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The Tesla Roadster Sport offers superior performance to the base model Roadster and will begin production in 2011.  (Source: Tesla Motors)
Roadster Sport debuts, merges performance with green-tech

Tesla Motors made news late last year when a number of its Michigan employees discovered they were to be laid off through a posting on a business site in which company representatives discussed the closing of their plant and release of its employees.  While the end of the year brought bad news, 2008 was still a good year in Tesla for some respects as it saw production of its Roadster vehicle begin in March.

A leaner, more consolidated Tesla Motors greeted the press at the North American International Auto Show this week.  The company had big news, announcing a new vehicle, the Tesla Roadster Sport.

The Roadster Sport melds the environmental performance of an all-electric, zero on-car emissions vehicle with the on-road performance of a high-end sports car, and achieves impressive results.  The Roadster Sport can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 3.7 seconds, two tenths of a second faster than the standard Roadster.

In order to speed up the Sport, Tesla created a hand-wound stator and increased winding density for lower resistance and higher peak torque.  The stator is the stationary coil in an electric motor in which the rotor, attached to the drive shaft spins.  The Roadster Sport also adds Yokohama’s Ultra High Performance tires, and an improved tunable suspension with adjustable dampers and anti-roll bars. 

In the U.S. the Roadster Sport will have a base model price of $128,500, and it will also sell in Europe where it will retail for €112,000 (excluding VAT). 

Michael van der Sande, Tesla’s senior vice president of global sales, service and marketing touted the Roadster Sports performance, stating, "This car can beat nearly anything in its price class – yet it is twice as efficient as compact hybrid sedans.  If you refuse to compromise on performance or the environment, the Roadster Sport is your only option."

CEO, Chairman and Product Architect Elon Musk lauds, "The Roadster Sport embodies Tesla’s spirit of continuous improvement.  The Roadster has been a great success, but no one at this company remains satisfied with the status quo."

The Roadster Sport uses Tesla Motors' patented powertrain.  It seats two passengers and production is planned to begin in 2011.

Tesla Motors says that it has shipped 150 Roadsters, thus far, and that 1,100 people are still on a waiting list.  However, the wait may be a fortunate one, as waiting customers now have the option of upgrading to a Roadster Sport.

The Roadster and Roadster Sport will go head to head next year with GM's Chevy Volt, which will debut at a much lower price point (around $40,000 before tax credit).

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RE: This is Vaporware
By Sunrise089 on 1/13/2009 2:25:20 PM , Rating: 3
This is almost the definition of vaporware. They built a few loss-leader examples to send to magazines (newsflash: the early magazine cars were an outright scam - they had them perform performance tests, and then announced the transmission was being redesigned immediately afterwords) and to a few well-connected buyers, with no business case for being able to turn a profit with reasonable volumes. While I don't like any bailouts, at least Ford and GM can claim that the market/their competitors changed. Tesla is asking for a bailout from day 1. There lesson is IF YOU NEED GOVERNMENT HELP BEFORE YOU'VE SOLD A YEAR'S WORTH OF UNITS, YOUR BUSINESS PLAN ISN'T SOUND. :)

A great comparison is some of the prices thrown around in the Very Light Jet market. Some companies promised prices much lower than established players thought possible, and had a business case that only made sense if they could achieve impossible economics of scale. The market for light jets just wasn't large enough, and neither is the market for slow, expensive electric cars.

As for the purpose of the car - let's see - $120,000, 2-seater, and every advertisement focuses on the performance (of course only at lower speeds). To me, that makes it a competitor to other fast, expensive 2-seaters.

I think the comparison with Madoff is valid (though of course he caused more total harm) in as much that both parties had no intention of ever being able to deliver on their promises. Both just hoped to ride the wave of false success until things caught up with them. The fawning press Tesla gets is merely prolonging the inevitable.

RE: This is Vaporware
By Spuke on 1/13/2009 2:55:53 PM , Rating: 2
The fawning press Tesla gets is merely prolonging the inevitable.
I like your analysis but you know someone's going to call you a hater. I've even said that Tesla is a startup carmaker and are more likely to fail than to succeed. The car biz is tough to enter even with a slam dunk product. And I don't consider the Roadster a slam dunk.

RE: This is Vaporware
By noirsoft on 1/13/2009 3:13:56 PM , Rating: 2
Vaporware is announcements without a real product. Tesla has shipped cars to customers, and has a showroom full of real, working cars (most of which are sold) -- I make no claims about their viability as a company long-term, but the product is not vapor.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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