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Future Car - Tesla

Updated on October 5, 2009

Tesla Motors

Tesla1 Motors was founded in 2003 by Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning and Ian Wright in an attempt to build upon and market an all electric car based on the TZero AC propulsion car. The propulsion system, in part, explains the adoption of the name Tesla (see note below).

Tesla Motors is based in San Carlos California (near "silicon valley") and currently produces about twenty-five (25) cars per week. The current production model is called the Tesla Roadster (a two seater) and it was the first production all electric car in the world to use lithium-ion battery technology. It was also the first all electric production car to achieve over two hundred (200) miles (320km) per charge.

Major funding for Tesla Motors was provided by Elon Musk2 founder of Paypal and SpaceX. Paypal is now a subsidiary of eBay.

The roadster set a new all-electric vehicle record in April 2009 when it traveled a distance of two hundred forty-one (241) miles (388 km) with 36 miles of charge remaining in it's batteries. This record was set at the Rallye Monte Carlo d'Energies Alternatives

1 Nicola Tesla invented and is considered the father of alternating current, fluorescent light bulbs, brush-less AC motors, brush-less AC generators and a host of other alternating current inventions. Almost every household in America is run on alternating current. At one time he worked for Thomas Edison and later became a direct competitor, through Westinghouse, to Mr. Edison.

2 Musk managed to generate seven and one half (7.5) million dollars in start up funding.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tesla Roadster front three quarter viewTesla Roadster Orange Stripe
Tesla Roadster front three quarter view
Tesla Roadster front three quarter view
Tesla Roadster Orange Stripe
Tesla Roadster Orange Stripe

Tesla Roadster

The base model roadster is capable of 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in three point nine (3.9) seconds. According to some analysts the Tesla Roadster is twice as energy-efficient as the Toyota Prius.

The Tesla Roadster, an all-electric sports car, has a range of two hundred forty-for (244) miles (393 km) per charge according to test results from an EPA certified laboratory. In this certification, the EPA test cycle assumes 45% highway driving 55% percent city driving.To achieve these high "mileage" ratings Tesla constructed the body using carbon fiber/resin composite.

Though the body design is based on the Lotus Elise only six (6%) of that car is incorporated in the Tesla Roadster.

Beside the 0-60 in less than four (4) seconds the roadster has a top speed of one hundred twenty-five (125) mph (201 km/h). This is with a speed limiter installed. EPA estimates that the cost of powering the vehicle is roughly two ($0.02) cents per mile. The base price of the car is one hundred nine thousand ($109,000.00). As an all electric it qualifies in numerous states for tax waivers. The Roadster also qualifies for the $7,500 federal tax credit.

As of June 2009, Tesla Motors has delivered more than five hundred (500) Roadsters to customers in both the United States and Europe. Tesla has also taken an additional fifteen hundred (1,500) reservations for an all electric sedan version called the Model S. Orders are expected to be filled in 2011.

Roadster Specifications

The following specifications define the Tesla Roadster (codename "DarkStar");

  • Mid-"engine" rear wheel drive
  • two seater coupe
  • True roadster, not a convertible
  • Body based on the Lotus Elise
  • Electric motor is three phase four pole AC induction motor
  • wheelbase: ninety-two point six inch (92.6")
  • length: one hundred fifty-five inch (155") overall length
  • width: seventy-three (73.7") inch
  • height: forty-four (44.4") inch
  • curb weight of two thousand seven hundred twenty-three (2,723 lb) pounds or one thousand two hundred thirty-five kilograms (1,235 kg)
  • electric charge of fifty-three (53kWh) kiloWatt hours
  • two hundred forty-four (244) mile range

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Tesla Model S three quarter viewTesla Model S profile view
Tesla Model S three quarter view
Tesla Model S three quarter view
Tesla Model S profile view
Tesla Model S profile view

Tesla Model S Sedan

The Model S will enter production in mid 2011 with an expected retail price of fifty-seven thousand ($57,500) five hundred dollars. The Model S will also qualify for a seventy-five hundred dollar ($7,500) federal tax credit.

This model will achieve an acceleration rate of 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in five point seven (5.7) seconds. The S will have a range of one hundred sixty (160) miles between recharge (260 km) when fully charged. The S will also be offered with larger battery packs to extend that range to between two hundred thirty (230) and three hundred (300) miles (370 and 480 km).As of this writing no price has been set for the enlarged battery pack. The Model S is expected to reach full recharge in as little as five hours when connected to a four hundred eighty (480) volt power source.

The owner will also be able to perform a battery pack* "swap out" in as little as five minutes.This is the only automaker the author has heard of that offers this option.

The Model S will incorporate a seventeen inch (17") touch-screen "command center" which will incorporate 3G communications technology. By using this communications system the Model S will be able to access various on-line (Internet) services and transmit it's state of charge and miles remaining to any remote location.

Production was originally slated to be in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but Tesla Motors opted to build it's plant in San Jose, California instead. Because of this move an initial order of one hundred (100) vehicles for the State of New Mexico was canceled.

Tesla Motors also had plans to build a "range extended" (series hybrid in Europe) version that will include a small gasoline engine, but those plans were scrapped when Elon Musk announced in September 2008 that all Tesla models would remain 100% electric.

* This battery pack will be rented or leased from Tesla Motors

Model S Specifications

Unlike the Roadster many specifications have yet to be defined for the Model S (codename "WhiteStar"). Those listed below are primarily concerned with the car's dimensions; little is known about the battery pack/drive-train, though it is very likely to be the same or very similar to the roadster;

  • four door, five passenger sedan
  • wheelbase: one hundred sixteen (116.5") inch
  • length: one hundred ninety-six (196") inch
  • curb weight: of three thousand eight hundred twenty-five (3,825 lb) pounds
  • miles between recharge of one hundred sixty (160) to three hundred (300) miles

These figures may change as these are pre-production numbers.

This is the eleventh in the series of future cars


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