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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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"only zero emission electric vehicle"
By Flunk on 3/17/2008 11:36:06 PM , Rating: 1
"only zero emission electric vehicle"?

What about golf carts, low speed electric vehicles, electric trains, trolleys, subways, etc. I think maybe you mean only 2 seater zero emission sports car.

Oh wait, what about the emissions from the generation of the power? If your power comes from coal you could conceivably be worse off than a gasoline-powered car.

RE: "only zero emission electric vehicle"
By Squilliam on 3/18/2008 12:51:53 AM , Rating: 4
Power plants are vastly more efficient than the internal combustion engine, circa 20-25% to over 50%. The power distribution network is more efficient than getting gas from a gas station. The emission controls can be much greater at a power plant too, due to centralisation. I would put the roadster at, at least twice as energy efficient as a Prius.

RE: "only zero emission electric vehicle"
By Spuke on 3/18/2008 12:56:07 AM , Rating: 2
ICE's can range from below 20% to over 40% efficiency. It depends on the engine. Some are just better built and better engineered than others.

RE: "only zero emission electric vehicle"
By djc208 on 3/18/2008 7:27:05 AM , Rating: 3
40% outside of a diesel is pushing it, and even with an oil burner that's high. But that's also asuming optimum conditions, the problem with a standard gas engine is that it has to operate all over it's RPM range with various loads. That peak efficiency is going to be at a certain engine speed and load which ideally the transmission fights to keep as much as possible but then we usually ruin it by slowing down or speeding up even just cruising on the highway.

Then there is idleing and coasting losses which is just wasted energy.

RE: "only zero emission electric vehicle"
By Calin on 3/18/2008 7:47:56 AM , Rating: 2
And waiting in traffic with the air conditioning working, and so on

By Spuke on 3/18/2008 7:16:17 PM , Rating: 2
And waiting in traffic with the air conditioning working, and so on
How much of a decrease in thermal efficiency happens in this situation?

By theapparition on 3/18/2008 12:03:06 PM , Rating: 2
There is some debate on what actually requires more energy, including the cost of mining for raw materials and manufacturing of hazardous by-products (batteries). In the end, though, I think that electric cars will be the future.

And I like another point you brought up, that centralizing power generation means tighter controls on emmissions. However, for electric cars to become mainstream, we need massive changes in our power infrastructure to support the load.

RE: "only zero emission electric vehicle"
By MAIA on 3/18/2008 10:35:39 AM , Rating: 2
What about the batteries ?

How many "emissions" were needed to build those ?

By jRaskell on 3/18/2008 12:21:13 PM , Rating: 2
If the battery is good for 1,000 charges (and I believe it's actually more than that, but let's be conservative), at 220miles per charge, that's 220,000 miles before you need to replace the battery.

220,000 miles is going to be about 44 oil changes, assuming 5000 miles between oil changes. At 5 quarts per oil change, that's 220 quarts of oil you'd consume in an ICE for every battery consumed in an electric car.

From an emmissions/production standpoint, it doesn't really look like either vehicle design is exactly leagues ahead of the other.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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