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Tesla’s First Roadster 12 Years Ago Imprints the Achievement of Electric Vehicles

published: 2020-04-30 18:30

In 2008, Tesla announced its first electric vehicle, Roadster, which forever changed the ecology of the automotive industry. Jay Leno, renowned American talk show host, out of the blue one day, uploaded a never-before-seen video that contains the footage of the first road test for the first Roadster back then, as well as Musk’s young and timid posture.

Being praised as the best commercial electric car, the 2020 Roadster has yet to receive any information regarding delivery time, and that is when Jay Leno, American talk show host, unexpectedly released a never-before-seen video that contains the footage of the first Roadster 12 years ago.

Merely 37 years old at the time, Elon Musk can be seen in the video introducing to Leno his brainchild: an electric car. The first thing Leno said gave the best annotation for Tesla and Roadster: “this electric car has swept away all negative impressions of electric vehicles, and that is what awed me the most.”

The world had basically three impressions on the image of electric vehicles: toys, electric walkers, and golf carts, which literally meant slow in speed, inferior in driving distance, and high in prices. As one of the most popular hosts in the US, Jay Leno is obsessed with cars, and allegedly possesses 169 cars and 117 motorbikes, whereas his automotive show <Jay Leno’s Garage> is also a program favored by many car fanatics.

It was considered as almost impossible to ask Leno to drive an “electric vehicle” at the time, unless it was a part of a comedy show that was filming next door. Roadster eventually proved itself, and was praised by Leno.

▲To the car enthusiast Jay Leno, this sports car with merely a two-speed transmission is just outrageous.

Musk meticulously introduces the “innovative” design of this electric car in the video, where features like lithium-ion battery and the regenerative dynamic system have constructed Roadster into the first electric car in the world to be capable of a driving distance of more than 320km, together with less than 4 seconds for the acceleration from 0 to 100km/h, as well as a top speed of more than 200km/h.

Such figures are almost the standard configuration of commercial electric vehicles in 2020, though they managed to shock the world 12 years ago. The first generation of Roadster came with monster performance, despite costing less than US$120K for the most expensive version, which successfully aroused the attention of many sports car owners.

Tesla announced in 2012 that the company will no longer produce Roadster, and the project for the new generation of the model was only announced in 2017. According to the official data of Tesla, the 2020 Roadster will be capable of a driving distance of more than 600km, together with an enhanced acceleration capability of less than 2 seconds from 0 to 100km/h. If the data proves to be true, it would mean that Tesla has doubled the driving distance of a high-end sports car, and reduced the time needed for acceleration from 0 to 100km/h, in just 12 years.

▲Will the 2020 Roadster, most anticipated electric car this year, shock the world like it did back then?

(Source: Tesla)

What is interesting is that as a car fanatic, Leno thought that they needed a CD player, when he was driving the Roadster, to play the sound of the engine, otherwise it would be less than satisfying. The vehicle had no CD player, but it had another distinctive equipment, which was a two-speed transmission.

As explained by Musk, the team at Tesla took references from the sports car design of multiple automotive manufacturers, and conformed to the features of electric motors, when producing this two-gear transmission. The team also constructed a single speed drive system, which became the standard design of subsequent Roadster models, thus this particular unit of Roadster with two-speed transmission is considered as an ultra-rare special edition.

Are there any particular reasons for the sudden upload of this video? The first speculation undoubtedly points to the insinuation of the upcoming promotional events for the 2020 Roadster, though that will go against the style of Tesla. The second speculation is that Leno’s team is struggling to find new videos recently, so they had to look back to the archive, where they found this video that was never aired.

Nonetheless, seeing this test video after 12 years has not only brought sentiment to the rapid growth of Tesla, but also reminded everyone the Roadster model that fell off the radar ever since its announcement. The substantial development of electric vehicles in merely 12 years has made the next decade even more exciting.

 (Photo source: Jay Leno’s Garage)

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