Tesla Motors Introduces Roadster Sport
12 January 2009
Tesla Motors Inc. began taking orders for the Roadster Sport, a higher-performance derivative of its electric Roadster. The Roadster Sport has 15% more peak power than the Roadster, and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, compared with 3.9 seconds for the standard Roadster.
The Sport version features a hand-wound stator and increased winding density for lower resistance and higher peak torque. In addition to Yokohama’s Ultra High Performance tires, the Roadster Sport has improved suspension with adjustable dampers and anti-roll bars that will be tuned to the driver’s preference.
The Roadster Sport is the first derivative of Tesla’s proprietary, patented powertrain. San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla plans to begin producing the all-electric, zero-emission Model S five-passenger sedan in 2011.
The Roadster Sport starts at $128,500 in the United States and €112,000 (excluding VAT) in Europe. Deliveries begin in late June.
Tesla has delivered more than 150 Roadsters to customers, and about 1,100 people are on the waiting list. Customers who haven’t taken delivery may upgrade to the Roadster Sport.
Just the sort of car the average American family can afford.
Posted by: Mannstein | 12 January 2009 at 07:01 AM
Mannstein, can the average American family afford any of the gasoline vehicles that can manage 0-60 in 3.7 seconds?
Posted by: clett | 12 January 2009 at 07:21 AM
Tesla has 1,100 back-ordered vehicles; i.e. they can't make them fast enough to meet demand. Why not continue with a successful formula? Getting there 0.2 seconds faster is worth it to some people. Like buying a high quality eco-vacation is to others.
Posted by: Reel$$ | 12 January 2009 at 10:46 AM
Tesla are on a power trip.
This is crazy.
They should be on an Energy trip.
Better range would be more useful than faster 0-60.
Especially range at speed.
Also, I wonder how many of the 1100 back orders will be canceled in the next 12 months.
Posted by: mahonj | 12 January 2009 at 12:44 PM
Any word on how many cars they will manufacture this year?
Posted by: HealthyBreeze | 12 January 2009 at 01:37 PM
Clett nice to hear from you.
That's my point, the average American family probably couldn't afford to buy a gasoline powered car that went 0-60 in 3.7 sec. even though it would be a lot cheaper.
If the clowns at Tesla realy wanted to develop electrics for the average family they would come up with something more sedate that got good range at an affordable price. The way these guys are going we'll be back to the days when only movie stars could afford cars.
Then of course the genius of Henry Ford changed all that. But that's another story.
Posted by: Mannstein | 12 January 2009 at 05:51 PM
I agree that the best thing would be affordable, reliable electric transport. I'm sorry to see Tesla slow out of the blocks. If people are going to buy supercars, I'd prefer they buy electric.
I think Tesla does deserve some thanks for making electric cars, as a cagegory, seem like they could be exciting and emotional transport, rather than rickety golf carts.
Posted by: HealthyBreeze | 12 January 2009 at 07:57 PM
This article about the new deal to sell Chrysler battery packs for the Smart displayed optimism from Musk:
"Tesla also will begin selling its high-end Roadster sport car in June and is in the process of ramping up production from 15 vehicles a week to 30.
Mr. Musk said the company is sold out until November. He also estimates that Telsa will be profitable by the middle of the year."
If that's even close to accurate, it suggests that aiming at the top end of the market-- the folks who have cash to burn and want to save that 0.2 seconds during acceleration-- has worked out better in this recession than did aiming at the everyman market (e.g., Think Nordic).
So maybe they can make money with the gas prices back down. For myself, I'm pleased that, despite cheaper oil, the Detroit show this year is all about EV's. Hope we see some of these go on sale some time soon!
Posted by: Jim Greene | 13 January 2009 at 02:57 PM
The Tesla is an important car - not for its practicality, or lack of it - but because it fires a shot right at the high-end (and ultra-high-guzzling) sports cars. Here is an all-electric car - in a Lotus body - that can now keep pace with, for example, the mighty Porsche 911 Turbo (as well as most 12-cylinder Ferraris).
This sends a big message - you don't need to compromise - on looks, performance, or in this ultra performance range, even price any more. This car kicks big-displacement b tt.
At least with regards to acceleration, handling, etc, the Tesla is the first step relegating a whole range of exotic cars as merely collectors' curiosities - reducing their value as aspirational vehicles for the wealthy (or more accurately, those who want to world to think they are).
The impact Tesla has will likely be larger than Tesla itself. We should be applauding this.
Posted by: mercedes g | 13 January 2009 at 07:27 PM
The main issue when developing a car is to maximize safety and performance at an affordable cost to the customer. The obvious reason Tesla is forced at targeting this car for the high end is because the all electric drive technology specifically the batteries is not at the point where it can be built into a vehicle which the working American can afford. If and when the enabling technology is ready the industry will manufacture a vehicle with mass appeal instead of a toy for the rich.
Posted by: Mannstein | 13 January 2009 at 07:45 PM
"The main issue when developing a car is to maximize safety and performance at an affordable cost to the customer. "
Porsche and Ferrari might not agree.
Neither would a host of other marques that Tesla might start to win customers from.
It's easy sometimes (especially for those who look on cars as appliances) to characterize individual manufacturers as 'the industry'. Tesla was never intended to be mass-market transportation -- they put it in a Lotus body!.
Hopefully the technology will improve enough so they can not just match the high-end competition, but absolutely blow it away. That will have a trickle-down effect where it counts - hopefully converting not just the affluent (and sometimes wasteful) segment of the market that does not see cars as simply a necessary evil, but their aspirational followers.
Nothing will make gas guzzlers obsolete, in public perception, more quickly than having high-CID monsters embarrassed by an electric vehicle. When the general public accepts that as common knowledge, the tide will finally turn.
Now I'm convincing myself that I'll have to test-drive a Tesla, somehow. (What I'd really like for myself, though, is a BYD-powered Fit - the best of all worlds).
Viva Tesla! I hope they make it.
Posted by: mercedes g | 13 January 2009 at 08:49 PM