Fun Stuff

Find of the Week: 2010 Tesla Roadster

It's Earth Month here at Which means that when we went looking for a Find of the Week this week, a 1970s land yacht didn't seem like a very good choice. What we wanted was something that was green but still offered up a whole lot of excitement. And a convertible. Impossible, you say? Well, we think we found just the thing. A green convertible that delivers a whole lot of fun to drive. It's a 2010 Tesla Roadster, the company's first model.

While it's the Model 3 and the Model Y that have been grabbing all the headlines of late, it's easy to forget that Tesla had cars long before the latest and shiniest. The very first one was the Roadster. And not the new Roadster, which is coming out in a few years and is supposed to have jet packs or some such, we mean the first one. That launched in 2008.

The original Tesla Roadster might now be most famous for being the first car launched into space, but it broke major ground for electric cars. Like being the first road-legal and series production car to use lithium-ion batteries. It was also the first to get a range of more than 320 km on a single charge. It set a handful of production electric car range records over the years, including a 501 km record in a rally in Australia.

Tesla first showed off the Roadster in 2006. It made its auto show debut in San Francisco later that same year. In a world where most existing electric options were cars that looked primarily like EVs and secondarily boring, the Roadster was a breath of fresh air. With sports car looks, the promise of sports car handling, and that's even before you get into the electric bits.

Because the Roadster was based on the Lotus Elise. The ultra-lightweight sports car known for trimming grams and tiny engines wasn't likely the most obvious choice for an electric partnership, but it certainly worked. The car used an aluminum chassis built in Hethel by Lotus, with body panels made from a carbon fibre composite material. It was put together in the UK, then shipped to Tesla for final assembly. This agreement saw around 2,500 cars built.

In 2010, the Roadster got some upgrades, like a new nose, and forged wheels. Inside there were some bigger changes, like new seats with adjustable lumbar and bigger bolsters. New sound reduction measures made the car quieter on the inside. More importantly, new hardware in the power control system let the car maintain top performance longer in hot climates. It wouldn't overheat as easily if you were pushing it on a warm day.

The motor in the Roadster has an output of 248 hp. The 200 lb-ft of torque is on tap from 0 rpm all the way to 6,000. And it can spin all the way to 14,000 revs. The transmission was originally intended to be a two-speed auto, but they had trouble finding one that could reliably handle the thrust. The solution was a single-speed gearbox. To keep acceleration supercar quick, Tesla revised the cooling capacity of the electronics and the motor. That let it hit 100 km/h from a stop in under four seconds. And that's with a hefty 53 kWh lithium-ion battery that gives the Roadster a 393 km estimated range. Even with the battery pack, the chassis is so light that the finished car weighs just 1,305 kg.

This stunning blue Roadster is for sale in Burlington, ON. It's loaded with Alcantara on the seats and doors along with bare carbon fibre trim throughout. This is a car that will get noticed. Even if nobody will hear it coming. It has just over 63,000 km on the odometer.

While the idea of an electric British-built car is ripe with low-hanging jokes, there's nothing funny about the Tesla Roadster. Except maybe your expression after pinning the accelerator the first time. That's why this 2010 Tesla Roadster is our Find of the Week.