When a new manufacturer came along in 2008 with what appeared to be a Lotus powered by electricity, weighing 1.3 tonnes and costing £86,950, people scoffed. It wasn't just a silhouette which this upstart had borrowed from Hethel, either. For better or worse its car shared its switchgear, dashboard, steering wheel, windscreen and roof with an Elise. This lead to many a (rather unfair) comparison to the lightweight British roadster. But it shouldn't be forgotten just how revolutionary the Tesla Roadster was. It showed that electric performance was ready for the road, that it needn't be the preserve of the G-Wizzes of the world, and that, like it or not, a genuine alternative to petrol power was on the horizon.
This is no ordinary Tesla Roadster though, it's a Roadster Sport. For £15,000 more than the standard car you got lightweight alloy wheels wrapped in performance-orientated Yokohama tyres, adjustable anti-roll bars, and 10-way adjustable Ohlins dampers, all contributing to a ride much more suited to British B-roads. The Sport could also draw an extra 200 amps from its lithium-ion battery than the regular Roadster - resulting in an extra 40hp and 20lb ft of torque, and a 0-60 time of just 3.7 seconds. Inside, meanwhile, you'd find more leather and extra carbon fibre trim.
Above and beyond that, this particular car has also received the 3.0 battery upgrade. This being one of the major advantages of electric performance vehicles; as battery tech improves, so older cars can be given renewed relevance. Swapping the supercharged V8 from an F-Type SVR into an E-Type would be blasphemous, not to mention incredibly tricky; replacing the batteries in something like the Tesla is just common sense.
As simple as it sounds, though, it isn't cheap. In exchange for a 35% (100 miles or so) increase in range, Tesla requires $30,000 (around £21,000) worth of your hard earned cash. And that's without any profit, the manufacturer claiming that it offers the upgrade to owners at cost, with the high price a result of the bespoke nature of the batteries required versus the units mass produced for the Model S.
Still, aside from being an indication of what a potential 4.0 upgrade might set you back, you needn't worry about that, it's already been done. Leaving you to enjoy 340 miles of charge-free driving. £80,000 isn't an inconsiderable amount of money, but should Tesla turn into the market conquering manufacturer of tomorrow that its supporters hope it will, a rare right-hand drive version of the company's first car - of which fewer than 2,500 examples were sold - will surely be worth its weight in gold. Or batteries. Whichever's heavier.
SPECIFICATION - TESLA ROADSTER SPORT
Engine: AC induction motor
Transmission: single-speed, fixed gear
Power (hp): 288
Torque (lb ft): 295
First registered: 2012
Recorded mileage: 3,000
Price new: £101,950
Yours for: £79,950
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