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Tesla fights a slow economy by expanding to new markets

Tesla Motors has begun taking orders from customers in Canada for its battery-electric Roadster, with deliveries beginning in the fourth quarter of this year.

The Roadsters will be modified to comply with Canadian safety regulations for mass-produced, highway-capable vehicles. They will have minor differences with the European and American models.

The company touted Canada's renewable energy sources as being particularly compatible with Tesla's philosophy of sustainability. The provinces of Quebec, British Columbia, and Manitoba rely primarily on hydro-electric dams for the majority of their electricity production.

Tesla Motors is also considering future retail and service centers in Ontario, British Columbia and possibly Quebec. However, Canadian customers will be initially serviced through Tesla's centers in New York and Seattle. Its electric vehicles require little maintenance as it does not burn hydrocarbons, and its regenerative braking also reduces brake maintenance.

Six new sales and service offices are expected to be opened this year, with agreements completed in Chicago and London’s Knightsbridge district. Locations in Manhattan, Miami, Seattle and Munich are currently under negotiation, while the company is scouting for offices in Washington, D.C.

Pricing for Canada has not been finalized due to fluctuating exchange rates. However, reservations will require a refundable $60,000 deposit, payable in Canadian dollars. Tesla currently has a backlog of over a thousand orders at a base price of $109,000 US dollars. Production is ten roadsters per week, although the company plans to increase its rate.

The provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia currently offer $2,000 rebates on sales taxes for hybrids and electric vehicles, while Prince Edward Island offers $3,000. The most straightforward is Manitoba, which will mail out a $2,000 check upon verification of purchase.

In a major partnership with Daimler, Tesla is seeking to expand its product range with an initial contract of 1,000 battery packs and chargers for electric Smart cars. It hopes to expand production to tens of thousands of Smart cars per year if the test fleet does well.

Tesla will unveil a sedan known as the "Model S" on March 26th in Los Angeles. It will be a four-door, five passenger sedan powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, with "an anticipated base price of $57,400", according to company officials.

Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal and Chairman of Tesla Motors, wrote in a blog post in August of 2006 that Tesla's "second model will be a sporty four door family car at roughly half the $89k price point of the Tesla Roadster".

Production of the Model S is expected to begin in the second half of 2011, with sales divided equally between North America and Europe. Production was originally planned for late this year in a new plant located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but that was aborted in favor of a new factory in San Jose. The global credit crisis forced a reevaluation of those plans.

Tesla also had plans for a third model; a battery electric family sedan that depended on profits and engineering knowledge from the Roadster and Model S to drive affordability into the mass market. Those too have been delayed.

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I wonder
By Snowy on 3/5/2009 8:52:55 AM , Rating: 1
I wonder how well those batteries work in the bitter-cold weather up there?

RE: I wonder
By Steve1981 on 3/5/2009 9:06:39 AM , Rating: 2
Probably doesn't matter much in this case: like a Ferrari F430, I wouldn't expect something like this to be getting much exposure to the elements.

RE: I wonder
By Chris Peredun on 3/5/2009 9:11:05 AM , Rating: 2
I'm assuming that Tesla will recommend that owners don't drive their cars in the winter, and/or store it in a heated garage. I'd also bet that anyone who can afford one of these can afford said second car/heated storage.

If one is actually used, I'd expect maybe half the range - while not as bad as NiMH, LI batteries still lose a lot of their power in the cold.

RE: I wonder
By gmyx on 3/5/2009 1:12:11 PM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I'm wrong but a heated garage is bad for a car. It allows the salt embedded snow to melt and expose the car more to corrosion. As well as if the car is not dry, ice expands and cause cracks. This is what kill roads. We are just getting into pot-hole season!

RE: I wonder
By The0ne on 3/5/2009 2:57:46 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe they're using dirt instead of salt :) Although I like neither using dirt is pretty bad as well...wammo, cracked windshield from a large ROCK!

RE: I wonder
By mmntech on 3/5/2009 9:23:42 AM , Rating: 5
Yes, because it's a frozen wasteland up here. :p
As the others said, most people wouldn't drive a car like this in the winter. It's not so much the cold but the road salt and snow that does damage to vehicles. This would strictly be a summer car.

However, something tells me though I won't see too many of these in the summer either.

RE: I wonder
By kattanna on 3/5/09, Rating: 0
RE: I wonder
By DPigs on 3/5/2009 12:52:37 PM , Rating: 2
You know, a company like this could be the new GM. This is progress. After GM goes Bankrupt someone is going to have to take their place.

RE: I wonder
By IcePickFreak on 3/5/09, Rating: 0
RE: I wonder
By Nik00117 on 3/6/2009 4:44:40 AM , Rating: 2
Um, he could very well be right. in 20 years owning a Telsa could be the same as owning a Ford Model T back in the day.

RE: I wonder
By fezzik1620 on 3/6/2009 11:13:47 AM , Rating: 2
Wow. Are you serious? When the Ford model T came out the thing that made it unique was the fact that it was mass produced on an assembly line part by part so that it became affordable to a much larger audience. A better comparison of the Ford Model T to today would be if most cars on the road were Tesla Roadsters that only the really rich could afford and somebody started making Camry's.

RE: I wonder
By omnicronx on 3/5/2009 10:58:54 AM , Rating: 3
Depends where you live ;) Minnesota is a hell of a lot colder than most of Ontario. As other posters have noted, you probably wouldn't drive it in the Winter. We do have spring, summer and fall months too you know ;)

RE: I wonder
By DPigs on 3/5/2009 12:49:45 PM , Rating: 2
You could drive this year round in Vancouver. It seldom goes below zero and we only have like 2 snow days a year. (except this year when Global Warming went on vacation)

RE: I wonder
By ATC on 3/5/2009 2:22:05 PM , Rating: 2
I would think we'll see a few in Vancouver. And you won't need to add the Block-heater option on it there; not that Tesla will offer a block heater option :)

RE: I wonder
By Suomynona on 3/5/2009 11:53:44 AM , Rating: 3
Probably no worse than they would in Washington, Michigan, or New York. I think like 75% of Canadians are within 100 miles of the southern border.

RE: I wonder
By KeepSix on 3/5/2009 12:41:13 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's closer to 95%, actually.

RE: I wonder
By Kougar on 3/5/2009 5:42:10 PM , Rating: 2
Lithium-ion shouldn't be affected remotely as bad as Nickel-cadmium & similar type batteries would be. If anything I would guess the lack of 110+ degree heat index temps would give them a slightly longer overall lifespan?

RE: I wonder
By wise2u on 3/5/2009 6:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
A little googling seems to show that Lithium Ion types are less susceptible to extreme temperatures than other battery types, or at least *will be* when incorporating newer manufacturing methods. Example article:

Altair Nanotechnologies Begins Manufacturing of High-Power Lithium Ion Battery Cells and Announces New Test Results
Batteries Perform at 90 Percent of Capacity at Extreme Temperatures

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