hit), but I'm sure that I'll inevitably get people approaching me with questions and amusing, and probably also antagonistic, reactions.
     
  15. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    I can confirm that DaveD is always very visible to other vehicles, whether he is driving a yellow Roadster or riding his Vectrix electric scooter. He has a fluorescent yellow/green riding suit that is visible from about 2 miles away.

    If he ever gets into an auto accident, the other guy will never be able to say, "I didn't see him."
     
  16. DaveD

    DaveD EVs Kick Gas!

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    #16 DaveD, Mar 4, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2009
    I got my first noticeable reaction to my Tesla today, from another motorist. I was stopped at a light, and a fellow pulled up beside me in a Mustang. I first noticed him when he had rolled his window down and was calling out to me, "WOW! A TESLA!!". He was pretty excited to see it, said he'd been following its development progress, was very interested in it, and that mine was the first he'd seen in the area. I asked him if he was going to order one, and he said he was thinking about getting one, but that they were "hard to get" what with the long lead time for ordering one. I told him that one had sold on EBay today for $160K. That made his eyes bug out. He asked me if the range was good, and I told him that I'd not yet pushed it. The light changed to green then, and we were on our separate ways.

    Three days into the daily commute routine (normally, 25 miles RT), and I expect that the ingress/egress will forever be, shall we say, "interesting". I stopped by James' house last night to show it to him and give him a little time behind the wheel. He's a bigger guy than I am, and it's work for him, especially exiting.

    I'm mostly behaving myself on speed/acceleration. Traffic density during commute hours doesn't lend itself to high-accel launches without risk, and I don't want to be a "jerk" in my driving. I did take a co-worker out for a short drive Tuesday, and on a long, straight side street with no traffic on it, did a rolling launch, which caused him to tense right up and audibly suck in his breath! :smile: I offered another co-worker a ride, and soon after he got into the passenger seat and closed the door, he was back out of it - turns out he's a wee bit claustrophobic, and the Roadster is "too uncomfortable" for him.

    The high humidty here in Seattle when it's raining will cause the windows to fog up quickly. I'm training myself to be conscious of energy use in the Roadster, so when it starts to fog, I first turn on just the fan. That by itself will clear up the fog if the humidty isn't too high. Then I'll turn on the heat if it's still not clearing. That's all I've had to do so far. I've still got the use of the A/C in my arsenal as a way to dehumidify the cabin air, but that'll really suck the juice, so I've not resorted to it yet. Yes, given that I commute a pretty short distance, I could probably crank up the heater and the A/C all the time and not be in any danger of running the battery low, but since I'm not spending my driving time having to shift gears, I choose to occupy it by experimenting with minimizing energy consumption. To each his own, I suppose. :wink:

    Approaching 300 miles on the odometer (includes that nice 2 hour drive with doug to the ocean in CA).
     

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