Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tesla Evaluation @ Sector111

Tasty Bits for the Tesla are back on track. We originally began working with Tesla's accessories group 2+ yrs ago. Product development was put on hold at Sector111 last year when Tesla shut down this group. The success of the Roadster, has now renewed interest in offering some tasty bits for this sweet little machine. Many Tesla owners have already bought our microMIRROR - in fact Martin Eberhard (Tesla Founder) was the first.

We recently began working with James at EV Components who convinced Eric, a Tesla Roadster owner, to come down to our shop and let us go over his car. It turns out Eric and I 'knew' each other as he had sent me the picture of the Tesla with our stellaCORSE wheels last year. We had developed these wheels in the exact fitment for the Tesla. I hope we can get enough interest in these wheels as the OE forged wheels as supposedly very $$$$$$. Now that the stock wheel appears to be a cast wheel our forged solution will be dramatically lighter which should help the Roadster in many good ways. 8^)

Though we have 220 at the shop, we learned that the 2 different types of outlets we had were not the same as the various connectors Eric brought. This required a trip over to the local hardware and electrical supply store to build a new connector. Eric built the new connector while we proceeded to disassemble portions of his Roadster. Recharging was critical as he needed to get back home which is 100+miles north of here!

We test fit various parts onto the car as well as took measurements. Our Carbon Fiber Hardtop actually fits. The weave on the top is quite different from the roll bar cover that is on the car. This is an aesthetic consideration that can be addressed with new CF fabric. We built our top to be a lighter version of the stock Elise top with a focus on use with track oriented cars. It appears that some Tesla owners are taking their cars to the track so we looked at our various parts to see what might also work on track. We inspected the brakes and suspension and found some opportunities.

We also looked into various lifestyle products that could make the Roadster even easier to live with. The trunk is quite large by our standards but the interior - like the Elise -lacks much in the way of storage. There are several opportunities that we found.

We capped the day off with a quick drive. I was given a ride, 2 years ago, on a visit to Tesla's R&D center in SF but this was the first time I had the pleasure of driving one. At that time I remember saying that the Tesla felt like a sailboat while the Elise was more like a motorboat. The lack of sound - except for the wind whistling - is a serene experience that still reminds me of sailing. The Roadster accelerates almost as fast as my Atom. It really throws you back in the seat - as Eric demonstrated! This car came equipped with the AD07 tires in the same sizes as the stock Elise. During my drive, I could feel the added weight of the batteries as well as the under steer that was dialed into this package. The ride is very comfortable and overall feel is great! This car is a blast and I'm sure the owners are having plenty of fun cruising and commuting in these capable machines.

Thanks to Eric for graciously taking time to share his fantastic machine with us. This is definitely a glimpse of the future.

1 comment:

vfx said...

Shinoo, Thank you for your great hosting of me and my Roadster. And thanks for feeding both of us.

In regards to your test drive, The Tesla has three drive modes. "Range" which limits driving-craziness and gets the best mileage from a charge, "Standard" which is what I drive in most of the time as it is the good for long battery life, and "Performance" which enables the battery to be tapped to it's fullest for the maximum 0-60 in 3.9 sec full monty that it has to offer.

I forgot to put it in Performance mode for your drive so we will have to visit again.