This is a Tesla Motors Model S. Well, most of it, at least.
Sitting in pride of place at the new Sydney showroom, the ‘skateboard’ is a Model S rolling chassis with suspension, electric motor, and almost all of the car’s critical components. All you need to do is fit a battery and go. Oh, and some seats.
The rolling chassis, which you’ll actually find in any Tesla Motors showroom, demonstrates the absolute simplicity of the Model S — and by extension, any all-electric car out there. There’s really not that much going on.
That’s especially true in the centre of the chassis, where you’d expect to find at least a transmission tunnel, gearbox and diff, fuel tank and other parts on a petrol- or diesel-burning car. On the Model S, the centre of the chassis is empty space, where on the road-going car a 7000-cell battery pack sits extremely low to the ground, significantly lowering its centre of gravity.
Up the front, there’s a huge amount of empty space as well. No petrol engine here — just room for the Tesla ‘frunk’ — or front trunk, if you prefer. (In Australia, we like ‘froot’, for front boot.) The air suspension on this particular car sits quite inboard and quite low down, so there’s hardly any suspension towers to speak of here.
Down the back is where all the action happens, though. That’s where you’ll find the rear-mounted 416hp (310kW) direct-drive electric motor, inverter and all the other go-fast bits. The entire assembly is extraordinarily compact, low-slung, and even on the 2200-plus kilogram Model S you’ll hit 100km/h from a standing start in a really impressively low 4.4 seconds.
This rolling chassis is on display at the Tesla Motors showroom in Artarmon on Sydney’s north shore, which will very soon be open to the public. Until you can visit it yourself and see this genuinely fascinating engineering porn in person, just feast your eyes on a few more photos.
Oh, and here’s one we prepared earlier.