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
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
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.