By on August 5, 2008

The man and his machineMartin Eberhard now has driven 1000 miles on his Founders Series Tesla Roadster. Tesla's first CEO (now punted) took delivery of his lithium-ion-powered sports car two weeks back. (It's got orange stripes on grey, if you're in his neck of the woods and want to flag him down.) Eberhard estimates the Roadster's range at 125 miles on the "normal charge" settings, and 160 at "max range". "The 'normal charge' setting (accessed via the touch screen) limits charging the battery to something less than full. (I guess they go to 85 percent) and limits discharging to something above fully-depleted. The max range setting allows full use of the battery, though it warns you that doing this often will cause reduced battery life. It also reduces torque noticeably." And there you have it. He also notes that the rear suspension is harsh on sharp bumps, but that's to be expected from the Kim Kardashian version of the Lotus Elise.

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22 Comments on “Tesla Death Watch 15: 125 Miles on a Charge...”

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    In all fairness, he drives fast, lots of “full throttle”, and plenty of hills/mountains. As I’ve tried to make clear repeatedly, range on an EV is even more variable than fuel mileage on a conventional car.

  • avatar

    Only delivering 60-70% of hardware functionality in release 1.0 is par for the course in Silicon Valley. It will not get in the way of an IPO.

    Having to panhandle $12 (a quarter at a time) for the parking meter is priceless.

  • avatar

    @ Paul Niedermeyer:

    In all fairness its an impractical, uncomfortable, sports car, how else should it be driven?

    My question is, is that 125 miles no matter how long it takes? If it sits in traffic in LA for 2 hours on the way to Malibu, will it make it back through another jam?

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    guyincognito, I wrote a whole editorial on the peculiarities of EV range. An EV uses no juice sitting in traffic (except for peripherals). EV’s love traffic jams and low speed stop-and-go; the Tesla could probably go 500 miles at those speeds. It’s high speed, lead-foot driving, mountains, and headwinds that really shorten range.

  • avatar

    Traffic jams are where an EV shines – in fact, it could probably go on for 300+ miles if you were to gently roll through traffic at <30mph speeds. Wind resistance is the #1 range killer for an electric car, this is why most of them look like geeky eggs-on-wheels.

    All-electric is great, but an onboard generator is a MUST for anything but a toy. They could cut their battery size by 3/4th, cost by a half, and have a socket-independent car, if they’d go for a 100% practical vehicle from the very beginning. But then again, this car is a halo monster; I’m waiting for seeing some pre-production examples of their sedan.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    Not to nitpick, but I could have sworn that last week RF vowed to close the books on the Tesla Death watch. Something change?

  • avatar

    Jordan Tenenbaum :

    Not to nitpick, but I could have sworn that last week RF vowed to close the books on the Tesla Death watch. Something change?

    Nope. I pulled A post from the TDW that was misleading and unfair.

  • avatar
    Voice of Sweden

    Let me continue on my mission of disecting pictures. OK, where does this guy live, and how did he get the Tessla to the point at which this photo was taken?

  • avatar

    Does the Tesla have a/c and heat? I assume it does and it would be interesting to know how long the car can run these alone on a battery charge.

    It might go 300 miles in stop and go and 150 miles with the a/c on the whole time. Making up numbers here so don’t take these as anything but fake numbers.

    Still would be nice to have an EV for times when my wife goes into the store and I wait with the kids to make the trip easier. We could sit outside in a heated or cooled vehicle without worrying about recirculating exhaust gasses into the interior.

    I anxiously await an full on-EV (optional onboard generator which I don’t want) that I can afford. I’d buy a Phoenix Motors SUT EV b/c that appears to best fit my needs. A more car like version would be fine too. (wagon).

    150 miles would last me a whole week on a single charge.

    Currently my transporat costs are pretty low with an 11 yr old VW and a short commute but a person could go from a newish SUV to the PMC SUT and not see their cost rise b/c of the fuel savings. A 17 mpg SUV costs $40K in gasoline at $3.75 for 200K miles.

    I’d rather put that cost into the purchase price of an advanced tech EV than gasoline b/c an EV like that will exceed my needs for the foreseeable future.

    Will be interesting to see if the falling oil prices cause folks to change back to their old (last year) attitudes.

  • avatar

    Those orange stripes are all kinds of wrong.

  • avatar

    I realize the battery is not being used by the engine when the car is sitting still but no periferals in my scenario? LA, traffic jam? Also, spikes in start/stop driving, ie. not smooth inputs, can drain the battery at a significant clip, in my experience (driving a solar powered car).

  • avatar

    As a Bay Area native, I’m pretty sure the location in the photo is Crystal Springs Reservoir (the road is Skyline Blvd, an extremely popular twisty road that you MUST drive if you live anywhere nearby), just outside San Mateo, CA.

    This is right in Tesla’s backyard, and my family who live in that part of the Bay Area have seen prototypes/mules on the road for some time now.

    Lat: 37°31’20.57″N
    Long: 122°21’37.37″W

    P.S. The action photos in the 1st Drive gallery appear to have been taken on freeway 280, I think right near the exit for Stanford Univ. in a few of them. I also see one that has got to be Crystal Springs Res. in the background.

  • avatar

    Only 125 miles? Before any of them were actually built, the news media kept reporting it had a range of 250 miles!

    And the news media is never wrong…

  • avatar

    This is better than an Elise how? Neat technology, but it’s never fun on the bleeding edge. Tesla Roadster 3.0 will hopefully be competitive.

  • avatar

    Is he on the side of the road waiting for a charge? Or a tow?

  • avatar

    From Martin’s data, it’s difficult to determine the maximum range.
    I’m sure Tesla has already measured this, but I would suspect that
    the average driving cycle (city/highway mix) on relatively flat roads
    is probably closer to 200 miles.

  • avatar

    Not great, but not terrible. I’d love an EV for my daily commute in Atlanta traffic. Not this one though. I don’t need an electric sportscar. I’d take one in “boring transportation pod” IE Toyota Corolla / Honda Civic guise for my commute, and keep my Miata for weekends.

  • avatar

    Having driven the Elise, I’d say 125 miles is the maximum range regardless of power source.

  • avatar

    Good to hear Tesla’s got some numbers slowly rolling out. 125 miles goes far in urban driving, and it’s certainly more fun to drive than say, a Smart.

  • avatar

    So we’ve got what we’ve got and their going to swap out the motor/trans/inverter for something with some more pep.

    How many years are they planning on selling this model as it is?

    When will it get a bigger(range) and more powerful battery pack? How about even a higher performance motor/inverter then the yet to be released one?

    One way for Tesla to stay in business is to always have ultimate performance. Stay far ahead of any and all competition.

    They will have the field to themselves until Porsche, Ferrari, Lambo do up some EV models. Electric Vette?

    I think the only reason the bottom is falling out of the oil market right now is they fear they pushed it too far this time. Opened a door they can’t close. Put far too much in motion. They had the prices up for too long. This has happened a few times before and no reason for it not to again. Nearly seems certain it will and should. No reason for it not too.

  • avatar

    Anything is better than a Smart!

  • avatar
    Voice of Sweden

    Teacher> Thank you for that info! It would perhaps have been to risky to put the Tesla in a truck and unload it at different scenic places!

    I looked the place up, and it was a circa 20 miles drive from Tesla HQ there and back.

    One must conclude that the difference between real and theoretical MPG:s/range are of outermost importance with electric cars, since refulling is so slow.

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