Tesla Motors, manufacturers of high performance, zero emission electric vehicles (earlier post), has opened its Michigan Technical Center in Rochester Hills.
The 19,240 square-foot facility will focus on R&D for future Tesla products to follow the introduction later this year of the Roadster, starting with a four-door electric sports sedan to be built by the Silicon Valley-based company. That project, named “WhiteStar,” will be a four-door, five-passenger, lightweight, high-performance sedan planned for production around 2009.
This tech center will be home to the engineering, quality and supply chain staff working on WhiteStar and other Tesla cars coming down the line. With our state-of-the-art CAD and CAE design and simulation tools, this center will enable us to bring high-quality products to market quicker than traditional manufacturers.—John Thomas, general manager of the Michigan Technical Center and senior director of the WhiteStar program
The region’s existing base of automotive companies, facilities and engineering talent, also figured into the decision to place the Technical Center in Michigan.
There are thousands of highly experienced automotive experts in this area. We felt it was smart to use the existing test tracks, validation equipment, wind tunnels and more, rather than duplicating these costly investments.—John Thomas
Since opening in July 2003, Tesla Motors has grown to a company with more than 140 employees as they prepare to launch their first electric car, the Tesla Roadster, in the fourth quarter of 2007. More than 270 customers have already reserved a Tesla Roadster in advance. Over time, Tesla Motors plans to develop a wide range of electric vehicles, all sharing the common characteristics of great styling, high performance, zero emissions and zero oil usage.
The Michigan Technical Center will be the fourth Tesla Motors facility worldwide, and the second in the US, joining the company’s headquarters in San Carlos, Calif. Tesla Motors also has facilities in England (assembly of the Tesla Roadster) and Taiwan (motor production).