Tesla hoping slow and steady will win the electric car race

September 9, 2008

tesla.jpgMore than 1,200 people have put in orders for their own Tesla Roadster, the all-electric sports car with an eye-popping price tag of $100,000. 

So far, only 27 have been delivered to customers.

Tesla disclosed this latest number in a press release on Tuesday, surprising those of us who remember the company’s chairman, Elon Musk, receiving his car in April.

That’s because for several months, the electric car maker only started production on three or four vehicles a week, according to spokeswoman Rachel Konrad.

In July, Tesla President and CEO Ze’ev Drori told customers that Tesla had “broken the logjam” and was finally delivering cars to its customers.

“You know of course the saying ‘Good things are worth waiting for’… undoubtedly we were trying the truism of this adage longer than warranted,” Drori wrote on the company’s blog on July 12. 

The Silicon Valley automaker originally had planned to start delivering the cars last year, but the company has since been plagued by production delays.

Now, however, Tesla is ramping up production to 10 a week, increasing to 20 by the end of the year, the company said. Early next year, it should be starting 40 cars a week.

By the end of this year, “hundreds” of customers should have received their vehicles, Konrad said.

Tesla’s shapely two-seaters are assembled by Lotus Engineering in England and then shipped to California.

No word, by the way, on who those 27 lucky customers are. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has ordered a Roadster, has not yet received his car, Konrad said.

Actor Matt Damon was spotted driving a baby blue Roadster around Los Angeles in June, but it turns out it was just a prototype.

If you’ve got one, we’d love to know (and take it for a spin).



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At a $100K a pop? You cannot build a market presence with that type of pricing.

Posted by Tom Clarke | Report as abusive

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WOW, $100,000 for a car that holds two, and no grocerys, For $10,000 to $15,000 you can retro-fit your own car and get around 60 miles to 150 miles a charge, the average travel from home to work to the store and back home is usally less than 60 miles….. $1,700 to $5,000 for motor(s) and controllers, $3,600 for acid gel cell batterys and $ 2,000 for things like a heater , a/c , p/s ,. If you cannot build it yourself add $5,000 or so for your mechanic

Posted by Ian Webster | Report as abusive

Sorry to burst your budget bubble, but $100k for a Lotus-based car that is in no way intended to haul anything more than @ss? Yeah, that sounds about right.
As for modifying your own vehicle ~ sure, that can be done. But you won’t get the 200mile range and the zero-60 performance that the Tesla gives for the prices you mention.

In fact, if you are worried about your budget, then it is cheaper to keep driving your gas guzzler. Heck, for $10k-$15k, you can buy ALOT of gasoline. ALOT.

Aside from those things, the Tesla website mentions thier innovations eventually being put into a more family freindly format. Think of the Tesla roadster as the developement test bed.

Long live the Tesla!

Posted by Mike B. | Report as abusive

At last, a PRETTY american car! and a ground-breaking electric one to boot. What a pity GM made such a Palin of the Volt. Couldn’t they just have bought out Tesla and made a car the whole world would want at a price more of us could afford?

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive

What brain dead person would spend $100K on a Lotus electric golf cart when other electrics cost 1/3 that amount? This isn’t changing the transportation paradigm or getting us off foreign oil. This car is nothing more than a sad publicity stunt proving there’s a sucker born every minute. Google “electric rabbit” and buy the parts for $3,000 like we did in 1981. Tesla “investors” can’t be any smarter than the 27 people who bought one. Yeah, 27 vehicles. Good grief!!

Posted by turismo | Report as abusive

Oh — and to the 0-60 comment. Keeping going 0-60 repeatedly in a Tesla and your batteries will blow up. They were never designed for quick discharge and the 1,000 pounds of them under your butt will go off like fireworks. Ever seen a laptop catch fire? — I think you can get the idea.

Posted by turismo | Report as abusive

LOL! Good one Turismo. That’s why they have cooling for those batteries. Did you actually do any research on the Tesla? Thier weak point is the transmission >.>

But anyhow, enjoy your $3000 electric rabbit powered by coal-fired power plants dumping more crap into the atmosphere. I’m gonna go fill up on foreign oil for significantly less than $3K :-)

Posted by Mike B. | Report as abusive