phase 4 pole electric
under 4 seconds
(from Tesla Motors)
Electric Power: Drive Quickly, Tread Lightly
Most electric vehicles
operate under the assumption that driving is merely a necessary evil
if you need to get someplace you cant reach on foot or bike. The
result has been cars that are designed, built, and marketed in ways
that refuse to glorify driving.
We respectfully disagree. We believe driving is exhilarating. Just
watch any child on a go-cart and the joy is plain to see. And when
you can soar along at top speed, knowing the only oil in the car is
in the transmission, the only emissions are the songs from the
radio, the ride becomes more enjoyable still.
The Ultimate Multi-Fuel Vehicle
Electric cars equal
freedom. Not simply from oil reliance, but from dependence on any
specific power source. Electric power can be generated from natural
gas, coal, solar, wind, hydro, and nuclear sources or a
combination of all of them without changing the design of the car.
No matter how or when the world changes, the car adapts, making it
immune from obsolescence.
We foresee a day when all cars run on electric power and when people
will struggle to remember a time when a love of driving came with a
side order of guilt.
No More Tradeoffs
Up until now, if you
wanted a car with amazing gas mileage, youd pick something like the
leading hybrid; but when you pressed down the gas pedal to zip up a
freeway on-ramp, you'd likely be a little disappointed it takes
over 10 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour. On the other hand, if
you demanded the 0 to 60 times of a $300,000 supercar, you'd wind up
with an embarrassing 9 miles to the gallon in the city.
How It Works
When you build a car
that's electric, you start with one built-in advantage: Electric
cars just don't have to be as complex mechanically as the car you're
probably driving now. Sophisticated electronics and software take
the place of the pounds and pounds of machinery required to
introduce a spark and ignite the fuel that powers an internal
For example, the typical four-cylinder engine of a conventional car
comprises over a hundred moving parts. By comparison, the motor of
the Tesla Roadster has just one: the rotor. So there's less weight
to drive around and fewer parts that could break or wear down over
But the comparison doesn't end with the counting of moving parts.
The engine and transmission of a conventional car also need
lubricating oils, filters, coolant, clutches, spark plugs and wires,
a PCV valve, oxygen sensors, a timing belt, a fan belt, a water pump
and hoses, a catalytic converter, and a muffler all items
requiring service, and all items that aren't needed in an electric
The Tesla Roadster's elegantly designed powertrain consists of just
the four main components discussed below. Mind you, these aren't
"off-the-shelf" components, and each includes innovations, both
small and large. But when you build a car from the ground up, you
have the luxury of questioning every assumption and to distill as
The Energy Storage System (ESS)
When we set out to build
a high-performance electric car, the biggest challenge was obvious
from the start: the battery. Its complexities are clear: it's heavy,
expensive, and offers limited power and range. Yet it has one
quality that eclipses these disadvantages and motivated us to keep
working tirelessly: it's clean.
The Tesla Roadster's battery pack the car's "fuel tank"
represents the biggest innovation in the Tesla Roadster and is one
of the largest and most advanced battery packs in the world. We've
combined basic proven lithium ion battery technology with our own
unique battery pack design to provide multiple layers of safety.
It's light, durable, recyclable, and it is capable of delivering
enough power to accelerate the Tesla Roadster from 0 to 60 mph in
under 4 seconds. Meanwhile, the battery stores enough energy for the
vehicle to travel more about 245 miles (EPA city/highway) without
recharging, something no other production electric vehicle in
history can claim.
Some people find it hard
to imagine our car's Lamborghini-beating acceleration comes from a
motor about the size of a watermelon. And while most car engines
have to be moved with winches or forklifts, ours weighs about 70
pounds a strong person could carry it around in a backpack
(although we don't recommend it). Compare that to the mass of
machinery under the hood of $300,000 supercars that still can't
accelerate as quickly as the Tesla Roadster.
But more important than the motor's size or weight is its efficency.
Without proper efficiency, a motor will convert electrical energy
into heat instead of rotational energy. So we designed our motor to
have efficiencies of 85 to 95 percent; this way the precious stored
energy of the battery pack ends up propelling you down the road
instead of just heating up the trunk.
Our transmission couples
the fuel efficiency of a manual with the driving ease of an
automatic. The Tesla Roadster has only two forward gears, allowing
you to fine-tune your driving experience (but either gear will work
for most driving scenarios). Unlike a manual transmission, the car
will not stall if you have it in the wrong gear. There's also no
clutch pedal. Just move the lever and the electronic control module
takes care of the shift, so you can launch from a full stop to
freeway speed without taking your focus off the road, your foot off
the accelerator, or your hands off the wheel.
Power Electronics Module (PEM)
Most of the subsystems
in the Tesla Roadster are completely electronic and under direct
software control. But unlike all other cars, these systems are not a
hodge-podge of independent systems instead, they are designed as
an integrated system, the way complex network and computer systems
are designed today.
You'll see the hub of this network every time you pop the trunk
the Power Electronics Module. When you shift gears or accelerate in
the Tesla Roadster, the PEM translates your commands into precisely
timed voltages, telling the motor to respond with the proper speed
and direction of rotation. The PEM also controls motor torque,
charging, and regenerative braking, and it monitors things like the
voltage delivered by the ESS, the speed of rotation of the motor,
and the temperatures of the motor and power electronics.
The PEM controls over 200 kW of electrical power during peak
acceleration enough power to illuminate 2,000 incandescent light