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Tesla Roadster

Tesla Model S
The EV sports car is no more

The car that changed the way most of us think about electric vehicles was the Tesla Roadster. The car has a nice driving range that made it usable in the real world for many drivers and had serious performance making the car appealing to enthusiasts. It also just so happens to be a quite attractive car.

However, production of the Roadster is finally coming to an end. The Roadster may be going away, but Tesla isn’t leaving the performance EV world. The Roadster is retiring so that the new and cheaper Model S can be the central focus of the company. The Model S is certainly not in the same league as the Roadster and it will be sad to see the Roadster go.

Tesla's Khobi Brooklyn said in an emailed statement to FastCompany, "The Roadster accomplished everything we asked of it--it served as a catalyst for the EV industry, and it has allowed us to refine electric technology for future, and more affordable EVs. The Roadster proved that EVs can outperform traditional combustion vehicles while producing zero emissions."

The Model S is a larger four-door car that is nowhere near as performance-oriented as the Roadster was. The Model S seats four comfortably and will come in three trim levels at roughly $50,000, $60,000, and $70,000 after rebates.

Tesla is expecting the more practical Model S to sell in much higher volumes than the narrowly-focused Roadster. There were only 1,650 of the Tesla Roadsters ever sold globally as of the end of April 2011.

But don’t shed any tears for the Roadster just yet, Tesla has a follow up car up in the works. Brooklyn said, "The Roadster will always be the cornerstone of Tesla, and we look forward to bringing back a version of the supercar that takes full advantage of our advanced electric powertrain in the next several years."

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By EJ257 on 6/24/2011 8:15:24 PM , Rating: 1
at roughly $50,000, $60,000, and $70,000 after rebates

I'm sorry but if you have enough disposable income to buy this car you shouldn't get a rebate. A Prius sure but not something that costs $70K.

RE: Rebates?
By CharonPDX on 6/24/2011 8:29:41 PM , Rating: 2
While in general I agree, $50,000 after rebates makes the S at the very highest end of "regular" car range, once you take into account lifetime cost.

Yeah, at least for now, you still need to be fairly well off to afford one in the first place (I have a friend about to buy a HOUSE for less than this car.) But as it stands already, extremely large/expensive SUVs get tax breaks, too. (They qualify as "commercial" vehicles, so aren't taxed as highly as slightly-lesser vehicles.)

RE: Rebates?
By headbox on 6/25/2011 2:47:15 AM , Rating: 1
a house SHOULD be cheaper than a modern car. It's just concrete, wood, wires, and plumbing that just about anyone can build if they can add fractions together and read a building code book.

RE: Rebates?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/25/2011 2:49:52 AM , Rating: 3
a house SHOULD be cheaper than a modern car. It's just concrete, wood, wires, and plumbing that just about anyone can build if they can add fractions together and read a building code book.

This is a joke, right?

RE: Rebates?
By dagamer34 on 6/25/2011 9:49:38 AM , Rating: 2
What I really meant is that there is far more technology in a Tesla car than there is in a house.

RE: Rebates?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/25/2011 10:57:05 AM , Rating: 5
Technology alone doesn't or shouldn't determine price. First off, a house's value is tied into the land it's built on. Second you gotta remember, a car is about three thousand pounds worth of technology. Houses require many many more times that weight in building materials to build. Not to mention all the appliances you have to purchase to make a house livable in modern times. Labor costs too. A car can be made in a matter of hours from start to finish thanks to automated assembly. Houses take a crew of 20+ people, from a variety of disciplines, weeks to complete.

RE: Rebates?
By The0ne on 6/27/2011 4:50:26 AM , Rating: 3
Don't forget to mention that modding or improving your car or house is a bad thing too, like you know...a PS3 :)

RE: Rebates?
By SPOOFE on 6/27/2011 12:02:24 AM , Rating: 2
There is far more depreciation in a Tesla car than there is in a house. A car built right now will be laughably obsolete in thirty years; a house built right now will, outside of extreme circumstances/accidents, be just as good in a few decades.

RE: Rebates?
By hughlle on 6/25/2011 7:34:46 AM , Rating: 2
And can find someone to sell them an affordable plot of land suitable for construction... :D lands a dime a dozen acres though right?

RE: Rebates?
By SPOOFE on 6/27/2011 12:03:29 AM , Rating: 2
Land that people want, however, is pretty rare and pricey.

If you take a thousand dollar bill to some parts of downtown Tokyo, and place that bill on the ground, it wouldn't pay for the land it covers. :D

RE: Rebates?
By Jedi2155 on 6/26/2011 3:45:35 PM , Rating: 2
I really hate how everyone is referring to this as tax REBATES while they are Tax CREDITS . You are only getting money back you already paid to our dear old Uncle Sam.

RE: Rebates?
By Solandri on 6/26/2011 6:55:36 PM , Rating: 2
They're the same thing, the only difference is a slight time delay.

With a tax rebate, you pay your entire taxes first, then the IRS sends you a check back for the rebate amount.

With a tax credit, you subtract the rebate amount before you pay your taxes.

In both cases, you can't be paid more than how much you owe in taxes that year. (There's also the deduction/exemption, which is a reduction in taxable income, and thus is worth less per $ than a refund or credit since your tax rate is never 100%.)

I think you're trying to compare to an incentive or subsidy. There, you get the money (or the government pays for part of the purchase price) regardless of how much you owe in taxes. If you were unemployed all year and owed no taxes, you could still get an incentive or subsidy, but a tax rebate or credit would be worthless to you.

RE: Rebates?
By Ristogod on 6/27/2011 9:41:59 AM , Rating: 2
That thought mentality is thoughtless and irrational.

Do you mean to tell me that if 4 people decide to pitch in on a pizza to split that the richest guy in the group is required to pay more despite he's getting the same number of slices?

The idea that rich people should be paying more than poor people is ridiculous. Financial responsibility should not be something that is excused to the poor or lazy.

Also, I don't think the government should be giving rebates to anyone, Prius or Tesla. It's not the responsibility of the government to help people buy cars.

The EV Sports car is no more
By YashBudini on 6/24/2011 4:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, this is the first time I've seen something that had a shorter lifespan than a SOTA PC video card.

RE: The EV Sports car is no more
By Jedi2155 on 6/26/2011 3:48:27 PM , Rating: 2
It was sold for longer than the Delorean DMC-12 which only had a 2 year production run.

RE: The EV Sports car is no more
By SPOOFE on 6/27/2011 12:06:27 AM , Rating: 2
Pfft, pure lies and horsepoopie. I once saw a documentary about how they had Deloreans in 1885.

By Hyperion1400 on 6/27/2011 7:06:06 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, there is a company in Texas that builds new Delorean's. Granted, they cost 40k, but it's a freak'n Delorean!!!

By BZDTemp on 6/24/2011 8:48:35 PM , Rating: 2
No that it matters as Top Gear rarely cares for boring cars so it's like they will be interested.

By Noya on 6/27/2011 6:34:51 AM , Rating: 1
Top Gear is for chavs and idiots.

By Hyperion1400 on 6/27/2011 7:08:17 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, someone's gettin' a rate down!

They're still selling it
By Solandri on 6/24/2011 5:14:37 PM , Rating: 2
I saw a lot of contradictory statements about how well it was selling so I looked it up. From their May 2011 Quarterly SEC filing:

We have a supply agreement with Lotus to purchase 2,400 Tesla Roadster vehicles or gliders, and through March 31, 2011, we have delivered approximately 1,650 vehicles to customers. We currently intend to manufacture the majority of our gliders with Lotus for our current generation Tesla Roadster until December 2011, and we intend to use these gliders in the manufacturing of the Tesla Roadster to both fulfill orders placed in 2011 as well as new orders placed in 2012 until our supply of gliders is exhausted. Accordingly, we intend to offer a limited number of Tesla Roadsters for sale in 2012. We currently anticipate that sales of the Tesla Roadster in North America may end by the end of 2011.

Make of it what you will. Next quarterly filing is first week of August.

Performance EV World?
By EricMartello on 6/24/11, Rating: -1
RE: Performance EV World?
By Captain Orgazmo on 6/24/2011 6:33:42 PM , Rating: 4
Absolutely agree with you, as I have posted on previous articles:

Electric vehicles are a conscience-soothing luxury for the modern bohemian type.

The North American electrical grid is aging, coal fired plants are being taken off-line because of the climate change hysteria, shale gas drilling is being banned due to problems both real and imagined, nuclear power has an unfairly poor reputation, wind power is a pipe dream, solar tech is still in its infancy, and far too little research is being done to commercialize fusion power.

First we need to solve our future energy problems; all else will follow.

RE: Performance EV World?
By Shig on 6/24/2011 9:27:35 PM , Rating: 2
I'd rather have an electric car being charged with coal fired power than a ICE car with imported oil.

RE: Performance EV World?
By Spuke on 6/25/2011 12:20:59 AM , Rating: 2
I'd rather have an electric car being charged with coal fired power than a ICE car with imported oil.
You got something against Mexicans?

RE: Performance EV World?
By Solandri on 6/26/2011 1:01:02 AM , Rating: 2
For those who don't get what Spuke is referring to, the biggest supplier of U.S. oil imports are Canada and Mexico.

That said, oil is still a global market. So us buying from Canada and Mexico still means the price of oil goes up by the same amount, and the less-savory countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia make just as much money as if we'd bought mostly from them.

RE: Performance EV World?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/25/2011 1:54:55 AM , Rating: 1
I think Top Gear pretty much exposed the vaunted "performance" advantage of the Tesla. The motors overheat after 2 laps or you only get a 55 mile range per charge when "performance" driven. That's terrible efficiency. Absolutely flogging an ICE will still get you far more mileage on a single tank. The car is also way too heavy for it's size, and combined with the low rolling resistance tires, handles like an utter PIG.

RE: Performance EV World?
By flyingpants1 on 6/25/2011 6:13:16 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, that top gear episode was a lie. Nice try..

RE: Performance EV World?
By BZDTemp on 6/25/2011 11:00:04 AM , Rating: 2
How was it a lie?

It seems clear that if you drive the Tesla as sports car and not as a Prius then there is a major issue - range. And that the problem means using the "sports car" for a spirited ride or a track day is problematic at best.

Tell me how going a ride for fun while having to worry about the range limit is not a major issue? Or how it's not an issue going to a track day only having to spend most of it in a pit garage charging the batteries?

Of course there is an upside with regards to the track day issue. Usually one brings extra brake pads and wonder if new tires will be needed in the end of the day - neither is an issue when you gonna spend most of the day watching other people drive while sitting in the pit.

RE: Performance EV World?
By SPOOFE on 6/27/2011 12:10:38 AM , Rating: 2
I love driving through the Santa Monica mountains or the Los Padres Nat'l Forest (can't do much up in Angeles; fires destroyed a lot of roads a couple years ago and there's no budget to fix); I can only imagine the nightmare of Supercar's batteries going dead when I'm twenty miles away from cell phone reception. And then it starts to snow... :(

RE: Performance EV World?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/25/2011 11:13:15 AM , Rating: 2
A lie? How do you figure? I'm well aware of Tesla's pathetic lawsuit, that's just sour grapes. Top Gear's job isn't to educate the public about the Tesla or give it good PR, it's to evaluate cars in a performance oriented fashion with some humor and entertainment thrown in. Tesla's argument's are absurd. Of course you can get the 211 mile range is you drive it like a hypermiler. Top Gear was TRACK RACING the car. It's not a "lie" to say they got 55 miles from a charge in those conditions. Again, their job isn't to hype a product and be 100% positive.

Tesla also says they "lied" about the brakes failing. Look, a major brake component DID fail. And while technically that would still leave the driver with some working brakes, they were much less effective. I don't think that's a good thing to have happen.

The review was actually more positive than not. It's a shame that Tesla is so engrossed with it's PR mentality that it cannot accept someone pointing out the realities of EV technology. And feels they have to sue to silence critics, even when they mostly lavish praise on the car. I applaud BBC for refusing to bow down and take the episode down. We simply cannot allow corporations to bully media and entertainment artists by suppressing opposing views and facts.

RE: Performance EV World?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/25/2011 11:32:37 AM , Rating: 3

This is Top Gear's side of the story and lawsuit. It all looks pretty reasonable and on the level to me. Granted I'm not a TV producer or executive, but I find it hard to argue with such a logical and factual presentation of the realities of TV show production.

For every point of contention that Tesla is making, Top Gear has a factual, logical, and VERIFIABLE counter point. I'm not sure about British law, but to me, this seems like a slam dunk. Tesla will lose and lose badly.

RE: Performance EV World?
By Chernobyl68 on 6/27/2011 5:48:58 PM , Rating: 2
Staging of scenes to make the car look less the 3 guys pushing it back to the garage, when it never actually ran out of charge. the 55 mile number was a calculated range, not an actual distance driven. If all you are going to do is drive it on a track, why are they bothering with range anyway? They seemed happy with the acceleration, speed, and handling.

RE: Performance EV World?
By EricMartello on 6/28/2011 6:56:51 AM , Rating: 1
They TEST the car on the track to evaluate its performance. It DID run out of a charge while they were testing, but they had two cars. It is no secret that the amps drawn by an electric motor increase exponentially under load, so unless you drive it like a granny you're going to get terrible range.

EVs are a not a solution to anything and the morons that believe the propaganda and paid-for PR that has been keeping idiot VC cash flowing into Tesla's coffers deserve the turd they'll end up with.

Even the Plymouth turbine car was more practical than anything Tesla ever fact, if I were Nikola Tesla I'd be rolling over in my grave knowing that my name is being dragged through the mud like it is being associated with that fail car "marketing company".

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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