So a friend and I wandered over to the local Tesla dealer, which is just a couple of miles from my place, to check out the cars that are just starting to be delivered. If only I had an extra $100K lying around. For those not familiar with the Tesla, it's an electric car built into a modified Lotus Elise chassis, but with an all carbon fiber body. It has supercar acceleration (0-60 mph in less than four seconds) because of a strong motor and light weight, a claimed range of 227 miles and 3.5 hour charging cycle. I had never sat in an Elise, and holy moly, it is very low, with a very wide door sill and a cramped cockpit. It is not easy to get in and out of, the seats are thin, and the ergonomics are marginal. It's still a dedicated sports car.
Here's a little picture tour.
There was only one car in the showroom, plus a full-size wood model and an empty shell probably from a prototype.
Under the bonnet is a radiator for cooling the 6,831 Li ion batteries. In the back is a small trunk, but we were unable to see the motor.
The charging socket has a cool light.
The view from the driver seat. The steering wheel was locked so I couldn't get a better picture.
There's no point having a tach on a car with one gear. But I understand now why they want the two-speed tranny they have been struggling to have developed: the torque curve is 100% from 0 to 6K rpm, then trails off in a linear fashion to the 13K redline. They need a second gear to reach the target top speed of 125 mph.
Here are various screens from the small computer display, which is to the left of the steering wheel.
The center console has controls for ventilation, seat heater, and an override button for the traction control. The stick has three positions, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive.