Faced with ongoing problems in developing a transmission that will deliver on the electric Roadster’s initial specification for acceleration (0-60 in 4 seconds), Tesla Motors will begin production in 2008 with an interim transmission design, according to CEO Ze’ev Drori.
The interim transmission will support acceleration from 0-60 in 5.7 seconds. When the final transmission is ready, Tesla will retrofit all cars, at Tesla’s expense, to meet the promised performance specifications.
It should be noted that the interim design is one we have a lot of experience with, having accumulated more than 100,000 miles of usage in our fleet. We have found these transmissions to be highly reliable and durable. It should also be noted that this was the transmission fitted to VP10 for the test drives we did with all of the top US car magazines in early December. I think you will enjoy the driving experience as much as they did, even with this interim solution.—Ze’ev Drori
Drori said that the goal is to start full production of Tesla Roadsters in spring 2008. Due to some uncertainty over production ramp rates, Tesla is still not clear how many cars will be completed in calendar year 2008.
We plan to accelerate production until all 2008 orders are filled, although we expect some number of cars to be delivered in early 2009.—Ze’ev Drori
In his update, Drori also noted that an error in the calibration of test equipment resulted in an overstatement of the EPA range testing for the car. A recent re-test resulted in an EPA combined range of 221 miles, which the company believes to be accurate. The original target for the Roadster was 250 miles.
We will need to re-test the car prior to full production, so the current test should be considered an estimate. The transmission is an important factor in determining drivetrain efficiency, so the final design may impact the result in either direction slightly.—Ze’ev Drori