Tesla's press conference at the Detroit Auto Show yesterday was refreshingly short and consisted of nothing more than CEO Elon Musk talking in front of the red Model S. He said that his company has now built 1,000 Roadsters (a year ago, it was just 150), negotiated a lease for the Model S plant (but he wouldn't say where it was) and that the 1,000th Roadster will be auctioned off for charity. Musk then took questions, but didn't exactly answer them.

Musk told the journalists that Roadster sales are doing "pretty well," adding that he hopes annual sales come in at around 700 to 1,000 a year. Once the Model S hits the market for around $50,000, Tesla hopes to sell 20,000 per year. The third Tesla model that's still a few years away? That $30,000 car should sell 200,000 a year, Musk said.

Even though $50,000 for the Model S sounds like a lot, Musk said that, if gas is $4.50 a gallon, then the difference in running costs between his electric sedan and a standard ICE vehicle mean the Model S can be thought of as a $35,000 car. The Model S is still at least two years away, and more likely two-and-a-half years, Musk said. Daimler has been a "benign and benevolent" partner thus far, and Tesla's main benefit right now is that they can use the Daimler supply chain and get advice to make sure they aren't making any mistakes as the Model S moves to production. Today, there are two running prototypes, but Tesla hopes to have around 20 by the end of the year.


Related GalleryDetroit 2010: Tesla Model S


PRESS RELEASE

Tesla Celebrates 1,000th Roadster

Electric automaker displays VIN 1,000 at North American International Auto Show, will donate full value to charities

DETROIT -- (BUSINESS WIRE) - Tesla Motors has built its 1,000th production vehicle -- a significant milestone for the only automaker worldwide producing and selling highway-capable electric cars.

The car, which bears the unique Vehicle Identification No. 1,000, is a special-edition Roadster Sport in "Millennial White," with a unique interior and carbon fiber accents. VIN 1,000 will be on display at the North American International Auto Show through Jan. 24.

The world's leading electric vehicle manufacturer will donate the $175,000 Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of this collector's car to several charities in metro Detroit.

"A year ago right here in Detroit we had delivered about 150 Roadsters, so VIN 1,000 is a humble but important milestone for us," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. "It's fitting to do something special with this unique car."

Tesla will donate the full value of the car to organizations including:

· Forgotten Harvest: Oak Park, Mich.-based charity focused on alleviating hunger and waste by rescuing food from more than 450 food industry donors.

· The Children's Center: Detroit-based coalition of civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders dedicated to helping disadvantaged children and families.

· FOCUS: Hope: Detroit-based community organization focused on food and health programs to single low-income mothers and children, civic revitalization, and back-to-work education projects such as a "green jobs" training program.

· Sierra Club: The nation's oldest and largest grassroots environmental group with over 1.3 million members and supporters, winning big victories to stop global warming and move America into a clean energy future.

· National Wildlife Federation: America's largest conservation organization with more than 4 million members, partners and supporters working to protect and restore wildlife habitat, confront global warming and connect with nature.

Tesla, a Silicon Valley-based automaker that began vehicle development in 2004, has delivered Roadsters to customers in 43 states and 19 countries. The company operates 10 retail outlets in the United States and Europe.

Roadster Road Trip Car and Model S on Display

The Tesla booth at the Detroit auto show also features "VIN 750," an Arctic White Roadster Sport that recently completed a 2,700-mile cross-country road trip to Detroit from Los Angeles. Tesla employees drove 750 through nine states, three time zones, and two snowstorms – without a drop of gasoline.

The acclaimed Roadster accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 and is twice as energy efficient as leading hybrids. It is the only highway-capable electric vehicle for sale in North America or Europe.

The 2010 North American International Auto Show also marks the Detroit debut of the Model S. The Model S is an electric, seven-passenger sedan that Tesla plans to begin producing in early 2012 with an anticipated base price of $49,900 after a US federal tax credit.

About Tesla

Tesla is the world's only automaker selling highway-capable electric vehicles. Tesla sells cars online and operates showrooms and galleries in London, Munich, Monaco, California's Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, Colorado, New York, Seattle, Chicago and South Florida. The company's goal is to produce increasingly affordable cars to mainstream buyers – relentlessly driving down the cost of EVs.

The electric Tesla Roadster accelerates from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds yet produces zero tailpipe emissions, qualifying it for tax credits and fee waivers throughout Europe and North America. The Roadster does not need regular oil changes or exhaust system work. Roadsters have no spark plugs, pistons, hoses, belts or clutches to replace. Tesla recommends a standard service and diagnostic inspection once a year – and Tesla can perform service with convenient "house calls" at customers' homes or offices
.