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Tesla Roadster: Best Car of 2008 (and it’s 100% Electric)

Last updated by on 9 Comments

The Tesla Roadster

Now that’s an electric vehicle to be proud of. I looked into the 100% electric, zero emission Tesla Roadster a little bit more after writing my last post ‘Who Keeps Killing the Electric Car?’. This thing is sweet! Anyone know where you can test drive one of these? It is guaranteed to make a huge impact on people’s perceptions of what an electric car can be, and already is. Here are some of the amazing specs on the Roadster (in just its first year of production):

Tesla Roadster Specs

  • 100% electric with zero emissions
  • Tesla RoadsterThe Tesla Roadster
  • 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds (better than any car in the world with the exception of the Ferrari Enzo) , which trades at over $1,000,000 and has one-eighth of the efficiency)
  • 135 mpg equivalent
  • 220 miles per charge
  • Less than 2 cents cost per mile
  • tires and battery are recyclable
  • fully charged battery in 3.5 hours
  • carbon fiber body
  • zero oil
  • very little maintenance, with checkups needed only once every 12,000 miles
  • 248 horsepower, 13,000 RPM
  • top speed of 125 mph (they actually had to cap it, maybe so the police can catch up with you to give you a ticket?)
  • heated leather seats with inflatable lumbar support
  • touch-screen navigation
  • 16″ front, 17″ rear 7 spoke wheels
  • 7 speaker, ipod ready, 170 channel satellite stereo

These are just a few of the standard highlights of the Tesla Roadster. There’s one drawback – a price tag of $109,000. Before you laugh, I must say that if you were to find a comparable vehicle in performance, standard features, and looks from one of the luxury manufacturers you’d probably pay just as much or more and wouldn’t get quite the same unique driving experience (or peace of mind in knowing that you’re driving a zero emission vehicle). Who wouldn’t want to jump in this thing and take it for a ride with you? Watch Jay Leno take a ride in one:

It looks like the 2008 Tesla Roadster models are completely sold out, but you can reserve one for 2009. If money wasn’t an issue, I wouldn’t consider any other car. This is one company to rally behind. I wish them the best. For full disclosure, Tesla is NOT paying me, I’m just really pumped about this vehicle! Take a look at the unveiling:

Is the Tesla Roadster Worth its Price?

Of course, none of us truly NEED a vehicle, and being that this is a personal finance blog, I would never suggest spending $109,000 on a vehicle. However, this is a great first step in changing the perceptions of electric vehicles. I would expect that the Tesla Roadster is going to blaze a path in the evolution of electric vehicles being widely accessible and affordable for everyone. In fact, Tesla’s Elon Musk states that “Tesla model 2 will be a 5 door sedan at a $49,000 price point, and Tesla model 3 will be at a $30,000 price point.” Let’s just hope that they refuse all of GM’s bids to buy them out.

Tesla Roaster Discussion:

If you had the cash would you buy this vehicle?

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About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You can also explore every post I have written, in order.

  • Betsy says:


    Yes, I’m learning that lesson that we don’t really “need” a vehicle. My cherished payment/debt free car was STOLEN yesterday. :( I only had liability (it was an older car), so now I have NOTHING to drive. I have about 2700 in my savings, but that’s it. I’m a temp, so I only have steady work “most” of the time. I have no 401K or investments or anything like that.

    I’m trying to teach myself to use the bus system while I wait to hear from the police. The bus is a short-term fix, as it takes doubly long to get anywhere (I live in LA), and it doesn’t really get me to my gym or the grocery store.

    Any financial advise for me as I’m trying to navigate this situation? If I need to buy a car, buy used, right? Is there a certain principle I should be following in this purchase? Thx!

  • Jim Ontos says:

    There is no way I would buy this car or any electric car. With only a 220 mile range carrying only two people what am I going to do with my camping gear, two kids and the dog? It just does not make sense. Many times we travel in remote areas beyond the electrical grid. We make our own electricity with solar panels at one of our homes. Nearest electrical lines are 20 miles away. I am not about to wait a week to recharge my car with a solar panel. Even if you are on the grid it takes way to long to charge batteries.

    To say that electric vehicles have no emissions is just not true. Just drive down to the local coal generating plant and stick your head in the stack and take a breath. Electrical generation also generates acid rain is killing the trees East of the Mississippi and putting mercury in our lakes. No emissions….. really

    Most Americans do not live in a slum city and really need a vehicle to make a living. Believe it or not some of us live in real America where the nearest neighbor is more that a gun shot away.

    Then there are the batteries and since we make our own electricity we have experience with batteries and charging systems. You can deep discharge a good battery about 300 to 400 times (about 2 years at best in a vehicle using a 3 stage charger) after that they will need replacing. Talk about sticker shock. Top batteries that are vibration resistant are about $1000 a piece. 8 batteries equals $ 8000 every two or three years. All of which makes even makes $5 a gallon gas in a 19 mpg pickup look good. This is not green hype that you hear on the web and in the media this is reality.

    There just has to be a better solution.

  • G.E. Miller says:

    @ Betsy – That is very unfortunate, I’m sorry. Your insurance on the vehicle won’t cover any sort of replacement cost? If I was in your situation, I may consider trying out mass transit for a while to see if I could adapt to that lifestyle. If after trying it a while you are unable to adapt, $2,700 may get you a fairly reliable, if not old and high mileage vehicle.

    @ Jim – The vehicle itself is zero emission. As far as emissions from possible coal power that would provide energy for the car, you are correct. If one were to have solar panels at their house and actually gave back to the grid (as it sounds like you do), then you’re energy positive and not using that coal. The batteries on this vehicle only take 3.5 hours to fully charge (2 to recharge). It can be done. As we more more towards alternative energy sources (wind, solar, hydro, geothermal), one would think that electric vehicles would become even more of a sustainable model (they are already much better as electric vehicles are usually 85% efficient in energy use or better versus about 15% for gasoline powered vehicles). In terms of battery expenditure, the battery on this vehicle is good for 100,000 miles. That’s 8+ years. It makes sense that as this technology becomes more and more prevalent over the years the expense of batteries would decrease.

    I’ll be the first to admit that this vehicle in particular is not for everyone, but I think it is a great first step towards closing in on electric vehicles that are for everyone. It seems like a natural evolution in energy efficiency – do you honestly think that we can continue to run on oil forever? This is a model that is failing us and with rising demand it will only get worse.

  • Stephanie says:

    It’s a rather sexy car, isn’t it? Especially with the eco-friendly aspect.
    A bit too pricey for me, but hopefully, as with most new products, it will come down in price. And as for fitting more than two people in the car, like it was mentioned above, they are working towards a sedan.

    p.s. found your blog linked to from Generation X Finance…good stuff!

  • G.E. Miller says:

    @ Stephanie – great, thanks for stopping by. Jeremy over at genx is a fellow Michigan State University alumn, and runs a nice operation. BTW, I can’t wait for the sedan either. Or how about a nice little crossover vehicle that gets 500 miles on a charge…. tasty.

  • Nate says:

    Very intereting video and thanks for putting it up there. I also think that the future will see most, if not all people using electric car to not only save money but also the environment!

    Thanks for the video, keep up the work.

  • Bob Gall says:

    Yup – I’d even trade my ’01 Z-3 (great, fun car) for the Tesla. one commenter was concerned about kids, dogs, etc. I suspect that family may have more than one car, one of which commutes to work less than 110 miles a day (that’s 220 RT, the expected range of one charge on the Tesla). I believe the lion’s share of emissions and fuel usage result from 1 or 2 people in a car going to and from work. I submit that most people drive considerably less than 220 miles most of the time. For those times when a greater distance or load requirement exists, either the second family car or rent for the olne-off excursion wold be a reasonable alternative and, in the long run, more economical and ‘greener’. I, too, consider the emissions from the generating plant but suspect it’s still significantly less than what’s attributable to gasoline engines. The biggest problem, tho, is safety – I’ve nearly been run over by silent cars – yeah, I know, I’m s’posed to “look both ways” but without the sound, even seeing may not be believeing!!! I liked Jay Leno’s concept – have a CD playing car sounds!! Sorta like the deer-repelling ‘whistles’ (don’t know if they work).

    Glad to see a Spartan in the crowd (G. E Miller – any relation to G. E Miller Dodge in Northville, MI – circa 1950s – 1960s)?? If so, post a note – I’ve asked for folow-up comments to be sent by e-mail.

    Betsy – good luck tho I see your post was some time ago – are you used to mass transit yet?? I don’t know what LA’s is like but having lived in Chicago for 13 years and now in NJ (Near NYC), I know that mass transit can be great. My hometown of Detorit, however, had very little in the way of good mass tran – just the old DSR busses.

  • G.E. Miller says:

    @ Bob – Never considered the ‘getting run over’ dilemma. I would imagine if we went all electric that road kill would skyrocket. You win some, you lose some. No relation to the gentleman in Northville, but I am in SE Michigan. Go State (big game tomorrow)!

  • crasher says:

    The electric cars will be our future, everyone should know that


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