Unfortunately, my first post as a newbie is going to be a long one but I need to get this off my chest.
As an ex-Lotus engineer who is also a Tesla engineer I find a lot of this discussion really rather disappointing. I drive the Roadster regularly and wave to Elise owners and disappointingly few wave back. I am not offended or insulted by this because we are two separate vehicles made by two separate companies....we just share some DNA.
I would like to back up smicker's comment about parts compatibilty and reinforce that actually, in terms of exact same parts, there is only approx a 7% overlap. Yes, as some have suggested, on several parts there are only slight design differences but that does make them unique. You wouldn't find BMW or Toyota using a part if it was "nearly the same, we could just file it here and there to make it fit".
I meet a lot of people try to make out that the Roadster is "just an electric Elise" and that in some way it is a member of the Lotus stable. No, the reality is that Lotus is the partner of choice for anyone wanting to make lightweight structures that go fast! They are good at it and that is why Lotus was chosen. However, all the powertrain is completely Tesla despite what some 'armchair experts' might like to profess. I hear so many people saying that "Lotus did this and Lotus did that". Well, I can assure you, when it came to the powertrain components such as motor, battery, control electronics, charging, electrical safety systems it was solely Tesla and nothing to do with Lotus.
On this point, I saw a comment earlier about people thinking they know all about Tesla because they sat in one.....I couldn't agree more! It was the same when i was at lotus as it is at Tesla, there are so many people who read the mags and listen to the journalists who all of a sudden become an expert and try to tell those that work within a company about how they are wrong. Well, good luck to those people........For those on the inside it is VERY frustrating when you know the truth.
Be under no illusions, Lotus was an engineering partner during development and is a manufacturing partner during production and they are well paid for those services. In a time when Lotus cash flow was low Tesla were a very welcome source of income and continue to be so. Nobody at Tesla denies Lotus' invaluable input to the program......ask a number of Aston martin Vanquish owners whether they acknowledge that 75% of their vehicle was engineered by Lotus. I'll bet not many AMV owners even KNOW that the percentage was so high if at all. Also, how many people acknowledge that pretty much most of the chassis designs for Astons that have followed the AM Vanquish have been based on the structures designed by Lotus used on the Vanquish. Funny, you don't see Aston Martin talking about that too much now do you...at least we at Tesla acknowledge the invaluable input of Lotus.
Let's all just be happy that at least we live in a world where fun, exciting, exhilarating sports cars are allowed.....regardless of whether they have an exhaust or not! There are plenty of other people to dislike in this world....likeminded sports car enthusiast shouldn't be included. I have seen both sides of the fence and I love both Lotus and Tesla for prodcing exciting cars in a world full of anonymous Euro-boxes.
Phew, what a first post!