2010 Tesla Roadster vs 2010 Lotus Elise January 4, 2010 AUTORIVALS.NET
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Electric cars are finally gaining some traction after it was supposedly killed in the early '90s. Although not exactly what people would call mainstream, the Tesla Roadster is possibly the most exciting production electric car available with a new Roadster Sport for 2010 getting a few more horsepower and torque. The all-electric, zero-emission sports car is based on the Lotus Elise which is also equally exciting but relatively more traditional with a gas engine, but still not traditional at all. Both cars are tiny, compact, quick, and maneuverable but use different powertrains to achieve their high level of excitement.
2010 Tesla Roadster vs 2010 Lotus Elise
The Tesla Roadster basically starts as a nearly finished Lotus Elise from England but then completed in California with new sheet metal, powertrain, and other variations. The similarities are most obvious in the shapes but not the designs. The Roadster gets a cleaner, more subdued look than the bug-eyed Lotus. The Elise gets more vents in the front and side giving it a more exotic look, one that screams for attention.
Both come in two-seat, targa-top configurations with tiny dimensions to reduce weight. With a height of roughly 45 inches, people over six feet tall are going to have a lot of trouble getting in, let alone fitting at all. For those that do fit, it's still a struggle getting in due to the high door sills in place for structural rigidity and safety. But once you do get in, you'll probably never want to get out with each car's go kart maneuverability and sports car speed.
The Elise's round taillights get traded out for a one-piece, LED assembly in the Roadster. The Elise has a sportier appearance with a center mounted exhaust placed underneath of the rear diffuser. Take note that the Roadster doesn't have an exhaust (it's electric, remember?).
The dashboard design is nearly identical for both models. The Roadster gets an added center console but otherwise remains as miminal as possible like the Elise. Nothing is added that isn't absolutely necessary for the sake of saving weight. These car's obviously take performance over convenience (and practicality for that matter). Interior space is minimal along with a tiny trunk making both the Roadster and Elise primarily track and/or weekend toys. Some bonus features are available in the Roadster though such as heated leather seats, Blaupunkt stereo, and navigation system along with standards like cruise control, power windows and locks, air conditioning, etc.
SPECIFICATIONS
PRICE: $109,000 - $128,500
ENGINE: Electric Motor
HORSEPOWER: 248 - 288 hp
TORQUE: 280 - 295 lb-ft
SIZE (L x W x H): 155.4 x 68.0 x 44.4 in.
WEIGHT: 2,690 lbs
0-60 MPH: 3.7 - 3.9 sec
1/4 MILE: 12.9 sec @ 102 mph -
13.2 sec @ 103 mph
TOP SPEED: 125 mph
ROADHOLDING: 0.90 g
FUEL (CITY/HWY): Unknown
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SPECIFICATIONS
PRICE: $47,250 - $54,990
ENGINE: 1.8L I4 -
1.8L I4 Supercharged
HORSEPOWER: 189 - 218 hp
TORQUE: 133 - 156 lb-ft
SIZE (L x W x H): 149.0 x 67.7 x 45.0 in.
WEIGHT: 1,984 - 2,006 lbs
0-60 MPH: 4.4 - 4.8 sec
1/4 MILE: 13.3 sec @ 104 mph -
13.6 sec @ 102 mph
TOP SPEED: 145 mph
ROADHOLDING: 0.97 - 1.00 g
FUEL (CITY/HWY): 20-21 / 26-27 mpg
RECAP RECAP

PROS
+Most exciting (production) electric vehicle available
+Faster than the Elise (and a lot of other cars)
+You can tell OPEC to suck it

CONS
-Electric powertrain adds 700 lbs to the Elise chassis
-Costs more than double than the Elise
-Minimalist interior

PROS
+Exotic looks
+2,000 lbs is as light as it gets
+Better handling

CONS
-Slower acceleration than the Roadster
-Interior is as minimalist as it gets
Video Source: Car and Driver via YouTube Video Source: Autocar via YouTube
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