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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 PrinceGaz on 1/22/2009 7:24:02 PM , Rating: 2
What do you mean by faster? Top Speed- which will only be of any use on a race-circuit, or Acceleration- which can be used every day.

Lets see:

Top Speed:

Tesla Roadster (any model): 125mph (electronically limited)
Chevrolet Cobalt SS (supercharged): 158mph (also electronically limited, but is the fastest model)

0-60mph Time:

Tesla Roadster: 3.9s (standard), 3.7s (2009 Sport)
Chevrolet Cobalt SS: 5.5s (the fastest version, the turbocharged model for this stat). I'm not going to include the supercharged version using the optional nitrous as that is not really fair.

Quarter-mile drag time:

Tesla Roadster: 12.8s (104.7mph final speed) (model used not stated, but was done in 2008)
Chevrolet Cobalt SS: 13.9s (102.5mph final speed) (turbocharged model, the fastest for the quarter mile)

So unless you normally drive at well over 70-80mph, I would say the Tesla Roadster is a good bit faster than all but the Chevy Cobalt SS being fed nitrous.

Even the 60-103mph times between them are close, with the Cobalt SS only having a slight advantage (these are estimated from the 0-60, and the quarter mile drag times which both passed the line at around 103-104mph)

Tesla Roadster: 8.8s (est)
Chevy Cobalt SS: 8.5s (est)

Based on those stats of the Tesla Roadster vs the best Chevy Cobalt SS (without nitrous), I'd say the Roadster is a good bit faster on all but a very fast track. The two cars would probably be very close after a half-mile drag-race with finishing speeds around the 120mph region, but you don't often have those on public roads.


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By PrinceGaz on 1/22/2009 7:41:41 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, one other important point: the Roadster is rear-wheel drive whilst the Cobalt SS is front-wheel drive. Even if the Cobalt SS was using nitrous to massively boost its power; it would be pointless as you cannot transfer that sort of power to the road in a front-wheel drive car except at very high speeds. Using nitrous to boost its power to (guessing here) 400hp or so would just cause the front wheels to spin and burn rubber more than anything else.

Above about 100mph, the nitrous would certainly help increase performance, but on public-roads, it will only help you to outrun the police who are certain to be chasing you by then.


RE: Ah, the classic case of...
By Spuke on 1/23/2009 7:17:35 PM , Rating: 2
My mistake, I'm still thinking about the Car and Driver Lightning Lap.


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