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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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Must be great for city diving.
By Warren21 on 3/17/2008 11:27:21 PM , Rating: 2
Although acceleration is limited by it's current first-gen transmission, the amount of torque theoretically available from electric engines is amazing. Imagine getting smoked off the red-light by this thing: a 'glorified golf-cart' (generalized redneck opinion... completely untrue, however).

Also, the way gas pricing is headed the plug-n-play capability is great. Were it not for the high-price, I'd definitely buy one. I'll have to settle on wanting one, instead...

Here's to hoping the electric car has reversed it's 20th-century death sentence.

RE: Must be great for city diving.
By Spuke on 3/18/2008 12:57:54 AM , Rating: 2
Once the larger manufacturers get in on this, the prices will fall and adoption will be much higher. Right now, it's just a niche car.

RE: Must be great for city diving.
By djc208 on 3/18/2008 8:04:37 AM , Rating: 2
I think the all electric cars will be a niche for quite a while due to range and recharge time limitations.

I think the progression is/will be: the parallel hybrids you we have now (prius, Camry, etc.) are the first step.

The series hybrids (Chevy Volt) are the next step. The engine can be purpose built which improves effeciency and emissions with the benefits of the electric drive train.

This may/will change over to the fuel cell eventually since all that has to happen it to remove the engine/generator and replace it with a fuel cell stack.

Eventually some combination of all electric and hybrid electric vehicles will become the norm, the wild card here being battery technology. If something big comes along to reduce recharge times and improve range then we could see a very short time spent in these other phases.

RE: Must be great for city diving.
By molgenit on 3/18/2008 8:11:13 AM , Rating: 3
The 220 mile range and 3.5 hour re-charge tome look pretty good to me. This model (in cheaper varaitions of course)may accelerate the time line.

RE: Must be great for city diving.
By molgenit on 3/18/2008 8:12:53 AM , Rating: 2
time not tome, got to really preview the preview ;)

RE: Must be great for city diving.
By jRaskell on 3/18/2008 12:36:33 PM , Rating: 2
IMO, battery powered electric cars will be a niche. Electric cars won't come into their own until they're able to switch over to capacitor based storage solutions. this will provide them a number of benefits over batteries:

1. With an adequate recharge station, a large scale capacitor could be recharged in a matter of minutes.

2. Caps can be recharged literally millions of times, compared to batteries thousands of time.

3. Caps can take full advantage of regenerative technologies. Batteries slow recharge abilities limits how much power can be recaptured from such technologies.

I personally don't see fuel cells as being the technology to move to for commuter vehicles, or even just vehicles in general. Establishing the infrastructure for supplying the fuel would be far more expensive than just setting up electric charging stations. Hydrogen could certainly still be used as a source of energy, but in Power Plants, converted to electricity, and distributed for use in electrically powered devices (vehicles included).

All that being said, what should be done is rarely what actually gets done. The sad truth is, the Political arena is far more influential on this stuff than simple logic and reason.

By FITCamaro on 3/18/2008 9:21:34 AM , Rating: 1
I'd rather buy a $35,000 car and be able to buy gas for the next 10 years. Then buy another $35,000 car and buy whatever fuel it uses for 10 more years. Then I might be even with the cost of this car.

By theapparition on 3/18/2008 10:29:57 AM , Rating: 2
Imagine getting smoked off the red-light by this thing:

Not going to happen to me, ;)
Even for about the same amount of money.

I'll say this. I love the gas engine, I do. I love the sound. Nothing compares to the roar of a big-block engine with headers flowing through a quality exhaust. The sound is soul-ful. Just so.....American.

Then you look at the complexity, the problems, the smell, the emmissions, etc. and the gas engine (or diesel) doesn't look so good anymore. Kind of like the wild nymph you had fun with for a few months but now you realize you have to live with her. With that in mind, electric cars will be the future, but you'll always want that little fun on the side. There's not much fun with electric cars.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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