Articles Tagged Experience
Articles tagged "Experience"
Aaron 'p-nut' Wills is the bassist and youngest member of the band 311. Known for his “funk-slap” bass style p-nut has brought his own sound and entertaining style to the stage. Aaron had a recent opportunity to drive a Tesla Roadster around Santa Monica and through the hills of Malibu. Following are his impressions from the day:
Motor Trend Technical Editor Kim Reynolds joined us for a day of driving Validation Prototypes 9 and 10 on Monday (December 3). Kim is an understated guy, but very knowledgeable about EVs. Kim knew Alec Brooks, Tesla's Director of Vehicle Technologies, from way back and told me stories about “back in the day” when he used to let Alec and Al Cocconi bring the AC Propulsion's t-zero over to the Motor Trend skidpad so he could help them understand how the car should behave on “throttle on” and “throttle off” while turning hard.
So there it was. With a strange sense of accomplishment, I took it all in. The silver Roadster’s windshield was smashed, spider web cracks fanning out in all directions from under the mono-wiper. Along the driver’s side of the car, from nose to tail, the paint had been scraped away by what only could only have been severe contact with a concrete barrier. Checking out the passenger’s side, the damage was just as bad.
Smiling, I responded, “this is great!” and took a moment to reflect on how we got to this point. For those expecting a crash test blog entry outlining the rigors of safety certification, I’m sorry to disappoint. The same can be said for those hoping to read of a track testing catastrophe.
When I last posted to this blog in May, the news was a mixed bag. Martin (Founder Martin Eberhard) had just officially revised our range expectations down from 250 miles to greater than 200 miles, but we remained committed to holding the line on 4 second 0-60 mph acceleration and delivering the Tesla Roadster with the performance, handling, looks, and safety of a world-class electric sports car. Now it is September and in the last three weeks we have completed performance and range validation testing of Validation Prototype 1 (VP1 aka “the green car”) in order to verify our Tesla Roadster performance claims. I’m extremely pleased to say that the results are in and our hard work has really paid off!
In the last installment of the driving dynamics blog, we explored the interplay between static mass distribution and power delivery in the Tesla Roadster. That’s a complicated way of saying that we looked at how the Tesla Roadster drives based on two key parameters: its chassis architecture (mid-“engine,” rear wheel drive) and power delivery characteristics (extremely broad, flat torque curve). By way of a quick refresher on the subject, the Tesla Roadster maintains the bulk of its mass, the battery pack, ahead of the rear axle and delivers its power to the rear wheels in a linear fashion.
Now let's look at some of the further intricacies of weight and driving dynamics.
They call me “the range guy” at Tesla Motors, which is fitting since it’s my job to characterize and improve the driving range of the Tesla Roadster. This means I get to:
- Conduct official range testing according to EPA/CARB procedures,
- Work with our development teams to extract the most miles out of the car,
...and best of all...
- Spend lots of time driving the Engineering Prototypes (EPs) and Validation Prototypes (VPs) to collect data to calibrate our simulation models and understand real-world range.
It’s a dream job, but it also has its challenges.
It doesn’t matter where we were going, on which freeway on-ramp we were merging, or even how fast the car was actually traveling. All that matters is that I was driving, I had a journalist riding shotgun, and I was just passing the imaginary apex of a decreasing radius turn with speed to spare. A lot of speed to spare. Oh, and there was a very solid looking concrete barrier occupying pretty much all of the real estate just ahead of the Tesla Roadster’s short red snout.
And then it happened…
To ensure that the Tesla Roadster is as safe as possible in extreme conditions, we have just finished putting one of our Engineering Prototypes through an extensive test schedule at the Continental Proving Ground in Arvidsjaur, Sweden. The proving ground is in a beautiful location on and around a frozen lake about 60 miles from the Arctic Circle.
Imagine yourself strapped into a Tesla Roadster speeding down a rough cobblestone path intended to cause so much agitation that the ride stops being fun and starts becoming more like work. It's just a typical day at the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA), an engineering and testing facility where we are punishing two of our Tesla Roadster Engineering Prototypes (and several of our engineers as well!).
How fast is it? That’s a common question we get at events where the Tesla Roadster is on display.