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Tesla's Model S

The Tesla Roadster
Uncle Sam stands a better chance of getting its money back from Tesla than from GM or Chrysler

Tesla Motors has received approval from the United States Department of Energy for up to $465 million in low-interest loans. The electric car manufacturer had faced significant financing difficulties due to the global credit crunch and resulting recession, despite having an order backlog of over 1,500 vehicles. This forced a delay in the acquisition of a Californian production facility and the subsequent plans for several models.

The loans are part of the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which provides incentives to new and established automakers to build more fuel-efficient vehicles, including hybrid and electric vehicles. The ATVMP was created in 2007 and appropriated funding in September 2008. The $25 billion program is supposed to reduce America’s dangerous dependence on foreign oil and create “green collar” jobs.

The program is not related to any economic stimulus package or bailout funding that General Motors and Chrysler have received.

“Tesla will use the ATVM loan precisely the way that Congress intended -- as the capital needed to build sustainable transport,” said Tesla CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk. “We are honored that the US government selected Tesla to be among the first companies to participate in this progressive program.”

Tesla Motors plans to draw $365 million for production engineering and assembly of the Model S, an all-electric family sports sedan that carries up to seven people and travels up to 300 miles per charge. The company expects to start production of the Model S in late 2011 in a new assembly plant employing approximately 1,000 workers.

Tesla will use the remaining $100 million for a powertrain manufacturing plant that will supply all-electric powertrain solutions to other automakers, greatly accelerating the availability of mass market electric vehicles.  The new factory is expected to employ about 650 people in California. Tesla is currently in the final stages of negotiation for both facilities.

The firm recently signed a deal with Daimler, which will provide engineering and financial support in exchange for a ten percent equity stake. Daimler will use Tesla's powertrains in its second generation electric Smart cars starting in 2012.

Tesla remains privately owned, with several hundred million dollars in funding coming from Elon Musk (former President of Paypal) and several venture capital funds. Google co-founders Sergey Brin & Larry Page are significant investors, as is former eBay President Jeff Skoll.

The company plans to reach a breakeven point by the end of this year, as it increases sales by opening half a dozen new stores throughout North America and Europe. Its new London store will open on June 25.

If all goes well with production and sales of Model S vehicles, Tesla intends to produce an affordable third model, codenamed BlueStar. This electric vehicle for the masses is targeted to cost around $30,000, with development being  funded by profits from the Model S sedan.

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RE: It's Good to be in DC
By grant2 on 6/25/2009 6:57:00 PM , Rating: 2
An electric, as they stand now, will never stand up to full track use.

Curious about just how much mileage do you put on your car in a track day??

As a motorcycle racer, i've never gone through more than a tank of gas (~120 miles) in a single practice day, let alone race day which is of course much less distance. (btw, the best racers at our track can do an average speed of 50-60mph and the best practice day will give you about 2 hours of track time)

The tesla supposedly has about 300 miles range on a single charge. I guess if you drive to the track you'd chew up a lot of that though.

RE: It's Good to be in DC
By theapparition on 6/29/2009 6:52:51 AM , Rating: 2
300 miles on a single charge is under ideal circumstances. It will be much less under under high stress situations where other factors such as wind resistance start to play a big factor.

I'm shocked that you say they average only 60mph during a track event. Depending on the track, I've averaged well over 100mph.....for the whole event!
Remember that power requirements increase with the cube of speed, so for evey doubling of speed requires 8X more power. That will drain the battery real fast.

However, my biggest issue was that of refilling, hence my quip about 5 minute recharging. The car may hold up for a single session (which I seriously doubt), but what do I do after that? I can't wait until the next morning to drive again.

In the end, though, the Tesla is just not a good track car. Show me one instance where it's worked well at a track event. Or any Lotus (which this is really based on). The Elise I had was a horrible car for anything other than autocrossing. The Tesla's top speed is a mere fraction of my other cars, at 125mph, that's just not going to cut it. I've managed to peg over 200mph in some straitaways.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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