Tesla Roadster Test Drive: Adrenaline, Videos, Photos

Taking the Tesla Roadster, the world’s most famous electric sports car, for a spin. (Photo credits: Monica Michelle)

The Tesla Roadster — at 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds — is faster off the blocks than both the Ferrari F430 and the Lamborghini Gallardo. Oh, and it burns no oil.

The 2009 model is close to sold out, and it takes a $60,000 deposit to attempt to get one a year from now.

I have wanted — for a long time — to get in the cockpit of this curious machine and test its limits. Last week, Brian Lam of Gizmodo and I had a chance to do exactly that…

I was eager to compare it to the Audi R8 supercar I took for a aggressive run a few months ago.

The electric experiment did not disappoint.

The chassis weighs just 180 lbs. and looks no bigger than a cowhide rug.

The Tesla Roadster sounds like a fighter jet and accelerates like a drag motorcycle on steroids. Here are the videos and a few select shots (all the pictures, including interior, are here):

The Tesla hugs the curves and is LOW. I could touch my elbow to the asphalt from the driver’s seat.

If you have the cash and are prone to spending it on cars, the Tesla Roadster might just be the fix you’re looking for.


Odds and Ends: DonorsChoose Winners, Cool Tools, and More…

Need to make a website quickly? I just used Weebly:

I’m often asked what I use to create websites. Last week, I experimented with Weebly for the first time and was very pleased with the new Timothy Ferriss homepage, which was created in about 30 minutes. The natural search-engine optimization (SEO) is also impressive.

DonorsChoose winners (plus important note for all respondents):

Sincerest apologies for taking so long! Two things:

1) The 10 winners of $150 gift certificates for helping DonorsChoose get $500,000 in funding for US public school teachers on this post are:

-Jimflip – post begins “I clicked, I contacted…”

-Ben – post begins “Hey Tim, Ok, so I posted the note and URL…”

-Rachel – post begins “I tweeted (and got friends to tweet)…”

-Cody – post begins “Tim, your blog is quickly becoming…”

-C A Campbell – post begins “Done. Tweeted, on Facebook…”

-Chuck Lasker – post begins “Great post, Tim. Thanks. MySpace…”

-Andrew Kessler – post begins “I have added the link to both my business and personal Twitter…”

-Doc Kane – post begins “Hi Tim, Done, done, and done…”

-Chris Morin – post begins “I Buzzed & Dugg & Pownced…”

-Tim – post begins “Vote is in and counted…”

2) All of you who put up eligible comments before the deadline will get a $25 gift certificate to DonorsChoose, where you can help a local public school teacher. Please give me some time, but you’ll each get an email on this in the next few weeks. Thank you for participating and stepping up to make a difference!

Other fun items on the Internets:

Timothy Ferriss vs. David Allen: Productivity Guru Smackdown

Timothy Ferriss on Using a Viral Idea to Create a Best-seller: Publishing 2.0

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73 Replies to “Tesla Roadster Test Drive: Adrenaline, Videos, Photos”

  1. The car looks like fun, however from the pictures and video I can’t really tell what the interior looks like.

    Glad it has a low center of gravity, if not that thing would flip all over the place.

  2. Another diverse post thanks Tim!

    So does this car feature on your dreamline in place of the Aston now?

  3. Hi Guys,

    @Chris – I’m actually loving my VW Golf, oddly enough. In SF, with narrow streets, 45-degree hills, and little parking, I go for the mini cars. If I had a garage, perhaps I’d go for the fancier rides, but I keep it small and good for weekend trips, these days.

    I’d feel guilty throwing a damp wetsuit and dirty tent in the back of Tesla, but not so with the VW 🙂


  4. Looks good Tim. Pretty quick aswell.

    If you want proper fast, when you’re next in the UK drop me a line and I’ll let you take out my 300hp turbo’d Lotus Elise.

  5. Hi Tim,

    How big was the cockpit of the Tesla. I’m 6’6″ and find that many of those cars are really tight inside. Taken an F430 for a testdrive and barely got my legs under the steering wheel.



  6. Hey Tim,

    This was actually a timely post for me. I’m just about to complete my final 2008 dreamline “goal”. My last “do” is a tango lesson in Buenos Aires- which I’m leaving for on Sunday. I’m currently working on my 2009 dreamline and looking to put a car in my “do” category. The Tesla is a great option and one I haven’t thought of.

    Have fun!


  7. Another great service you can use to create fast websites is Squarespace. They have some advanced features and 100% what you see is what you get editing. I’ve been using their service for 5 months now and I’m really happy with it. It has all the features of WordPress and then some without the headaches.

  8. Great post Tim! What an impressive car both in term of performance and aesthetics; it gives us hope about the future of transportation. The big downside however, is the fact that you can’t travel with it since there aren’t proper rechargeabe hubs anywhere yet for electric cars. I’m curious to know how long it takes to recharge and whether it can be done anywhere?

    I loved the sound of the engine though, it seems to be very very responsive!

    Cheers from Canada

  9. Tim,

    I am in the middle of chapter one in your book. I have been doing what you write since last January. I was a house painter for 18 years averaging below 50K net.

    Since April, I have hit a quarter of a million dollars as a Behavior Coach in the corporate world… What the heck?!!! You are right!

  10. Just wanted to thank you for the movie tickets.

    It was very kind and generous of you.

    I realized how old I was when it was clear I was the oldest person there.

    Better than the alternative.

  11. Way way cool. I’ve been drooling over the Tesla Roadster for sometime now, never seen a picture of a blue one before though.

  12. Hi Tim! I always follow your adventures and I’m actually getting ready for my first one -thanks to your advice!-

    Anyway… Just read your twitter about syncing your goggle calendar and ical. What works great for me is anytime I add an event on ical I send myself and invitation to my google calendar; same thing the other way around, when i don’t have access to my computer (on my cell, for example) I just add an event to google calendar inviting myself.

    Keep sharing the fun and inspiring others!


  13. That looked fun. The ignition key does sound like Mario Bros. I was playing Mario with my 4 + 6 year-old boys this weekend. My wife dug out the Nintendo 64, so we were kickin’ it old school.

    When is Tesla Motors going to come out with a pick up. That’s more my speed…

  14. Hi All,

    Thanks for the comments and conversation!

    Here are some answers to questions:

    1) Yes, it’s a snug fit. 6′ 6″ would be quite uncomfortable, probably knees behind ears positioning.

    2) The car has a 220-mile or so range per full charge, and there is a travel charger, so a normal 220V outlet can be used. A full charge is about 3.5 hours, I believe.

    3) It accelerates much faster than the R8, and since the Tesla is shorter, it’s much more forgiving on inclines and normal road conditions in Nor-Cal. I wasn’t able to top out either, but I suspect the R8 would win in miler, for example.

    4) There is just one forward gear: drive. Drive, neutral, and reverse. I did see a prototype with two gears, but the current version has one.

    All the best,


  15. Defintely cool that it’s fast, but it lacks a sports car look. When I see a Ferrari or a Lamborghini they make me stop what I’m doing and stare. I wouldn’t know the Telsa was any different than a Toyota until it zoomed by me on the highway. Still, amazing acceleration/speed.

  16. Hey Tim,

    I really enjoyed reading this post as well as the one about the Audi R8 you posted earlier this year.

    I just wandered if you’ve ever been to Germany to drive a car on a german Autobahn without any speed limit 😉

    If you like just wirte an e-mail. I would offer a Porsche Cayman S to start 😉

    Have nice Day!

    Greetings from Germany


  17. Tim,

    How can I spin a test drive in one of those things? Also, does it come in one of those ugly/cool looking bronze orange colors? I feel like it has to at this point.

    Sweet video! Keep them coming.


  18. Hi Guys,

    @Matthias – I’d LOVE to check out the Cayman S on the Autobahn! I did race a bit with a small Mercedes, but the Cayman is much, much better. Consider it a date next time I’m in Germany!

    @Brian – Ditto for the Elise! I’d love to test it out. Given the chassis of the Tesla is from Lotus, I’m sure I’d dig it.

    @Steven Sisler – congratulations! From house painter to 250K in coaching is a serious feat. Well done 🙂

    All the best,


  19. First of all, WOOHOO! So excited that I won, can’t wait to hear from you.

    Second of all, that car is H-O-T. The Elise was my current favorite, but Tesla just may beat it. Awesome. 🙂

  20. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with Tesla. It is definitely seems like the wave of the future. I am wondering how long you can drive it with out recharging?

  21. Sweet ride, to bad they are so hard to come by. I know you talk about setting unrealistic goals, but I still have my heart set on a Audi R8.

    As for your comment on weebly. Thats fine for super basic sites but man your homepage looks bland. The on page SEO is ok I guess with unique title tags, meta tags, and h tags but there is a lot more to just SEO then on page elements. You gotta do link building!

    (I know I own a SEO firm)

  22. Hi Everyone!

    Hot ride, hot guys= ouch, very nice 😉 After watching the first hour of 007, I got mad cravings for a fast ride. Looks like you beat me to it, enjoy yourself even more. Top this thrill, what’s next?

    Oh yes, congrats to those winners! I’m so proud y Buena suerte!

    – Dinastía

  23. You have a VW Golf, ok you have confirmed your realness!!! Keep the kickass posts coming…. Oh by the way I really enjoyed the post last year about the good Holiday gifts to give. Are you going to be doing that this year?



  24. What a beautiful car! I love the color and your jacket is pretty nice too. 🙂 I don’t know much about the Tesla but I do love driving stick shift. I learned in a 280 Z many years ago and never looked back. Somehow I thought that any manual vehicle would be just as zippy (haha), but my Corolla has treated me well too.

    Parking on the hills in SF requires extreme skill! One of those great life lessons that my dad insisted I learn. I am ever so thankful now although I definitely wasn’t happy at the time! 🙂

  25. I saw a Tesla at the London Motor Show this year – looked very cool, glad to know its performance is equal to its aesthetics!

    On a different note: as I know you’re an enthusiast of world-class chocolate, I thought of you when reading this article in today’s Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/nov/16/foodanddrink1

    As you jet around the world, you can probably drop in on some of these for a taste…

    All the best,


  26. In your link to the WIRED blog there was a comment in your name… questions: was that you or a poser trying to stir things up?


  27. On the Weebly website, does it have the feature for several pages? I only saw two on yours.

    Also, would you recommend leaving services like GoDaddy (Where my site was built and hosted) to pursue Weebly?

    As always, You Da Man.

  28. Hi,

    I just have released 3 books titled The Men Women Need,

    The Women Men Need and The Girlfriends Women Need…

    All 3 are humorous and funny little tales of life and what most

    of us do and just do not say or write. For example a O.N.S.

    One night stand no name needed no phone needed but an exit strategy is needed. I have sold about 1000 copies on my own doing charity

    etc…. Now they will be released with Ingram in about 5 weeks.

    I do have published myself and do not have an agent.

    I do not know anything about blogs could you help me

    I am blind helen keller the second and just a girl having fun!

    You sound fun too… would love to hear your comments

    on how to get on the best seller list.

    Thanks so much. Can send pic also …and transcripts of books for you to review.

  29. Hey Tim, this is offtopic but I wanted to let you know that your website (the resource sections including the message boards) is slow to load during the day and especially at peak times like right about now: 7 PST.

    I hope you can do something about it.


  30. Hi Tim.

    I´m Alex from Spain.

    I finished your book last week and I think that it´s the most amazing thing I have read for years.

    I recommended it to all my friends and I´m trying to applicate the DEAL to my life.



    P.D.: I´m sorry about my english.

  31. Interesting reading your take on the car versus the comments of Elon Musk and Martin Eberhard in the press sounding like two monkeys flinging poo at each other.

    If ultimately the Tesla goes the way of the Tucker, Bricklin or DeLorean the failure will be laid at the feet of these raging ego-maniacs. The future of the free world rests on the utlization of clean electrons (see Friedman in Hot, Flat & Crowded) and the Tesla could be a big step in that direction. While we ponder the fate of the “old” GM perhaps we should spend some of that money and energy creating the next one.

  32. Tim What a cool color. Definitely one to put on my dreamline experiences. How did you find it handled when banking turns quickly on the street? The low frame must have a great centre of gravity. Thanks for the clips.

  33. Hi All,

    A few things:

    Weebly (www.weebly.com) does have the ability to add more pages, multimedia, etc. I just did what I could in 30 min. or so.

    @Scott: you nailed it with the question. Those comments aren’t mine. Ah, the Internets!

    Be well, guys 🙂


  34. Sweet! Tesla set the bar for others to follow – more sexier than a plain old Toyota Prius. I predict within the next 20 years will see more big name manufacturers onto this electric scene with sexy cars.

  35. Tim,

    Saludos desde Argentina! Encontré el sitio de casualidad y ya llevo horas leyendo post anteriores.

    Inspirás una confianza increible. Saludos, keep working hard.

    Pura Vida!

  36. Sweet car. I want but sadly cant afford. Its nice to see people working towards a cleaner environment AND producing something really sexy.

    If you like weebly you might like to check out comfypage. It has awesome super friendly support provided by people like, well, me.

  37. If you haven’t seen the Fisker Karma, you should check it out. It is a 4 door luxury plug in hybrid. It has a solar roof that keeps the car’s interior cool on hot days and it keeps the interior warm on the cold days. They have taken orders for roughly 1000 on word of mouth. Sticker price is around $85,000. You can check it out at http://www.fiskerautomotive.com/. Not quite as sexy as the Tesla but maybe more practical since it is a sedan. Still pretty fast, 0-60 in under 6 seconds.

  38. I have watched this car for several years now and I am quite impressed that it has made it to the market. It’s absolutely amazing. I really wish I had the chance to drive it. Apparently the 4 door sedan will be coming out soon.

  39. Hi Tim,

    Very impressive car. I tried a F430 last summer and it was quite impressive (especially during the braking part). What was more impressive is being a passager with a professionnal pilot. Videos games get me so confortable with these kind of experience 🙂

    Hello from Berlin : life is great here, i don’t miss Paris.


    Esprit riche

  40. Hey Tim,

    I just finished reading your book. It was fantastic! And wow I didn’t know electric sport cars were out yet. That’s awesome.

    from a naval base in Greatlakes, IL

  41. Wow, electric powered vehicle have come a long way in the last few years. It must be quite an odd feeling to drive a vehicle without the sound of an engine. It’s nice to see something electric that looks like a real car!

  42. Hey Tim- so glad that you had such a good time driving the Roadster! Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with- when the 4 door comes out, we’ll be sure to put your a– in the driver’s seat early on in the cycle. It was fun to meet Brian too, and even more fun to see you having such a great time!

  43. I am sure you will address this in a new blog post on your race with Alex but I would like to hear your rational behind doing an illegal cross country race.

    It seems that one slight error could cause irrevocable harm. If you were in an accident obviously that could kill you. You could also kill someone else in the accident. These outcomes could easily change your life significantly for obvious reasons.

    With your deconstruction and decision making abilities I would like to know how you came to the decision to risk your future and possibly others in this event. Roy has been successful in these trips by not having any accidents according to the article so maybe that weighs in your decision to feel that there is minimal risk.

  44. Tim,

    I watched Jay Leno drive one of these on his website a few months ago … and I always like the blue one … and then … POW , you dog!

    I just have one other way to envy you. If I could only get my auto source of income going I would be scrambling with the 2000 other people trying to get one!! …

    Anyway, seriously, thanks for the video — if I had your connections I would have done EXACTLY what you did.

    Love the car , color , video … and thanks for sharing.

    Oh – by the way – if anyone wants to also check out Jay Leno’s test drive … here it is


    This will give you an idea ( As Tim mentioned ) about how a big guy fits inside … Jay is looking a bit ‘snug’ in the driver’s seat.


  45. Hi Tim,

    my birthday was on December 10 and my good friend Adrian had bought your book for me thinking that it would help me with all t he projects, boy was he right. I would like to say thank you, your book fourhourworkweek is one of the most inspiring books i have ever read. i wanted to reach out and thank you, the information is priceless and i love the way the book was written. words cannot express how much i appreciate your intelligence thank you thank you thank you thank you///////

    and happy new year


    los angeles ca

  46. Hey i wrote some questions that i really want to know to progress but haven’t heard from anybody..can anybody read this?? let me know

    1. @Ryan,

      Sorry for the delay. I really make an effort to read my comments (at least a few times a month I don’t have assistants help), but I often take the weekends off the computer.

      They should be up!


  47. Okay, so i want to create an audiobook but i have no reputation on my name. How long should I wait till build up my reputation?

    My niche is for personal achievement and finding happiness.

  48. Hey i’m trying to find an organization to join to build my reputation but i’m having a hard time locating one. Can someone help me?

    I’m looking for something for helping people find happiness or personal motivation. Something along the lines of Tony Robbins. Thanks

  49. Tim,

    Thanks does not cover it dude. I bought your book last weekend. I read it twice this week. I just resigned from by job in the cooperate world making a six figure income. Now I can focus on building my personal development business and my passion for dance.

    -Your friend in the Truth, Seth