Why does Elon Musk call the Tesla Roadster a disaster?

Back in 2008, Jeremy Clarkson went on to test the Tesla Roadster “a barely running science experiment” that was not able to survive a full day at a Top Gear track. At the time, Tesla disliked the comments, of course.  However, in a rather interesting note, CEO Elon Musk admitted the then new Tesla Roadster to have been a disaster. 

According to Musk, the Roadster was a debacle that testifies about the rough origins of his young company (founded in 2003).  The idea for the car came after they thought that they could make a good profit by licensing drivetrain technology from a startup company called AC Propulsion and packing it into a chassis provided by Lotus. As Musk now says, this was one of those things that “turned out to be staggeringly dumb.”

Then an engineering nightmare arose as the technology from AC Propulsion had to be adapted and codes had to be rewritten in order for it to fit into the Lotus design. This platform had to be adapted to fit in the AC Propulsion batteries.  In the end, according to Musk, the roadster only had about six or seven percent of the technology provided by AC Propulsion and Lotus.

Because Lotus US crash testing could not be applied to the car due to modifications, expensive crash testing was needed.  Tesla’s co-founder JB Straubel revealed that all the suspension and braking system had to be redesigned for the Tesla.

Redesigning all the AC Propulsion and Lotus technology proved to be ineffective to a car doomed to disgrace.  At a party in 2006, some models were given to drivers to be tested. By the end of the night, these cars were destroyed, according to Straubel. Musk admitted that the car was completely unsafe, it broke down all the time, and it did not really work.

It was not until 2009 that Tesla, a company that their very co-founders gave a 10 percent chance of survival, stopped losing money to the Roadster, even after a complete overhauling. 

 

On Your Fingertips

Velodyne Does Not Understand Fatal Uber Crash of the Lidar

Federal investigators had their hands full trying to figure out how a self-driving Uber SUV malfunctioned and hit a pedestrian while she was walking her bicycle across an empty, albeit darkened road, in Arizona. The company responsible for making the vision sensor for the Uber car are just as…

2019 Acura RDX Crossover

Acura took full advantage of the 2018 New York International Auto Show, using the event to finally reveal the production-ready version of their all-new 2019 RDX crossover SUV. Their latest SUV was first previewed at the Detroit Auto Show a few months prior. "Quickest, best-handling, and most…

The new VW Golf GTI

The iconic design of the updated Golf has even more charisma with a number of new detailed solutions. The team led by Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen Head of Design, redesigned the bumpers and, together with engineers, conceptualised new headlights (halogen and LED), new LED tail lights and new wheels.…

Alfa Romeo - 2018 Mille Miglia - Second Stage

The overnight stay at Milano Marittima was a short one and the caravan was on the move again at first light. The rain, which had been very testing for the crews, especially in Ferrara, had given way to hazy sunshine, greeted with pleasure by the drivers and navigators. The second stage was long and…

2018 Nissan Leaf - first 100% electric drivetrain

Probably everything has been said about the 2018 Nissan Leaf, especially the fact that it is the first 100% electric drivetrain. After driving it, there are several things to say about it. But first, let's remember a set of facts that still blows us away. Probably the first thing that we noticed…