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Customers will need to pay more for their reserved Tesla Roadster or lose the vehicle

The sexy and all-electric Tesla Roadster was the poster child for the green car movement when first announced. This was despite the fact that the electric sports car was far outside the realm of affordability for the masses.

The struggling Tesla Motors has put its foot in another pothole on the road to green car salvation by raising the price of many of the options on its vehicle. The problem is that an unknown number of Tesla reservation holders have received letters and phone calls telling them that the deposits of up to $50,000 placed for their new electric sports cars would no longer hold their rides for them.

The problem is that the buyers who had placed deposits were told that they would need to pay more for the vehicles that they had already ordered and optioned to their liking. The price of a Roadster with the standard feature set has been increased by $6,700.

The cost of the High Performance Charger that allows owners to recharge the batteries in the Roadster in as little as 3.5-hours was increased in price to $3,000 according to Autoblog. The previously stock set of alloy wheels is now a $2,300 upgrade.

Tesla is reported to claim that the price increases on the options are needed for the company to become profitable faster. This is despite the fact that these owners had previously been told that their order was accepted and that their cars were locked for production.

There is no word on price increases for the new Tesla Roadster Sport that was recently announced.

Updated 1/21/2009

Tesla contacted DailyTech to provide an official statement on the price increase we reported yesterday.

Tesla announced a $40 million financing round in November and is not running out of cash. Rather, it is increasing options prices for at least 350 customers who have not yet taken delivery of 2008 model-year vehicles in order to improve margins on each car delivered. Healthy margins make the company more attractive to the next round of investors -- whether they're venture capitalists, shareholders or the federal government in the form of low-interest loans -- and thereby help ensure the long-term viability of the company.

Tesla is fortunate and rare among automakers today in that it has sold out its production run through October. Waiting to increase options pricing would have resulted in many months of lower margins. Fortunately, many of Tesla's early customers understand this and have been very outspoken in their support for this difficult but necessary decision. No one at Tesla made this decision lightly, and we provided customers in-depth data so they could understand why Tesla did it. Ultimately it will help keep the company viable for decades to come so we can keep longstanding customers happy and greatly expand the number of vehicles we sell.

Tesla announced a $40 million financing round in November and is not running out of cash. Rather, it is increasing options prices for at least 350 customers who have not yet taken delivery of 2008 model-year vehicles in order to improve margins on each car delivered. Healthy margins make the company more attractive to the next round of investors -- whether they're venture capitalists, shareholders or the federal government in the form of low-interest loans -- and thereby help ensure the long-term viability of the company.

Tesla is fortunate and rare among automakers today in that it has sold out its production run through October. Waiting to increase options pricing would have resulted in many months of lower margins. Fortunately, many of Tesla's early customers understand this and have been very outspoken in their support for this difficult but necessary decision. No one at Tesla made this decision lightly, and we provided customers in-depth data so they could understand why Tesla did it. Ultimately it will help keep the company viable for decades to come so we can keep longstanding customers happy and greatly expand the number of vehicles we sell.



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RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By quiksilvr on 1/20/2009 1:43:33 PM , Rating: 3
Um...NO. If you actually read the article it states:
"Zero to 60 mph transpires in 3.9 seconds, claims Tesla, and we believe it. (We recorded 4.4 seconds on a wet road with the old two-speed transmission in our unofficial first test.)"


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By Spuke on 1/20/2009 1:53:43 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
"Zero to 60 mph transpires in 3.9 seconds, claims Tesla, and we believe it.
Um YEAH! That 3.9 sec 0-60 was NOT tested. Any car company can claim any number for performance. Hard, independent numbers are the only one's that count. I don't care what C&D believes, they TESTED the car and it got 4.4 seconds (not exactly slow BTW). And, more importantly, Viditors claim that the Tesla is so much faster than the Porsche and Ferrari is blatantly false. Hell, the 911 Carrera is cheaper and was the RWD drive version and it was STILL quicker in TESTING (not claiming or believing) than the Tesla.

Base prices
Porsche 911 Carrera: $75,600
Tesla Roadster: $109,000


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By Reclaimer77 on 1/20/2009 2:19:59 PM , Rating: 1
Good post.

I don't agree with the premise behind arguing over 0-60 times though.

0-60 times obviously don't tell the whole story about the comparative value in a gimmick electric roadster and a traditional sports car.

Especially, as you so succinctly pointed out, the alarming cost of the Tesla. $100k + is pure exotic car territory, and frankly, the Tesla can't compete in this market.


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By Spuke on 1/20/2009 2:30:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
0-60 times obviously don't tell the whole story about the comparative value in a gimmick electric roadster and a traditional sports car.
I agree here and don't pay much attention to them. If I'm interested in knowing a cars straightline performance, I use the 1/4 mile numbers instead. Also, I like my straightline speed but will compromise it for awesome grip and handling. That's why I really like C&D's new Lightning Lap tests, you get detailed explanations of how each car performs in each part of the lap. It gives you a really great idea of how certain cars perform in the handling and grip department.


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By The0ne on 1/20/2009 6:40:12 PM , Rating: 2
I'm in the same boat as you are. C&D's new lap tests are really nice.


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By Spuke on 1/20/2009 6:51:47 PM , Rating: 2
There are quite a few surprises in those tests. I always thought the Elise was a track God until the supercharged version was spanked by the FWD Cobalt SS by 3 seconds. Lightweight isn't everything.

http://tinyurl.com/47tktg


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By The0ne on 1/20/2009 10:55:57 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, the new cobalt SS looks really good on the track :) Many are surprise by it.


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By jjmcubed on 1/21/2009 1:57:26 AM , Rating: 2
According to this months letters, the driver of said Elise was shown the door. If that is really the case, a retest should be done.


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By Spuke on 1/21/2009 12:28:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If that is really the case, a retest should be done.
Interesting if that is the case. I would think a retest should be done. There's gotta be a lot of pissed of Elise owners out there. I can feel the hate within them.


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By Moishe on 1/20/2009 4:23:10 PM , Rating: 4
John Carmack bought one and it has been delivered. He has dedicated a portion of the last Armadillo Aerospace update to include the car.

Great reading and provides non-PR insight into the car.

http://www.armadilloaerospace.com/n.x/Armadillo/Ho...


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By Moishe on 1/20/2009 4:26:10 PM , Rating: 2
Another interesting thing is how Carmack compares his Tesla with his previous cars, a twin-turbo Testarossa and F50.


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By Spuke on 1/20/2009 6:21:37 PM , Rating: 2
He doesn't really compare the two cars just mentions his previous cars as a background. And, WOW, what a background!!!! Obviously, the man loves retarded fast cars and he wasn't expecting that kind of performance from the Tesla. When a person feels that a F50 is MEH performance....LOL!!!!

Quote from him,
quote:
It doesn't have the wide-eyed, slack-jawed, religious-experience type of performance that my Testarossa used to have, but there is a lot to be said for racking up a dozen happy-car-grins a day with your normal driving.


I had the opportunity to ride in a car with a power to weight of .19. We're talking a car that's faster than a Porsche 911 GT2. Everytime the guy stepped on the gas, I would get a shot of adrenaline. It was exhilarating!!! Carmack's Testarossa would have a power to weight of .31. That's just insane!!! The Tesla would have a power to weight of .10. My Solstice has a PTW of .09.

Solstice GXP 0-60 is 5.6 sec (manual), 5.2 sec (auto)
Tesla 0-60 is 4.4 sec
Figures from Car and Driver

So a hundredth makes a huge difference.


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By jmunjr on 1/21/2009 3:52:53 AM , Rating: 2
I got a Nissan GT-R in August. Now when I drive my 300hp Infiniti G35 w/manual transmission it feels really, really slow even though it hits 60 in 5.5 seconds, and so would 99.99% of all other cars on the road...

I bet if I drove a Veyron the GT-R would seem slow, and in all honesty I wish the GT-R was faster...it can be but still debating the upgrade.


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By Spuke on 1/21/2009 1:43:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I got a Nissan GT-R in August.
Congrats on the GTR. I'd a imagine a Veyron would make nearly anything feel slow. :)


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By gstrickler on 1/21/2009 7:04:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So a hundredth makes a huge difference.
Torque is at least as important as power in 0-60 results. Electric motors are noted for being very high torque, and that's the main reason for the differences in timing between the Solstice and the Tesla. Power helps more at the high end, where overcoming drag is the main factor. That's not to say that power isn't important, but for "quickness", torque and weight are more important than power.


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By Spuke on 1/22/2009 3:36:00 PM , Rating: 2
The Tesla has a 300 lb weight advantage on my car also so I'm really not surprised that it's faster. It probably has more area under the curve than my car too but that's just a guess. Also, hp is just the result of a mathematical formula. You make torque and hp through the entire rpm range.

HP = rpm x T(torque)/5252(constant)


"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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