Experimental Electric Vehicles

January 10, 2010

Tesla Brings an Electrical Storm to Grand Rapids

Filed under: 1 — tonyhelms @ 11:09 am

Electric Vehicles have always had the “Range Anxiety” (how far you can drive on a single charge) worries that have turned off buyers for years, with most drivers only having an average daily drive of 45 miles, even with the roadsters 240 mile range it still seems to deter would be buyers. Tesla made it clear that there should be no Range Anxiety when they decided on December 17th that they would road trip their famous Tesla Roadster from Los Angles California to the Detroit International Auto Show.

They made their road trip into a marketing endeavor by stopping at several cities, and meeting fellow EV groups and fans of the company throughout the United States. As soon as I saw they were stopping in my home town of Grand Rapids Mi I made sure to greet them with a warm west Michigan welcome.

On January 7th they were planning on driving from Chicago to Grand Rapids On I-94, Just off the Coast of Lake Michigan. Unfortunately Michigan’s weather did not want to cooperate with Tesla’s plans. We were getting several inches of wet and slippery lake effect snow. If you have never experienced lake effect snow for yourself it is absolutely treacherous to drive through, and usually the visibility is reduced to a few car lengths in front of you. I even had trouble getting home from work in my all wheel drive car, I was fairly sure the rear wheel drive and super torquey Roadster was not going to make it to to Grand Rapids.

After keeping a close eye on the road trip website I saw an update that stated they would be at the Amyway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids between 5 and 7pm. I was skeptical but I decided to head down there and see if they would arrive. Sure enough, a little after 6pm they came cruising into the hotel roundabout, caked in snow and covered in road grime the Tesla proved what a serious competitor it truly is.

After greeting Andria and Mike who drove the roadster from Chicago they were more then willing to give me a ride in the Roadster around town to truly show the Roadsters winter capability. The Roadster is equipped with a state of the art traction control system that works directly with the electric drive motor to give the car superior winter grip even in the worst of weather conditions. What also impressed me is the sound the Roadster produced, a light whine similar to a quiet jet engine is all you hear, the power band is un-matched as there is no shifting and constant power to the wheels, I cannot imagine how this car feels in dry conditions.

Soon later Andrew and Michelle Wright stopped by to see the Roadster, they drove from Kalamazoo Mi just to get a change to see the Roadster. We all then went to grab a bite down town to talk more about the Roadster, model S, and other EV topics. We all had a great time and appreciated Mike and Andria taking the time to have dinner with us, It was a great experience.

The Roadster has completed the journey to the Detroit International Auto Show, and will be on display, still dirty from the road trip to help prove to people what a capable vehicle the Tesla Roadster actually is. The Model S, Tesla’s 4 door sedan, will be on display as well. This is an even more capable every day car that has a range of 300 miles! I highly recommend attending the Detroit Auto Show this year, there will be many new Electric vehicle’s on display to help prove to the world that electric vehicles are the most achievable method to reduce our demand of foreign oil.

Hope to see you at the Auto Show!

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