The very first classic among electric cars emerges: the Tesla Roadster.

It is the car that paved the way for the breakthrough of electric driving.

The Tesla Roadster made its debut in 2010. It is therefore less than 25 years old to be officially labeled as an old-timer.

But it is clear that it is well on its way to being the first electric car to achieve classic status.

It was not Elon Musk that was born, but Colin Chapman, the founder of the British Lotus.

Especially in Formula 1 he gained fame with his radical inventions, in which lightweight was the leitmotiv.

Long after Chapman's death in 1982, Lotus had not forgotten his philosophy.

The Lotus Elise, which came on the market in 1998, was mainly distinguished by its minimal weight, which resulted in an extremely good sports car.

“The Roadster was - thanks in part to Lotus's knowledge and experience - good enough to put the Tesla name on the map.”

A lot of people noticed this, including Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning.

These two Americans founded Tesla with the aim of building an electric sports car.

As an investor they managed to attract a certain Musk, at that time best known as the inventor of PayPal, a system for electronically arranging your shopping purchases on the internet.

Tesla was inspired by the tzero, a small, electric roadster from the American AC Propulsion.

Although it still ran on old lead-based batteries, Tesla was impressed enough by the powertrain to license it.

Only the chassis, that could be better.

To this end, Tesla teamed up with Lotus, so that it could use the Elise's chassis for the first Tesla under license.

Eberhard calls this base "

a work of genius


The very first Tesla was largely based on a Lotus.

The very first Tesla was largely based on a Lotus.

Photo: Autoweek

Tesla Roadster was anything but cheap

The Roadster was - partly thanks to the knowledge and experience of Lotus - good enough to put the name Tesla on the map.

He proved how fun, exciting and sexy electric driving can be.

And with that, he paved the way for the Model S, Model X and Model 3. An important achievement for a small car that you hardly see on the road.

The latter is not surprising, because the Tesla Roadster was anything but cheap.

It cost almost 100,000 euros in the Netherlands.

When the Tesla Roadster came on the market, there were also far fewer charging points and electric cars were not yet as tax-friendly as they are now.

It is understandable that the Roadster never became a bestseller.

Eric van Leeuwen is not only a fan of Tesla, but also of Lotus.

Eric van Leeuwen is not only a fan of Tesla, but also of Lotus.

Photo: Autoweek

'Tesla Roadster has almost criminal capacity'

And yet there are still a few of these cars around in the Netherlands.

Eric van Leeuwen (58) has had a Tesla Roadster for years.

"Yes, I too have benefited from the subsidies for electric cars," he immediately admits.

But he hastens to add that government subsidies are not the reason he drives this Tesla.

"I have this car because it is the new classic, and because it appeals to my beta side. I love electronics, but also technology in general. I have a great affinity with Lotus: the Esprit was my favorite car for a long time. Colin Chapman's story really appeals to me ", says Van Leeuwen.

"I fulfilled my Lotus dream with the Tesla Roadster, because it has the unmistakable

look and feel

of a Lotus. And this car has an incredible, almost criminal power. Acceleration is an explosion in an action movie, but with the sound off. Very special, that silent power, and very addictive too. "

The gray Roadster has been Van Leeuwen's daily car for years, but now another Tesla has taken over that role.

"I wanted to trade in the Roadster, but I can't part with it."

All specifications of the Tesla Roadster can be found in the AutoWeek database.

Tesla has announced that a completely new generation will soon be on the market.

You can read more about this in this article from AutoWeek.

You can see used Teslas here in an overview of

Quite different from a Model 3 or Model S, but in the experience a real Tesla.

Quite different from a Model 3 or Model S, but in the experience a real Tesla.

Photo: Autoweek