Tesla Birth Watch 15: How the Tesla Roadster Works. Or Not.

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

You'd expect a web site named "howstuffworks.com" to be an excellent source of information on, well, how stuff works. If so, check out HSW's entry " How the Tesla Roadster Works." Author Ed Grabianowskii states the Roadster is "fast, fancy, handles like a dream and goes like a rocket." Since the only road-tested Teslas have been prototypes driven under tightly-controlled conditions, Grabianowski's description requires a distinct leap of faith. Likewise, even though Tesla has delayed production numerous times, he gushes, inaccurately enough, "Tesla's first production car is also the world's first high-performance electric car." Like most of the mainstream media, HSW is happy to parrot Tesla's official claims without question: "An electrician can install a recharging station in your garage. This 220-volt, 70-amp outlet allows for a full recharge in 3.5 hours from a completely dead battery." And here's the kicker: the reference link to safety claims leads to a Tesla web page proclaiming "We're sorry, the page you requested has been moved or is not available." Perhaps HSW should to change the website's name to howpressreleasessaythingswork.com.

Frank Williams
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  • 50merc 50merc on Jan 02, 2008

    Observers have to wonder about the Tesla's gestation. Hope this series doesn't have to be renamed Tesla Stillbirth Watch.

  • SunnyvaleCA SunnyvaleCA on Jan 02, 2008

    Would "world's first high-performance electric car" be something like Ferdinand Porsche's vehicles at the beginning of the 20th century? They wouldn't be considered "high performance" by today's standards but they ran very competitively with IC cars of the time.

  • Greg Locock Greg Locock on Jan 03, 2008

    Sorry the following comment was written before I read the preceeding articles. I think the gearbox might be solvable. Battery pack synchronization through hundreds of charge/discharge cycles is a real challenge. Q Why does a you-beaut electric car need a two speed gearbox? A For the same reason as any other vehicle. Problem is that you've got to handle rather hefty torques seamlessly. As usual, electrical projects run into problems at the mechanical interfaces.

  • Bumblebee Bumblebee on Jan 03, 2008

    Robert Farago: Thanks. I'm intrigued by how closely Tesla monitors car blogs and challenges or corrects them. Just as your frankness reinforces your credibility, Tesla's attention to what you're saying about them reinforces theirs. However, in the case of Tesla, there are larger challenges to their credibility that they refuse to confront. While those challenges may loom larger larger in my mind than in the minds of others, I would suppose someone who may actually buy an $89,000 sports car would be quite discerning.