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Frontal crash test.  (Source: Tesla Motors)

Side crash test.  (Source: Tesla Motors)

Aftermatch of rear crash test.  (Source: Tesla Motors)

  (Source: Tesla Motors)
Tesla Motors' highly anticipated Roadster comes closer to fruition

Tesla Motors' Roadster has been in development for quite some time now, but it appears that there is finally light at the end of the tunnel for the project team.

Malcolm Powell, Tesla Motors' Vice President of Vehicle Integration, announced yesterday that The Tesla Roadster has passed all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and is legal for sale in all 50 states.

"Thanks to great design, structural analysis, build quality and well run test management, we have successfully completed the entire suite of dynamic impact testing to meet both FMVSS and, as importantly, our own very strenuous internal performance targets," said Powell. "This is a great achievement for Tesla; it takes us another (major) step closer to our final goal and is another demonstration that EVs are as real as any other vehicle on the road."

The Tesla Roadster performed admirably in front, rear and side crash tests. "I always find it interesting when people say, 'Isn't it dangerous carrying all those batteries around?' Well I don’t know about you, but I’d rather carry a load of relatively inert battery cells than 10 gallons of highly volatile, flammable liquid," added Powell. "I will not comment on how other companies design their vehicles but at Tesla, we have paid great attention to the integrity of the design for crash management."

In addition, the vehicle passed basic rear view mirror, lighting and windshield defogging/defrosting tests.

Production of the $100,000 roadster will begin on March 17 although the first models to roll off the assembly line will come equipped with "temporary" transmissions.

Tesla claims that the temporary transmissions are of a design that has been road tested more than 100,000 miles, so owners shouldn't be too concerned about reliability or safety. Performance, however, does take a nose dive -- the first production models will only accelerate 0-60 in 5.7 seconds instead of 4 seconds as previously promised.

The temporary transmissions will be replaced with production-level hardware at Tesla Motors’ expense when it is available.

The Tesla Roadster is loosely based on the aluminum-intensive Lotus Elise and features an electric motor powered by 6,381 lithium-ion cells. The projected range for the two-seater is just over 200 miles.

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RE: We need the rich now more than ever...
By Spuke on 1/25/2008 12:19:47 PM , Rating: 2
Besides, a Tesla is way cheaper than a Ferrari!
In that price range, price is no object so the cheaper price won't be a factor at all. Performance and prestige will be. And like I said in another post, the exclusivity of the Tesla may be enough to stir up some buyers. Now if the service is bad or the car doesn't live up to it's claims, the Tesla will have a short life.

RE: We need the rich now more than ever...
By masher2 on 1/25/2008 12:37:33 PM , Rating: 2
> "In that price range, price is no object..."

Err, I can't agree with that. The market for a $100K roadster is many times larger than a $500K one. The demand curve drop off is pretty much exponential.

Production runs on say an $80K Cadillac XLR run about 5000/yr. The Porsche 911 (which can cost well over $100K) runs over 10,000/yr I believe.

A Ferrari Enzo, though, is what, 300 units total? Lamborghini's best-selling model hits some 1,500/year.

RE: We need the rich now more than ever...
By Spuke on 1/25/2008 4:28:51 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't consider the Enzo or cars like that "production" cars. It's a limited run and then the model is discontinued. Whereas, cars like the 911 and F430 stay in production until a new car comes to replace them. Buyers in that object are not concerned with cost. There are other factors involved than just money when buying a car like the Enzo.

For example, many exotic manufacturers only sell cars such as the Enzo to long time customers, friends of the manufacturer, or other qualifiers. Most of the time it's just a matter of not getting on the list in time, not owning previous versions of the car make, or simply not wanting one.

RE: We need the rich now more than ever...
By masher2 on 1/25/2008 5:51:07 PM , Rating: 2
> "Buyers in that object are not concerned with cost. "

As a past owner of a car priced within spitting distance of this Tesla, I can tell you price was certainly a factor...and I certainly wasn't debating between it and a Ferrari. In fact, if the dealer hadn't knocked nearly $10K off the price, I wouldn't have bit at all.

In any case, if we're arguing over how well the Tesla will do-- they sold out their initial production run almost before they announced it. That pretty much answers the question right there.

By Spuke on 1/25/2008 6:01:31 PM , Rating: 2
In any case, if we're arguing over how well the Tesla will do-- they sold out their initial production run almost before they announced it.
Not arguing over that. They'll sell just because they're exclusive and being green is the "in" thing.

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

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