Can the Tesla Roadster tempt true Petrolheads away from internal combustion?

2y ago


Tesla shocked the motoring world on Friday morning with the announcement about an all-new Roadster - with an array of mind-boggling numbers.

The most astonishing was the confirmation that this new-generation Roadster will blitz the 0-60mph dash is just 1.9 seconds dead, with 100mph from standing dealt with in just 4.2 seconds. The top speed though is the biggest and possibly boldest claim of them all: the fact that the Roadster will hit 250mph plus if you can find enough road.

All of which means it can officially outpace such hypercars as the Bugatti Chiron and the AMG Project one. It may well lose out in the top speed stakes, but it more than makes up for this with the entry fee of just $200,000 (£151,000). To put that in perspective, you could buy seven Roadsters for the price of a single Chiron.

This shock announcement has managed to cause much debate in the DriveTribe office with one very important question:

Is the Tesla Roadster the first electric car that will tempt true petrolhead away from the internal combustion engine?

James May - Maybe

If this is true, then it’s going to be the car as an assassin. There you are, in your McLaren P1, feeling pretty pleased with yourself, when you're blown into the weeds by one of those ‘feeble’ new electric cars. And you won’t even hear it coming.

Richard Hammond - Yes

At the risk of sounding like James May, I’ve said this all along. Cars are about far, far more than their utilitarian function. They ignite a passion that burns deep in our souls. The electric revolution will happen, and I’m sure that modern tech - and future tech - will make the daily commute safer, cheaper and better for all of us and the planet with a new breed of cars. But that little flame in our souls needs to be fed.

We will continue to demand cars that thrill and excite us. And where there’s a demand there’s money to be made. Manufacturers will meet legislative issues and then turn their attention to selling us what we really want. The Tesla looks great. It’s maybe the first of the new, new breed.’

James King - No

The Tesla’s performance figures are mightily impressive; no-one can dispute this. However, I don’t judge a car on speed alone. If I were playing Top Trumps, I’d take the Tesla every time, but if you want me to own/drive the car, then I’d always pick a car that could attack as many of my senses as possible.

So far, EVs have only impressed in acceleration, speed and shock factor. I recently drove a Ferrari Dino 246 GT, and I can’t fathom how an EV could make me smile 1,000th as much as it did. The therapeutic gear-change, the throaty engine note, the visceral experience that only a raw combustion engine can make me feel.

I’m all for the replacement of the commuter cars becoming EV, but if you are trying to convince me to go electric with performance cars, that will never happen.

Lucy Brown - Yes

As a stubborn petrolhead, I'm not the biggest fan of electric cars. Although recently there have been some interesting electric cars and concepts, none have tempted me to turn to EVs. I'll admit there have been some that have almost turned me, but I can always find something to stop myself from liking them.

This has all changed with the Roadster. I can't find anything that I can use to hate it, so it is time for me to admit that I like an EV. Not only is this car quick, it's good value for money, it has a decent range and doesn't look too bad. I might even add it to my "when I'm rich" shopping list. Although there is one slight issue I have with the Roadster: there is an apparent lack of door handles. Why would you do that Tesla? Why?

Rob Burnett - Yes

If I were in the market for a £150,000 sports car (and just for the record, sadly I’m not), the new Tesla Roadster would probably be in my thinking - not least because it looks great.

The sub two-second 0-60 claim may or may not be accurate, but I don’t think that’s really the point for me - it will be fast enough for any driving I want to do.

Without actually getting behind the wheel though, it’s impossible to say whether I would be completely convinced - the reason you buy a sports car is to be excited and moved by the experience - and can an EV really get the hairs on the back of your neck standing up? But if it ticked that box then why not?

Petter Olafsen - Yes

Fossil fuel based transportation is on its last legs. It's a technology that hasn't developed much in the past 150 years, and is inherently inefficient and taxing on both the environment and end user. Improvements in battery technology, energy storage and electric drives will enable a cleaner, more efficient transportation fleet - that can be powered by sustainable energy sources in the long-term.

As the costs for petroleum production rise and the available supply diminishes - we can expect rapid advancements in both alternative energy sources (fusion, wind, wave, solar, thermal - anyone?) and their distribution and implementation.

Tesla is already producing viable alternatives; we can only hope the pace of development will allow a robust alternative to the current dominance of fossil fuels. I expect, and hope, internal combustion driven cars will continue to exert a presence in our culture, but as the horse diminished in strategic importance at the turn of the 19th century - I expect a similar transition will occur in my lifetime. Time will tell.

Mahmood Ansari - No

For $200K it doesn't really give me the wow factor which a supercar or even a sports car such as an M4 does. Yes, it has an insane 0-60 speed for 1.9 seconds, but a car needs more than just speed for me to get excited.

Also, I'm not sure if it's just me but it kind of looks like an MX5 - a very expensive MX5 that is.

Michael Fernie - Yes

The Tesla Roadster certainly isn't the first car to get me excited about EVs, Rimac beat them to that with the Concept One. THAT resembles a proper supercar of the future, while the Tesla just seems like an overhyped sports car. The proposed stats are incredible but give me the Croatian product any day.

So as a true petrolhead is the Tesla Roadster and all the furious pace it delivers enough to tempt you away from the internal combustion engine? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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