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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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Car Heater
By SpaceJumper on 3/5/2009 9:43:51 AM , Rating: 2
Tesla should equip the vehicle with a small gasoline or kerosene heater. Canadian winter can be as low as -30C, without any heat, the windows will all be frosted up.

RE: Car Heater
By JediJeb on 3/5/2009 11:58:55 AM , Rating: 2
That has always been my biggest question on the all battery electric cars, what do they do for heat? If using an electric heater, that would really kill the range on one wouldn't it?

I guess you could always equip them with a heater powered by Sterno and have a warm lunch along with the ride ;)

RE: Car Heater
By Steve1981 on 3/5/2009 12:16:15 PM , Rating: 2
Given that a battery vehicle wouldn't have the benefit of all that waste heat from the internal combustion process, the best a BEV can hope for is to minimize that excess draw for heat. One way might be actively heated clothing plugged into the car.

RE: Car Heater
By Samus on 3/5/2009 12:35:14 PM , Rating: 2
I remember reading somewhere saying BEV's had a way of redirecting the speed controller-generated heat to the cabin. Those electronics run a bit hot no matter what the temperature, and the cooling systems for them usually just exhaust the head outside the underneith of the car. There is probably a duct and a flap that pumps that air up front. Obviously it doesn't work at idle, but any time the motor is active the electronics run pretty toasty.

Top Gear reviewed the Roadster last season and they overheated it on their test track in less than 50 miles.

RE: Car Heater
By 67STANG on 3/6/2009 1:20:06 AM , Rating: 2
Not to redirect the conversation here, but I've always wondered why they don't have hybrid heater systems... I mean in the morning, you freeze your arse off waiting for the heater to warm up (since the engine has to warm the coolant).

Why can't regular cars have an electric heater (much like the mini heaters for your house) that runs until the car is warm enough, then it switches off and the standard heater kicks on? Doesn't seem like it would be a difficult endeavor... Of course, someone might have this, but I've never seen it.

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