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2008 Tesla Roadster

Green  /   /  By Bradley Berman

The story of this 2008 Tesla Roadster electric sports car can be told by the numbers.  Let’s start with four–as in the number of heart-pounding seconds it takes for this gem of an electric sports car to go from zero to 60 miles per hour.  (The current owner pegs 0-60 acceleration at 4.3 seconds, while Tesla says 3.7 seconds.)

A few minutes behind the wheel of a Tesla Roadster will turn the most ardent fan of high-horsepower internal combustion into an electric car acolyte.  I’ll never forget the crisp Bay Area morning last year when I tapped the accelerator–zooming in the blink of an eye from 65-mph highway traffic to 90-plus.  Note: This is not recommended driving behavior, but boy is it fun to know there’s up to 295 lbs-ft of torque at your disposal. The Tesla Roadster rides on the modified chassis of a Lotus Elise, explaining its amazing handling and cornering.

The next figure to consider is 455.  That’s the current mile reading on the odometer of this 2008 Roadster, which remarkably has barely been driven.  Besides the low miles, what makes this car such a find for collectors (and thrill-seekers) is that it’s most likely one of the very first Tesla Roadster to receive the company’s single-speed gearbox.  Back in 2008, when Tesla was frantically trying to get its first models delivered to customers, the company released the first 27 units with an interim two-speed transmission.  The two-gear approach provided a relatively sluggish 5.6 seconds to get to 60 mph.  The single-speed transmission shaved a few more micro-ticks off the acceleration stat–and thus completed Tesla’s vision for combining electricity, luxury and lightning speed.

The next number to keep in mind: 1,850.  Last week, I spoke with Tesla officials, who told me that just 1,850 Tesla Roadsters have been made so far-and I don’t expect many more to roll off the line.  The company will soon discontinue production of the Roadster two-seater–at least in its current form–as it prepares its next model: the Maserati-looking Model S sedan that comfortably carries five adults, with two kids in back.

$155,000 is the next number to consider.  That’s how much the current owner paid for this blue Roadster with black interior. He’s now offering at the Buy-It-Now discount price of $85,000.

Final stats: Top speed of 120 mph.  Two hundred miles on a single charge.  Three-and-a-half hours to fully charge a depleted battery.   And a dwindling number of minutes left to bid on this extraordinary vehicle–which could go down in automotive history as the model that fostered the EV revolution.

For more information about fuel efficiency, visit eBay’s Green Driving Center.

About the Author

Bradley Berman is a leading writer and researcher about electric cars and green transportation. He regularly contributes driving reviews and technology articles to The New York Times, Fortune, MIT Technology Review, Popular Mechanics, and other publications.

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