Tesla is wrapping up their Lotus-based Roadster in 2011 and making way for their new Roadster - completely Tesla from the ground up - in 2014. But before that happens, Tesla will be reeling in the last bit of cash on their current model with one last Final Edition, limited to five models. These units will only be sold on the North American market, but Tesla has promised that similar editions will also be offered for the European and Asian markets, making room for 15 final units in this current model’s future.
The Tesla Roadster Final Edition is finished in a special Sporting Atomic Red paint and then combined with a duo of dark silver stripes on its hood and rear clamshell. The look is finished off with an exclusive set of anthracite aluminum wheels.
However, the exterior changes are the only changes that will be made to the model. Expect to find the same electric motor under the hood; a 3-phase, 4-pole induction motor producing a maximum net power of 248 HP. The car will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and can travel more than 200 miles per charge.
The gloom and doom that fans felt when Tesla announced it was ending production of the Roadster electric car will end up being short-lived.
According to reports, Tesla’s flagship model will be returning to our lives in 2014, albeit in a slightly different guise. Unlike the first incarnation of the Roadster, which used a body supplied from Lotus and was limited to only 2,500 units, the new Roadster will be built from the ground up by Tesla themselves. This set-up is similar to the company’s second model, the Model S, which had Tesla’s fingerprints all over it from the very beginning.
No word yet on what the parameters for the 2014 Roadster is going to be but it appears that it would carry a tweaked version of the Model S platform or the "third generation platform" as some folks within the Tesla circle have called it.
Tesla CEO Elan Musk has said that this new ’mass-market’ platform will be the jumping board for all of the company’s cars in the next four to five years and it appears that we already have an answer as to what model will spearhead that transition.
So rest easy, all you "Tes-lovers". It appears that the Roadster’s demise was greatly exaggerated. It’ll only take a hiatus before it returns to our lives in 2014.
Tesla Motors’ portfolio of vehicles is slowly growing, which is welcome news for a company that only a few years ago, was struggling to make a profit. In a recent meeting to discuss the company’s quarterly earnings, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company is preparing to unveil its very first sport utility electric vehicle by the end of this year.
The SUV, which is being touted as the ’Model X’, will share the same powertrain and technology as the other electric cars the company has in its line-up, saving precious time and resources in the development of the SUV along the way.
“The plan is to have an unveiling of the Model X prototype in the mid-December time frame,” Musk said. “So far it’s looking good, I don’t think anything will cause an issue.”
Another factor that expedited the development of the Model X came from the $210 million Tesla was able to raise a few months ago, enough funding to keep the project moving along.
As for the Model X, the vehicle is set to become Tesla’s third electric model following in the reins of the Roadster and the Model S. Full details surrounding the Model X have yet to be revealed, but that hasn’t stopped Tesla from looking at building 15,000 Model X units every year as soon as production begins in 2013.
*Photo features the Tesla Roadster and the Tesla Model S
Not one to back away from the bombardment of complaints they’ve received over the years, the producers of Top Gear have returned fire at Tesla over the latter’s surprising lawsuit against the popular British show.
Tesla is suing Top Gear for libel and malicious falsehood over a review of the Tesla Roadster that happened a little over two years ago. For their part, Top Gear is not one to lay down without a fight, or in this case, a response to Tesla’s claims. So the show’s executive producer, Andy Wilman, went on the offensive and released a letter explaining their side of the story.
It’s not the first time that Top Gear has been in hot water, but there seems to be a certain sense of seriousness with this particular lawsuit and we won’t be surprised if the British show sees this case all the way through the courts, as opposed to their usual routine of witty banter on one of their episodes.
To read about Andy Wilman’s response to Tesla’s claims, proceed after the jump.
For all the fun and hilarity Top Gear has given us for the better part of a decade, the show has also been a lightning rod of controversy as evidenced by the countless number of complaints and law suits the show – and BBC as a network – has received from just about everybody it has ‘offended’ since the show became a worldwide phenomenon.
Apparently, one of the recipient’s of Top Gear’s sometimes brash and swaggering wrath has decided to bite back.
Two years ago, the British show caused quite a stir on one of their shows for their sharp and pointed criticisms of the Tesla Roadster. Understandably so, it didn’t sit well with the folks over at Tesla Motors and after a few back and forth barbs with the British show, the California-based automaker decided to turn the other cheek – with the strong arm of a lawsuit.
According to Tesla, Top Gear’s whole review of the Roadster was predicated on their pre-existing grounds that electric cars don’t work – if you watch the video, you’re going to notice James May tease a future segment later on in the episode, debunking the notion of electric cars being the future of the auto industry – and in turn, giving viewers a distorted image of the Roadster as a completely unreliable and irrelevant car.
Tesla’s VP of Communications, Ricardo Reyes, elaborated on the issue through the company’s blog site. In it, he wrote that “the show’s script, written before the cars were tested, has host Jeremy Clarkson concluding the segment by saying, "in the real world, it doesn’t seem to work."
Top Gear has ruffled a lot of feathers on its show, but Tesla seems to be taking this very seriously. Whether BBC decides to engage in a sartorial volley with the American automaker is totally in their character, but in this instance, it looks like they may have to play nice and put on a serious look before facing an automaker that’s throwing libel charges at them.
Or, they could just avoid all the hoopla and just stop rebroadcasting the episode in question and set the record straight about the car. But knowing Top Gear and BBC, what are the chances of that happening?
Check out the controversial Top Gear segment after the jump.
Tesla Motors has based their whole business model on batteries. They kind of have to since, after all, they sell electric cars. Tesla’s Roadster contains 6,831 lithium ion laptop-style batteries and the company’s up and coming 2012 Model S will have around 8,000 lithium ion laptop-style batteries. This is why it’s such a surprise to hear Tesla CEO Elon Musk say that he doesn’t think batteries will be part of the breakthrough that really pushes electric vehicle transportation into the mainstream.
While speaking at Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, Musk said, “If I were to make a prediction, I’d think there’s a good chance that it is not batteries but capacitors [that will facilitate the breakthrough].”
Musk might be onto something. One of the biggest drawbacks to electric vehicles is the “range anxiety” caused by the very batteries that electric vehicles need to store their energy. Batteries not only take a long time to charge up, but the state of their charge is largely dependent on ambient temperatures.
Capacitors are a lot like batteries. They’re commonly used now in consumer electronics to maintain power while the batteries are charging. Capacitors can also release quick bursts of electricity and since they can withstand more charging cycles than batteries, they should last longer. The only thing that batteries have on capacitors is that they can store more energy.
Now we’re not engineers, but if Tesla was somehow capable of combining large capacitors with a battery, so that the capacitors could both run the car and charge the battery when the battery is depleted, and supplement it with regenerative braking and solar panels, they might just be onto something BIG. In theory, that could be a real self-sustaining car. That could also be just the breakthrough that Tesla needs to remain viable into the 21st century auto industry.
Tesla is out to prove that there is not such thing as a Grinch where they are concerned. In order to show appreciation to the hundreds of people who went out and purchased the Tesla Roadster, the California-based electric car manufacturer is filling Santa’s bag up with radio-controlled versions of the sports car and delivering them just before Christmas. Each owner received a Radiant Red Roadster with tan seats and a lovely Christmas card to go along with it. Now that’s customer appreciation!
Of course, the RC version won’t be able to hit the 0-60 mph in 4 seconds and it doesn’t feature the same electric drivetrain producing 248 HP, but it’s still a pretty faithful replica to the real thing, and one that can entertain the child in all of us for quite some time!
We don’t like to say it too much out of fear that we’d lose ‘cool guy’ points from all of you, but we figure that there’s no harm in saying it now. We enjoy and appreciate art, so much so that nothing gets us more excited than to see two of our favorite subjects being designed together to create one beautiful piece of automotive artwork.
Designed by artist Laurence Gartel, this Tesla Roadster Sport Art Car was covered In a psychedelic vinyl wrap with a colorful digital swirl design. This kind of artwork is right up Gartel’s alley, whose history with digital art goes all the way back to its seedling stages in the 70’s. With over 30 years of experience under his belt, Gartel was the perfect choice for Tesla and as evidenced by his work, the electric automaker really hit this one out of the park.
At this year’s Race Of Champions, Tesla wanted to prove that electric cars could race too, so they brought a racing version of their famous electric Roadster. Not much was done to the car in preparation for the race because, well, the Tesla can already make it to 60mph in less than four seconds and has a top speed of 125mph. All Tesla needed to do was prepare the interior for a safe and proper race.
The Tesla Roadster racing version received a rollcage, special signalized tow elements, and an electric circuit kill switch, while the driver and passenger seats were stripped out. A new driver’s seat made of carbon fiber was added to complete the interior.
"I’m lucky to have had a ride in the Tesla Roadster and I was really impressed. It’s silent but blindingly quick! I’m proud that The Race of Champions is leading the way in promoting green technologies in motorsport and it was fantastic to see – but not hear – such great drivers pushing the Tesla hard around this track," said IMP President Fredrik Johnsson.
Piloting one of the first ever electric vehicles to race in the Race of Champions was Formula 1 World Champions Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost.
As a relatively new brand in the auto industry, Tesla has, for the most part, been a local US brand. But don’t sleep on the boys from California just yet; the brand has taken a big step in becoming more globally recognized after opening its first showroom in Asia.
The showroom, which is located just outside of Tokyo, is the brand’s first in the Asian continent. Opening its first store in Japan is a very sensible choice for Tesla considering that it puts them closer to their corporate partner, Toyota, who recently made a $50 million investment on the California-based automaker while also inking another $60 million deal for Tesla to help Toyota in the development of an electric RAV4 SUV.
Yet despite the opening of the store in Tokyo, the company is tempering their expectations as far as how many cars they’re going to sell. The only model that is currently available in the Tokyo dealership is the Roadster and the price tag attached to it - $150,000 – is two/thirds more expensive than what it costs in the US. That being said, Tesla has one thing going for it in Japan: electric vehicles are tax-free and eligible for government incentive cash payments in the country thereby curtailing the Roadster’s price tag by $40,000, giving it an end price of somewhere similar to its retail price in the US.