Just how similar are the Lotus Elise and Tesla Roadster?

By John Webber
Jan 10, 2024 | Lotus, Elise, Tesla, roadster | Posted in Buyer's Guides , Features | From the Oct. 2021 issue | Never miss an article

Photography by John Webber

Okay, let’s get this straight: Contrary to what you may have heard, the original Tesla Roadster, produced from 2008 to early 2012, was not an electrified Lotus Elise. 

Yes, these cars closely resemble each other and share some parts, but under the skin they’re worlds apart. In a 2008 blog entry, then-Tesla VP Darryl Siry, tongue firmly in cheek, put it …

This content is available for GRM+ members and Grassroots Motorsports magazine subscribers only.

You can read it for free in 24 days or subscribe to GRM+ to read right now.

Subscribe now

Already a member?

Login to read

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Lotus, Elise, Tesla and roadster articles.
calteg Dork
8/12/21 8:43 a.m.

I really, really want Fred's orange polo

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/12/21 9:11 a.m.

I'd completely forgotten about the Tesla Roadster, but I still think they look awesome. Let me know when their price drops under $10k and I might actually be interested. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
8/12/21 10:11 a.m.

Right? Sadly, the Teslas are already appreciating. sad

Gzwg New Reader
8/12/21 10:35 a.m.

I'd love to get my hands on some used Tesla Seats, to see if they are a bit more plush than the Lotus ones. They do fit me pretty good, but they are quite hard. 

350z247 Reader
8/12/21 10:40 a.m.

I would love a K swapped Elise or Exige; that would be quite the track weapon.

crankwalk (Forum Supporter)
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/12/21 1:16 p.m.

This was one of the most interesting articles in a while. Love the owner swap comparisons.

Kudos to Mr Webber.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/12/21 1:26 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

IIRC they're $100k+ cars now.

Now, the Mars Roadster, that one's the most valuable. I look forward to the Classic Motorsports article when it comes up for sale. As is, where is.

Sonolin New Reader
8/12/21 11:35 p.m.

$100k for an electric elise? Ouch, I'll take an (or two?) exige S thank you very much :)

BA5 GRM+ Memberand Reader
8/13/21 6:58 a.m.

Very cool article.  

I wonder if you could swap the front clamshells.  I kind of like the Tesla's front end better.  I wonder if you could put it on an Elise?

P3PPY GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/13/21 8:20 p.m.

Are those factory Elise wheels? I like the look of them a lot. 

You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners