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My roadster pros and cons

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by fraccy, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. fraccy

    fraccy Member

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    Have had my Roadster nearly 2 months. I am probably a bit over-loved up after an early morning drive on near-empty roads, but these are my conclusions...

    Cons :mad:
    - Spending that much on a car. Its the first time I've bought a new car or anything other than a cheap runabout. As a general life choice I think its a mistake, although the Roadster at this time in history has perhaps proven the exception (see below). I would never consider it for an ICE car, nor even an electric if they were abundant. It generates guilt, which generates a lot of pressure on it being perfect, particularly given you have taken such a risk in your choice by being so different.
    - The tiniest of squeaks or noises that are more annoying than they would be in an ICE car. They clash with the lack of engine noise and concept of "quiet" a great deal. I hope Tesla realise this with their future cars and finesse the aural experience more. In a sense though, this source of irritation is highlighting a positive characteristic of the car.
    - Level of road noise.
    - Lack of 3 phase or DC.

    Pros :love:
    - That noise. That powerful jet engine/jetsons whine. The more you come to associate it with the feeling of smooth acceleration, the more addictive it gets.
    - That linear surge of power. I had never before been conscious that everyone else is so jerky as they accelerate.
    - The ability to be able to enjoy driving with such performance on some occasions, and on others to enjoy driving so efficiently, depending on your mood or circumstance.... and being able to do both in the same vehicle.
    - Feeling smug as you drive past a porsche, and yet also as you drive past a prius.
    - Traffic lights and junctions going from being a chore to a pleasure.
    - Watching other people brake as you regen. It makes you see what is taken as normal in a completely new light. A truly revolting waste of energy is taking place all over the planet. I hate having to use the brakes, unless I'm driving really energetically. I curse myself for not anticipating the distance better, and get great pleasure from estimating it *just right*, with just a touch on the brakes at the end to stop completely.
    - Coming to understand the flaw in the psyche of the petrol head with regards to the loud engine. It is pure conditioning. There is nothing else we buy where we think "loud" is good, other than maybe fireworks and stereos. Do you want a loud washing machine? A loud toaster? Is walking into a room full of noisy machinery pleasant or irritating? Decades of conditioning and marketing, and the fact "loud" is associated with "powerful" in combustion engines. Some of them have even convinced themselves its like a "symphony". No, it really isn't. The Roadster, and those that will follow it, shatter this association between speed and noise.
    - Realising how well suited the name "Roadster" is for the car. It isn't a track car. Why would you drive a car you own at the track? I'd prefer to rent someone else's, mine is too precious :wink: The two things should be separated. Certainly here in the UK, the performance profile perfectly matches what is really needed for enjoying driving on the public roads in the real world. I see Ferraris and other "fast cars", maybe some even capable of 200mph+, and just wonder what on earth they're ever going to do with that. You might as well buy an aeroplane for your living room.
    - Plugging it in.
    - Cancelling the electrician who was going to fit a fast charger after realising I would never need one at home.
    - Pissing off the "BMW and Audi" drivers: Floor it from the lights, ease off around the speed limit, and some (usually quite a considerable) time later watch them storm past in a cloud of exhaust and noise trying to reclaim their ego, trashing the speed limit as they go... too steeped in decades of car industry marketing to realise that anyone can do that in any car, including my 15 year old fiesta.. :rolleyes:
    - Realising that even if you come across a car that can accelerate as quickly, just what lengths and expense (in terms of energy, complexity, and mechanical wear) they are going to to achieve it by comparison. They've lost before they even touch the accelerator in my book: elegant and simple solutions beat brute force every time.
    - Realising it is acceleration that is enjoyable, not speed. Motorways bore me; once you're up to speed, thats your lot, and even 100mph+ soon gets old. Its getting there thats the fun bit. The roadster is not the best experience for pounding out mile after mile down endless motorway, I'd rather be in something bigger and more comfortable. The roadster's best characteristics however fit the majority of my driving and the majority or roads perfectly - the glorious constant acceleration, and the ever-satisfying deceleration (via regen) which is of course necessary to get to the next bit of acceleration...
    - Driving past petrol stations.
    - Stopping at petrol stations to buy a snack.
    - Maneuvering around car parks and seeing the puzzled expressions.
    - Coming to understand range anxiety. ICE car conditioning leads us to assume infinite range, forgetting it stems from a well positioned network of fuel dumps. We do not buy cars based on the capacity of the tank, because we know we can refill it conveniently so the limiting factor in our minds is cost. The change from the fantasy of infinite to the reality of finite is the real source of the fear, one that in practice just does not affect me as I worried it might. In the bigger picture, this is a real positive for mankind. Accepting that this limitation exists at the level of the individual dispels a temporary illusion that will soon cease to exist regardless, whatever form of energy you use. Having said that, fast charging in the future will doubtless mitigate it, but I can now see how the whole range debate in the wider media misses the reality in more than one way.
    - Cost evaporating from the equation of travel.
    - Watching the petrol price increase, and looking forward to the government putting yet more tax on it.

    Much of the pleasure of driving this car stems from driving it *now*, in the present context. It is the contrast with ICE cars - one constantly highlighted by their abundance - that is the roadster's best asset. If there were a hundred electrics to choose from, I'm sure neither this nor the Model S would be the best... but there aren't. One day, I am almost sad to say, it will all be normal.
     
  2. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    Great summary, though I would disagree with your final conclusion. Cars with the performance levels of the Roadster and S will never be normal.
     
  3. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    Unless they're from Tesla. :biggrin:

    fraccy, your experiences exactly match my own even though I only drove the Roadster for a couple days. Unfortunately the cons you mentioned, (plus the antique tech in the dash), made getting a $100k loan to buy a $140k car seem patently ridiculous for my wife and I. Even though odds were that I could pay it off in a couple years, it was a much saner decision to buy a used SLK55 for the Roadster thrill bit and sign up for a Sig Model S as our primary car for the electric motor thrill.

    We had a Fiesta too! :smile: Our primary now is a 1997 Escort station wagon with 280,000 miles on it.
     
  4. speedy99

    speedy99 2.5 Roadster

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    I've had my 2.5 Roadster Sport for nearly the same time frame - a few months. I try not to think about the cost of the car and get worked up about the little things, because frankly what Tesla has managed to deliver is nothing short of incredible...period! I know I am an early adopter, and paid dearly for that, but for me this is the perfect car. I agree, passing a 911 or a BMW 'M' is just as satisfying as passing a Pruis...there is an odd kinship with each of them, and I am lucky enough to have owned them all. It is also why I could never be satisfied by a Leaf, though I thank Nissan every day for having the balls to deliver a mass market all electric, and jump start the charging grid. I see the Leaf everywhere in northern California.

    The Tesla chassis is great fun at medium speeds, no need to break the law to enjoy the car. Sure, the wind noise is loud, and the alpine unit attempts to do too many things with too many software bugs, but a nice drive down a windy two lane with the top off quickly reminds me why I've loved driving so much for all my life. Tesla has captured the essence of a true 'sports car', and that has little to do with the form of locomotion, and everything to do with allowing an elegant dance on the tarmac.
     
  5. augkuo

    augkuo Member

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    Another pro is that here in California, electric cars can use the high occupancy lanes and reduced toll on the bridges. How much is your time worth? Especially if you have a long commute everyday ;)

    Saving 1 hour a day x 5 work days x 4 weeks x 12 months = 240 hours a year, at a $100/hr rate that's $24k! Much more than the gas/maintenance savings ;)
     
  6. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Not the speeds (why bother making a car which can go faster than the speed limit?). Not the quality.

    But the acceleration is characteristic of electric motors, and the regen braking profile is characteristic of regen, and the handling is characteristic of locating most of the weight under the floor of the car. I suspect that after a decade or two all of that will, in fact, be normal. (Unless environmental collapse ends the manufacture of cars entirely.)

    The price makes me just as nervous as it does you, fraccy! The pressure for it to be perfect is exactly what I'm feeling! Heck, being as early in the Model S queue as I am, I may be committing to purchase before I get a chance to test drive -- which is frankly horrifying, and which I never would have done with another company or at another point in time.

    However, the Model S seems to be just the right car for me (have to drive 120 miles routinely and 240 occasionally, usually have two people in the car, often four, sometimes five, plus luggage). I don't need 3-phase in the US and it seems your other cons have been solved in the Model S (with very careful noise reduction)... so it may well *be* perfect enough, and worth getting early.

    (Well, except for the color. The exterior color choices on the Model S Signature so far are terrible IMHO. But hey, worst case I can always paint it, right?)
     
  7. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    Performance still costs, no matter the form. Low end torque and a flat torque curve are both characteristic of electric motors, but the power to weight ratio of Tesla's motors are not typical, and having a battery pack that can deliver that power and an inverter than can handle that power will not be typical, and for most applications it won't be necessary. Electric power is mostly about dealing with heat, there is no reason to go through the extra expense of dealing with high power heat dissipation in the average grocery getter. I would agree that the average EV will have better performance than the average ICE.
     
  8. fraccy

    fraccy Member

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    Yeh this is what I meant by normal. I'm not knocking the roadsters performance, its delicious to drive, but if it weren't for the fact its *also* (at the time of typing) the only performance electric car genuinely available, it wouldn't also be able to claim all of the general advantages of electrics as selling points, which right now (and for many years it looks like) it absolutely can. It is worth its price tag to me because of this. If there were a hundred electric models on the market, perhaps it wouldn't be. I'm no real judge though, I've never really given new cars the time of day before now.
     

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