While the decisions of Tesla’s management have been questionable, there is no doubt that their car is a solid product. In anticipation of the Model S being unveiled this week, the Associated Press took a whirl through New York in a Roadster. The reviewer is absolutely smitten with the car:
AP: Like many high-end sports cars, the low-slung Roadster hugs the ground. The result is that I felt nearly every bump, slick and pothole during my test drive on New York’s ancient streets. Nonetheless, the ride is astoundingly smooth and quiet. The car navigated TriBeCa’s tight corners and narrow streets with aplomb.
Save for two consistent noises — the soft whirring of the electric motor and the gurgling of the battery’s coolant system behind the driver’s seat — the car is nearly silent.
The interior is austere, if a bit cramped. The silver gear shift has just three settings: drive, reverse and neutral. In place of a fuel gauge, a small, lighted bar indicates the car’s charge, and two numerical displays estimate the car’s remaining range based on an average-use calculation and also how you’re driving at any given moment.
Even more than the ride itself, he loves the way it looks:
At one point, after parking the car briefly on a vacant side street, several pedestrians wandered over for a closer look. One, a Frenchman, immediately recognised the car from a documentary. A FedEx delivery truck driver approached, wide-eyed, to ask questions and snap pictures with his iPhone.
All walked away mightily impressed. Indeed, the Roadster is an impressive car. But Tesla’s big test is yet to come: whether it can impress again with the Model S, and with the even cheaper electric cars it hopes to build in the future.
While it’s not exactly news that the Roadster is great fun, it’s a good reminder that once Tesla can sell a product for the masses, word of mouth will help the company sell many more.
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