If something about the Tesla Roadster looks familiar, there’s a clue on the business cards of Tesla’s UK employees, which read: Potash Lane, Hethel. Not coincidentally, it’s the home of Lotus. Beneath the pretty body of the Tesla Roadster lies the chassis layout of a Lotus Elise.
Note layout, not the actual chassis. The Elise’s passenger tub, famously, is a bonded and riveted extruded aluminium monocoque, flexible enough (in the design rather than physical sense) to accommodate different powertrains, configurations and set-ups and be built in different styles. As a basis for a low-volume electric car, it was the obvious choice.
There’s no space under the nose for luggage — just cooling fans (electric motors need to be cooled too) and something that looks like it could give you a very interesting hairstyle if you touched it.
Halogen headlamps are standard. They’re perfectly adequate for a car of this type; the lights draw a couple of amps. Exposed LED rear lights look distinctive at night, but during daylight they appear rather conventional for what is an entirely unconventional car.
Behind what looks like a conventional fuel filler cap nestles the Roadster’s charging point. When connected it glows white, then pulses orange if it’s being recharged. The pulses come quickly if it’s nearly out of juice and more slowly once it’s approaching full charge.