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.