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Tesla Completes Development of “Powertrain 1.5”; BorgWarner to Manufacture Gearbox

Tesla Motors has completed development for what its has called “Powertrain 1.5” (earlier post)—the enhanced powertrain with higher current and torque, using a single-speed transmission to achieve the original performance spec.

Tesla began working on Powertrain 1.5 after announcing a delay last year due to problems with the previous two-speed transmission. The design work being done, Tesla has selected BorgWarner to manufacture the single-speed gearbox. Tesla has been working with them since early this year.

The new powertrain delivers about 30% higher motor torque on the single gear ratio, and it achieves a 10% higher EPA combined rating of 244 miles per charge. Torque increases 33% from 211 lb-ft (286 Nm) to 280 lb-ft (380 Nm).

Last December, when the two-speed transmission designed by a previous supplier proved not to be durable, we announced we would modify our approach. By using a more powerful inverter and an enhanced motor design, we were able to implement a single-speed gearbox and still achieve our original performance goals. In fact, the new setup is superior in almost every way.

—JB Straubel, Chief Technology Officer of Tesla Motors

The enhanced powertrain setup is now being inserted into the production process, which is being ramped up. So far, 27 customers have taken delivery of Roadsters. More than 50 cars have been started on the production line in total to date. With the enhanced powertrain ready, production will ramp up from 4 starts per week to 10 starts per week. This will increase to 20 per week by December and to maximum capacity of about 40 cars per week by March 2009.



Excellent news! Love the improved efficiency too, and no sign of a symetron either.

So what? Still about 20 Wh/km plug-to-wheel. That's about 10 kg coal/100 km or 3 miles/lb coal knowing that most of the electricity is generated from coal at about 2 kWh/kg.

Bud Johns

15 less lb ft than my Prius electric motor? Still, good torque.

Coal? At least it is American coal.


Unlike an ICE, at least the Tesla has the option of running off of wind/solar/geothermal. Crappy efficiency is largely due to the fact that it is a roadster and therefore has a crappy Cd


Any news of an EV in production is good news.


Even running off 100% coal power plants the Roadster does slightly better then a hybrid car in CO2 emissions.


I guess you forgot about those little things like the Hoover Damn? Or those huge wind turbine things that are going up so fast that there is a shortage of people to service them?

Yea, must have forgotten about those little things.


richard schumacher

Third time's the charm :_>

I'm still disappointed that they don't license Toyota's HSD, use two motors, and have both low-speed torque and high-speed RPMs out the wazoo (but I'm not in the market for one in the foreseeable future, so it's not like they're losing a sale...).


We will see in-hub motor someday.


This is nothing but good news. It is much easier for citizen action to stop a new coal plant than to build our own electric cars. Now give me a plug in Toyota Corolla and I'll shut up and leave this board forever.


The great news is that this is a real-world production electric car with 244 mile range. Seeing this, one can imagine a more practical, less expensive model which could be one's daily commuter. Imagine solar panels on your roof and freedom from the oil companies. This car is a luxury bauble, but it makes a point about what's possible, and the bigger impact will be in creating awareness and ultimately market demand.

@ GreenPlease
Yes, the efficiency is crappy because to meet expectations they had to install powerful (185 kW total) motors. And they ended up with a battery that makes up half of the total mass of the car. So it is basically a battery on wheels. It would probably be enough with a 50 kW motor to slowly accelerate to 60 mph and then cruise at this speed. The efficiency would be twice as high. But then it won't come even close in performance characteristics to small cars having 1.4 to 1.6 L engines. Those would be F1 in comparison...


Coal? I'd bet most of the Tesla "early adopters" are producing their own electricity via PV.

John Taylor

244 mile range.
375 kilometer range.

This is an electric car that you can comfortably drive for 3 1/2 hours on the highway before stopping for lunch and a recharge.

The practical electric car is a reality. The 0-100 km in 3.4 seconds and fabulous handling is a drivers dream, but the $90,000.oo is out of reach for most.

(Next we want the low cost affordable electric car with 0-100km in 10 seconds, a 350 km range and a price under $20,000.oo)


@John Taylor,

The specs you mention are very similar to the next model Tesla are about to begin manufacturing (called Whitestar during development). There are hints it could also have a range extender for "backwards comapatibility" with the primitive gasoline network.


Wow! 40 cars per week. I guess it's good that they are capped at this number, because chances are that's the amount of people that can actually afford one.
Drive for 3.5 hours at 70mph (for a range of 245miles)? You may be able to go the full distance if you were about 20 mph slower and in perfect climate conditions on a level road. Charge the battery over lunch? You can, but significantly cut the life of the battery pack. This is not miraculous technology. It has to obey the same laws of physics that every other technology does.
Electric vehicles are the way to go, but the real hinderences are efficient and clean power generation (BTW, 18% efficient PV cells do not constitute "efficient") and then efficient and clean power storage (and I do stress "clean").


To the guy concerned about BEVs powered by coal power plants;


"Wow! 40 cars per week. I guess it's good that they are capped at this number, because chances are that's the amount of people that can actually afford one."

Um, for time period January 2008 to July, Mercedes Benz alone sold 691,900 "luxury" automobiles (up 3.4%)worldwide. There are plenty of people who can buy a Tesla - they (Tesla Inc.)have an enviable sellers market that is doing a fine job of promoting electrification of transportation... unless you oppose that.


First of all the roadster was design to compete with high price sports cars, many of which cost far more then a tesla roadster! Stop complaining that a sports car is not a family sedan! There working on a luxury sedan for $50-$60k and at 10 times the production rates of a roadster, and then after that a family sedan or small car for $30K. It going to take time for the price of batteries to go down.

Henry Gibson

This is another place to introduce the term, HIDDEN-HUMMER. The H-H is an automobile that has ten to one-hundred times the performance needed to drive on city streets. The TESLA is the production model of the Hidden_Hummer. The TZERO and WrightSpeed are its pre-production prototypes and God-Parents. A nice piece of industrial art, but that is what most new car buyers want for their money. Hummer also refers to power transformers. ..HG..


@ Bud Johns
Yes , your Prius motor puts out 15lbs-ft more but this is only part of the story.

Your Prius motor outputs 295lbs-ft at up to 1200 rpm ( @ 20mph) using a 4.113 : 1 reducer to the tire which represents 50Kw output.

In comparison the Tesla motor output is 280lbs-ft to 7000rpm using the new single 8.27:1 ratio gearbox. This gives the Tesla motor the advantage of double the torque at the tire compared to the Prius. Even though, as you pointed out, the Prius motor has a slight 15 lb-ft edge over that of the Tesla.

Additionally this torque will continue until about 40mph not just the 20mph limit as in the Prius. And then somewhat like the Prius, it enters a constant power region until 65mph.
So from all this you can see the drawbar pull of the Tesla is double and carries on for a much longer period.

When you factor in the difference in chassis weight as well, that easily explains why the Tesla has a 0 to 60mph figure of less than half that of the Prius.

In case the Brightest and Best are reading along, I stated some time back I am not convinced that they can duplicate the accel figures achieved with the 14.4 ratio just by a 30% torque increase of stator current, but whatever, it will still be an awesome experience to drive.


Great job by a bunch of computer geeks. They've led the present transition to electrification.


I wonder what some of the nay-sayers would have complained about had they been present for the Wright brother's first flight:
"what use is there in flying for only 12 seconds!" "look at the bumpiness - how can i drink a cocktail on a flight", etc., etc.
whiners out there: give it a rest and have a little understanding of how progress happens.

Cyril R.

But most people don't know progress when it's right on top of them.

Kind of a problem in a modern democracy: too many fools, not enough vision.

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