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. 

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Most of the Tesla's bodywork is constructed from carbonfibre to save weight

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.

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The exquisitely finished roll bar is not the only carbonfibre to feature on the Roadster; all of the bodywork apart from the bumpers is constructed from the material to save weight.

Alloy wheels come as standard — 16s at the front, 17s at the rear. Although there is no choice of style, you can opt for chrome or black.Signature Edition Roadsters get a body-coloured hard-top as standard, with the alternative of the classic Lotus soft-top, which, with a bit of practice, is easy enough to remove/fit in a hurry.

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