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  (Source: Tesla Motors)

  (Source: Tesla Motors)
Tesla Motors laughs at naysayers and begins production of its first all-electric vehicle.

Naysayers have lampooned the all-electric Tesla Roadster ever since DailyTech first covered the sleek two-seater in late 2006. Some balked at the $100,000 price tag, others complained about the vehicle being vaporware, and many laughed at the idea of "temporary transmissions" while production units were still being developed.

Despite the whispers from an increasingly rowdy audience, Tesla persisted. In late January, the company announced that it passed all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The company also noted at the time that regular production for the vehicle would commence on March 17.

Today, Tesla announced that production began for its Roadster. The company is slowly churning out Roadsters and hopes to build as many as 100 units per month by early 2009.

According to Tesla Motors President and CEO Ze'ev Drori, the company's main focus now is to expand the "sales and service arena marked by the opening of our Los Angeles store and Menlo Park store in the near future."

To the naysayers, Drori adds, "With this milestone, the Tesla Roadster is the only zero emission electric vehicle in production today -- this is in stark contrast to the others who only talk about their future plans. Tesla’s remarkable achievement validates the vision, ingenuity, hard work and commitment of Tesla’s employees."

It is truly a great achievement for Tesla Motors and the automotive industry in general. Hopefully for Tesla, the public's eagerness to learn more about the all-electric Roadster will translate into sales for more mainstream future models including a rumored sedan and crossover utility vehicle.

For those that haven't been following the Tesla Roadster's development, the vehicle features a 3-phase, 4-pole electric motor which develops 248 HP. It can accelerate to 60 MPH in under 4 seconds with its two-speed transmission -- early production models are equipped with a temporary one-speed transmission which limits 0-60 times to 5.7 seconds. Top speed for the Tesla Roadster is 125 MPH and its can travel 220 miles on a single charge. It takes roughly 3.5 hours to charge the lithium-ion battery pack.

The 2008 Roadster production is already sold out as Tesla Motors took reservations for over 900 units. The company is now accepting orders for 2009 models which will hopefully come with the production two-speed transmission already installed.

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I've driven this car!
By timmiser on 3/17/2008 8:34:16 PM , Rating: 5
That's right. I've driven this bad boy. Took it up to 125 MPH easy. The crazy thing that you must get used to is the silence of the electric motor. You hear the wind and road noise and any tire squeak but that's it! The acceleration is very good also. The only little issue is that I had was when I was racing 4 other (gas powered) cars and I crashed it into a light pole at over 100 MPH but to my surprise, there wasn't a single scratch on it. I lost the race but in a rematch 5 minutes later, I was finally able to pull off the victory over those other cars.


RE: I've driven this car!
By Brandon Hill on 3/17/2008 8:35:36 PM , Rating: 3
Damnit, you had me up until "I was racing 4 other"


RE: I've driven this car!
By jhinoz on 3/17/2008 9:07:11 PM , Rating: 2
So you're the STIG?

RE: I've driven this car!
By Brandon Hill on 3/17/2008 9:12:13 PM , Rating: 2
The Stig would be listening to power ballads or self-help tapes while driving instead of the "eery silence".

RE: I've driven this car!
By jhinoz on 3/17/2008 9:17:20 PM , Rating: 2
If the stig was driving all he'd hear would be the screetch of burning rubber.

Maybe they'll do a "star in an electric car" instead of the "star in a cheap car" bit?

RE: I've driven this car!
By ThisSpaceForRent on 3/18/2008 9:14:00 AM , Rating: 2
God I love Top Gear. I like to sit in my living room naked, covered in used motor oil and watch the show. Well, not really, but still an awesome show. Best car show ever imo.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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