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My experience with a Lotus Elise

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by danny, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. danny

    danny Administrator

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    Recently i had the chance to spend a few days with a Lotus Elise. In the coming days I'll try and write a review on the car. I drove it on free ways, on windy roads, in traffic and on a track.
    Of course i mention this because of lotus's involvement in putting the car together. If anyone has any questions about the car you can ask me or you can go and get much more opinions from people who know the car way better than me at www.elisetalk.com.
    I'll mention now what I think is relevant to tesla. Keep in mind that some of what I'm saying may apply only to the car I drove, especially the reliablitiy issues.
    Pros: Great road holding, great braking, very well balance car. Go kart feel. Exotic Looks. Convertible. Difficult to climb into(lol, adds to the excitement at first). Reliable Toyota engine.
    Cons: Materials used to build car such as fiber glass and plastic, difficult to climb into, The following may be car specific: rattling sounds, trunk/engine cover wouldn't close, reliability, somethings just not working right, strange sounds coming from the chassis or wheels i think.
    I'll try and clarify what i'm trying to say, the car is a non compromise car. You've got to be prepared to deal with this.
    Its got a reliable engine, but I got the feeling like the car is kind of glued together not welded together.
    For pure gokart like feel, this is a great car. It gets you very connected to the road. Not much sophistication, no computers. I believe the lotus motto is(correct me if i'm wrong) "Simplify and add lightness".
    This car is a real commitment. I believe the elise starts a 42k although you can get on in the low thirties with very few miles used. At first it sounded like a bargain but after driving the car extensively I decided the car should be cheaper. Of course the exclusivity factor makes the price justified. If lotus made this car in much higher numbers the price would be much lower. There are plenty of cars in the low 20s with better quality interiors for example. Because of its simplicity, this car could be much cheaper imo. However I would say the same thing about porsche and ferrari, that you are paying for exclusivity. But exclusivity doesn't mean anything to me so I'll look at it from that standpoint.
    What does all this mean for tesla. Well people have to realize that this car is basically a lotus. The carbon fiber body is a great improvement. Hopefully there will be more improvments. The drivetrain should be more reliable on the tesla. But in terms of quality, I expect it to be similar to the lotus which may not be good for 92k dollar car. The type of people who will be buying the tesla or that tesla is marketing too much not really like a lotus elise I'm guessing. I think they gotta market more to the sports car crowd and by that i mean the lotus crowd who will be able deal with its simplicity. The green people who think driving is evil won't like it and the rich-bently driving crowd probably won't understand it. I am a little worried about tesla roadsters long term viability.
     
  2. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    I am familiar with the things of which you speak. But remember that Tesla has done their best to make this more of a luxury car. Lowered side sills to make it easier to get in and out of. And all the high tech interior gadgets one might expect in a modern expensive car. At the very least, they certainly go out of there way so "clarify" that it's not a Lotus.
     
  3. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    How many of issues you mentioned are due to the design and how many to the build quality?

    Tesla mentioned that one of the reason to building their own plant was to get better control over production quality. Of course, this only applies to future models. They also mentioned that Roadster is more luxurious (is that even a word?:) than Elise. I guess they used different materials, add some gizmos etc.

    I also remember reading they put much effort into reducing suspension noise etc because they have much quieter engine than Elise.
     
  4. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    This thread wouldn't be complete without a link back to Rahul Nair's blog entry. Check it out. . .

    http://www.rahulnair.net/blog/2007/02/20/the-tesla-roadster-the-perfect-elise/

    I would have to say my biggest concern is build quality. I'm afraid some people are going to get a Roadster and then start finding all the cute little eccentricities that Lotus owners are so familiar with. . . paint defects, rattles and squeaks, small parts falling off the car, windows that won't roll up or down all the way, warning lights that go on and off randomly, that distinctive British Sports Car Smell (like a cross between stale cigarettes and burning electrical insulation). . . and they might, just might, feel that they expected better from a $100,000 car.

    On the other hand, I'm sure Tesla will have their people at the Lotus factory watching over the production, so they may be able to tighten up the quality control somewhat.
     
  5. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    Compared to the Elise's dimpled grin, the Tesla really seems to scowl.
     
  6. danny

    danny Administrator

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    Tony, what you mentioned was basically what I experienced, just didn't wanna say to much because I wasn't sure if it was just the car I was in.
    For example an engine light went on and the off.s
     
  7. AGR

    AGR Member

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    Candid comments - Thank You!!
     
  8. Brent

    Brent Member

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    I spent (maybe) ten minutes in the passenger seat of an Elise last December. I had a lot of fun, but my overall impression wasn't too positive. Perhaps the feel is an acquired taste. It's really not an easy car for taller people (I'm 6'2"). The driver was kind enough to give me instructions on how to enter ("put your hand here, foot there, and sink down"). Still, I thought perhaps I could use the assistance of a winch. On longer trips, the small legroom and the noisy engine would make it uncomfortable. Plus, acceleration was an exercise in neck control: shift-snapneck-shift-snapneck-shift-snapneck.

    I think Tesla Motors is right to refine some of the, uh, more purist elements of the Elise. I don't imagine I'd be able to slide into a Roadster like I do my sedan, but wider seats and no shifting should make it a little easier on the body.
     
  9. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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  10. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #10 TEG, Aug 24, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
    If you are talking about this:
    393809767_4ad14b78ed.jpg

    ...That is a photo of Mule2...

    I think those were a stock (4 bolt) Elise type wheel...
    393852529_3de55573a0.jpg

    When Tesla upgraded the hubs and made their own wheel design they switched to a 5 bolt system.
    tesla-wheel2.jpg
     
  11. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Got it thanks.

    I thought they would look nice in Black Chrome.
     
  12. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    Got my first ride in an Elise this evening. It really is a different beast isn't it? Fun, but definitely more basic. And those door sills...
     
  13. bobw

    bobw Tesla Reader

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    I remember reading in the '70s that you don't get into a Lotus. You put it on and wear it. I guess it's still true.
     
  14. Stewart W

    Stewart W Member

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    I have owned an Elise ..IMHO..two entirely different cars!
    In my opinion the comparison of these two cars is to be expected as the Lotus "look" is obvious and their direct involvement in its development is known..
    Frankly, after driving in the early VP and having monitored the changes that have been incorporated into the Tesla subsequent to early vehicles....I expect a great car albeit different from any other car I have owned.
    Firstly, it is impossible to draw comparision to a manual transmission , ultra lighweight kart like car to a vehicle that requires no shifting, weighs approx 700 lbs more , and has numerouse interior upgrades focused toward driver comfort.( part of reason for the weight gain)
    Secondly, granted the assembly quality was mediocre on the Lotus..however, often noises and rattles (smells) are confused for poor quality rather than layout, materials and design related matters...Elise is not IMHO designed to be a daily driver although it is certainly driven by many daily and the DD reviews are great...they(DDs) are willing to accept the noises, rattles and compromised comfort typically associated with an Elise because they love the daily driving experience and the car meets their expectations. In short..the driver and car are a good fit!
    Lotus is an amazing automotive engineering company with a rich history..I am confident Lotus made positive contributions to the making of the Tesla..but even more confident that Tesla was very sensitive to the expectations of an owner that is willing to pay $100K + for a car...not to mention many early enthusiasts paid in advance ..well in advance :mad:!
    I am expecting to receive my Tesla in December..(colors already locked in) and look forward to sharing the ownership experience as objectively as possible.:wink:
     

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