Tesla announces plans for a sports compact EV!

San Jose, CA – We are at a Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle symposium in San Jose, CA.

JB Straubel, CTO, Tesla Motors, talks about future development and production for Tesla. Straubel says that 1,800 will be built in 2009.

The big news is that Tesla is also planning a sports compact car. The powertrain is in the prototype stage now, but Tesla is expecting sales of up to 100,000 unit’s when the compact goes on sale.

The following update was sent by Zeev Drori to Tesla customers July 12, 2008.

You know of course the saying “Good things are worth waiting for” … undoubtedly we were trying the truism of this adage longer than warranted, but we have broken the logjam. We are delivering the Roadster to our customers. Already 9 production Roadsters have arrived in California, another 3 arrive this weekend, and they will keep arriving at the rate of 4 per week (except for the scheduled factory shut down in the last two weeks of August). In fact, currently there are 27 Roadsters in various stages of assembly. In large measure we deliberately limit the production until we install our own born and bred final transmission by mid-September, at which time production will start to ramp up leading toward a monthly rate of over 100 cars in December.

From the start we planned a slow production rate for the first several months to allow us time to work out the kinks of production prior to increasing the rate of production. As mentioned above, an important mile marker of our progress is the development and implementation of Powertrain 1.5, which is going smoothly. Already we have prototypes running with the Powertrain 1.5 configuration and we are establishing the manufacturing facility for the gearboxes in our own facilities. The performance of this production configuration is extraordinary.

Straubel showed a slide on the Tesla sports sedan that plans production of the sedan in 2010. Of course they are planning for beautiful styling on the 4-door, 5-passenger car, with a 0-60 of around 5ish seconds. The price is supposed to be around $60,000. Projected volume sales of the sedan are up to 20,000 unit’s.

The sedan will be manufactured in California.

Straubel acknowledged that the difficulty of bringing a car into production is “a lot harder than we realized”.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.