BMW ActiveE versus Tesla Roadster

The Long, Hot Summer of 2012 – Part 1

The plan for this summer was for Michael and I to switch cars as he was going to be driving more miles per day than me. He’ll be taking the ActiveE most week days – we might as well put those extra miles on the ActiveE as that has unlimited mileage. That means I’ll be driving the Tesla Roadster – this will be interesting. It will also be interesting for Michael to see how he gets on with the ActiveE and if he can survive not driving the Tesla Roadster on a regular basis. Maybe I’ll let him blog about his experience… after all he is my trusty sidekick!

Let’s do a quick (it will be quick) comparison of the BMW ActiveE and the Tesla Roadster… Well they are both cars and both electric but that is where the comparison ends. They are such different cars to drive. The Tesla Roadster is definitely a sports car whereas the ActiveE is a more leisurely ride. I said it would be quick!

But the question is, would I choose the Tesla Roadster over the ActiveE?

For quite a while now I haven’t been a huge sports car person, the closest I’ve ever had to a sports car was an Audi TT, and that was 11 years ago. We had the first model of TT and I would have to say the best. I really don’t care for the newer TT’s and rather dislike the latest model. The TT had a slightly softer suspension than the Roadster, but still a firm ride. All our cars have had a firm suspension, it makes a huge difference when you have car sick people in the family, but, I’m drifting here… The Audi TT was the car for me, I had dreamt of owning one and was over the moon when Michael said, “Yes”. I had so much fun driving that car and was therefore very disappointed, some may even say sad, when we had to give it back after only a year. I had hoped to have it for at least three years, at least until the children couldn’t fit in the back anymore, but we made the decision to move to America and it wasn’t feasible to bring the car with us. With selling it, any desire on my part for a future sports car was gone. None would ever compare to the Audi TT – a tear rolls down my cheek.

We all know my thoughts on the ActiveE, it’s quiet, smooth to drive and oh yes, it’s still white no matter how often I wash it! BMW certainly know how to do a good paint job on their cars… it isn’t coming off or wearing thin at all! I’d have thought by now I’d be down to the steel. On the other hand the Tesla Roadster while also quiet unless accelerating (not that I accelerate quickly… most definitely not… just ask the drivers behind me!), is not quite so smooth as it has a very hard suspension but the good part – it’s silver! It doesn’t take much to make me happy!!! The noise from the Tesla is great… I’m just driving along with the windows open, hair flying everywhere, listening to the birds singing, the crickets chirping and the Tesla motor accelerating and decelerating.

Both cars are fun to drive in their own way. When we decided to do this switch, my first thought was “Oh no, back to a bumpy ride”. But I was wrong, yes the first ride is bumpy – but then I’ve been driving the ActiveE. After the first journey it just seems normal, it isn’t really bumpy and actually rides rather smoothly, well as smooth as you can get on these NJ roads – I pick my routes carefully these days to avoid as many potholes as possible! The steering at slow speeds is heavy compared to the ActiveE as it lacks any assistance – I’m going to have some super strong arms by the end of the summer, which would be why after three days of driving the Tesla I over-corrected and almost hit the curb turning into a road with the ActiveE!!!

Now we have reached the end of the swap, I’ve found that driving the Tesla Roadster is actually proving to be quite enjoyable, it’s just so responsive, like the TT. They are actually quite similar in that they are both fun to drive and handle extremely well, sticking to the road and providing lots of feedback through the steering wheel. The one big difference of course – one has an engine and the other doesn’t. Maybe there is something that does compare after all – I’m now rather interested to see what Tesla’s new roadster will be like, not sure when it will be out, maybe in a couple or three years.

The end of my long, hot summer – well that was a rather chilly two weeks in the UK and two weeks of driving my mum’s Fiat Panda. That also meant two weeks of no Electric Cars… Michael’s withdrawal symptoms were so bad that he had to take to his bed for two days! Firstly, I must say that I am grateful that my mum lets us drive her car while we are there but, oh dear, I’m not sure what the problem is with the car apart from it having an engine and needing something expensive called petrol to make it go, but, it’s so herky jerky all the time! It has an automatic transmission crossed with a manual… don’t even ask… it’s just too weird. If you drive it gently, it’s jerky, drive it firmly – still jerky, it doesn’t seem to matter how you drive it, you just can’t get it to drive smoothly. I guess at the end of the day I have been rather spoilt (and I’ll admit I’m okay with that) by driving all electric cars – so smooth, so quiet… That’s all there is, there isn’t anymore.


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