There's good and bad news for Tesla Roadster fans this morning. New CEO Michael Marks sent out a letter to all their eagerly waiting customers yesterday with an update. As a New York Times article indicated over the weekend, full production of the Roadster has been delayed until the first quarter of 2008. The company plans to actually start building some production models late this year and the new plan is to deliver the first fifty production units during the first quarter of 2008. Once they verify the production units they intend to ramp production as quickly as possible to get 600 more cars built by the end of the 2008 model year.
The testing that has been conducted on the engineering and validation prototypes has resulted in some design changes to address issues that were found. When testing of the first validation prototypes earlier this year showed that the range had dropped from the original 250 mile estimate to something closer to 200 miles, the team set to work on optimizing the car to get back what they could.
The Roadster has now been officially validated on the EPA combined cycle with a 245 mile range. The city range is confirmed at 252 miles with highway range at 236 miles. Your mileage will of course vary depending on how much of that sub-4 second 0-60mph capability you choose to use. Other updates to the validation prototypes mean that they have now passed the side impact crash tests that earlier prototypes had failed at. The Tesla press release is after the jump and Michael Marks' letter can be found at the Read link
Tesla Motors Announces 2008 Roadster Production Schedule and Achievement of Critical Milestones on Crash Tests and Range Testing
Official Testing Achieves 245 Miles Range on EPA Combined Cycle
SAN CARLOS, CA--(Marketwire - September 25, 2007) -
-- Michael Marks, CEO of Tesla Motors, has established a
production goal of 50 cars in the first quarter of
2008, followed by an additional 600 cars for the
remainder of the year.
-- Tesla has been engaging in intensive durability and
validation testing of final prototype cars (known as
-- This production schedule provides the opportunity to ensure that the
all aspects of the production cars meet the level of quality and
reliability that is expected when shipped to customers.
-- As part of this final testing, a Tesla Roadster ran for 245 miles on
the combined EPA cycle on a single charge (235 on the EPA highway
cycle, 255 on the EPA city cycle.)
-- Separately, a validation prototype Tesla Roadster successfully passed
static and dynamic side-intrusion crash tests, the only tests that
were not passed in the earlier prototype phase.
-- In other performance testing, a validation prototype Tesla Roadster
accelerated consistently from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds.
-- Tesla Motors has initiated a unique program, inviting customers to
participate in durability and validation testing by road-testing our
validation prototypes and providing feedback to marketing and
engineering teams. Customers have shared their feedback on the Tesla
Motors blog and with other customers in a members-only online forum.
-- Tesla will stop taking reservations for 2008 Roadsters in the near
future and initiate a traditional waiting list. Customers who sign up
for the waiting list will pay $5,000 for their place in line for
additional 2008 Roadsters if and when an increase in production is
announced. Alternatively, customers on the waiting list will be first
in line for the 2009 model year Roadster (pricing and specifications
for 2009 Roadsters is not yet announced.)
-- The announcement of this production schedule represents a change from
the previously stated goal of fall 2007. In the last letter to customers in
August, former CEO Martin Eberhard indicated that the production schedule
was subject to successful completion of crash testing and durability
testing. This new schedule represents the decision to continue with
additional durability and validation testing prior to start of production
and shipping of cars to customers.
-- In an announcement earlier this year, Tesla notified customers that
the EPA range of the car was not likely to reach the original goal of 250,
and instead would be closer to 200 miles based on progress at that time.
Since then, Tesla engineers have worked diligently to improve on this
critical performance metric, and the results of the effort over the last
months have been extraordinary.
-- The EPA cycle test result was observed by CARB (California Air
Resources Board) staff and is expected to be formally certified by EPA in
the near future, as is standard procedure.
-- The range of the Tesla Roadster is by far the highest range ever
achieved by a production EV. The next closest was the 1999 EV1 using nickel
metal-hydride batteries, which achieved a 140 mile range rating. No other
EV currently being developed has completed an official test for range using
the EPA standard protocols.
-- Acceleration testing was performed by Tesla staff using GPS
instrumentation with traction control on. Additional testing is planned
with third parties in the near future.