Conventional Cars tesla-roadster-1

Published on June 27th, 2011 | by Christopher DeMorro

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Tesla Roadster Production Ending in Two Months

When historians look back on the beginning of the electric car age, many of them will point to the Tesla Roadster as the vanguard of electric vehicles. But two months from now, the last Roadster will roll off assembly lines.

That means we are at the beginning of the end for Tesla’s flagship model. And it had to end. Even at $109,000 per vehicle, Tesla has yet to turn a quarterly profit as they sink millions of dollars into research and production for their upcoming electric sedan, the Model S. Thus the Lotus Elise-based Roadster’s production cycle is nearing an end, though I doubt this is the last sports car Tesla plans to produce. They have certainly proved there is a market for upscale performance EV’s, and the big automakers have taken notice. Electric cars are viable…to the right buyer.

Would-be Roadster buyers have just two more months to place their orders before production ceases and Tesla’s facilities are retooled for the Model S, due out in 2012. First hitting the roads in 2008, to date Tesla has sold over 1,650 Roadsters across North America, Europe, and Asia, which is pretty impressive for an electric car upstart that does zero advertising. Between these vehicles, Roadsters have racked up over 10 million clean miles between them…so the technology definitely works. And while Tesla has yet to turn a profit, the company has been able to leverage the publicity (if not sales) success of the Tesla to form partnerships with Toyota, whom they are developing an electric Rav4 with, as well as Mercedes, whom they sell batteries to.

However, I find it more than a little worrying that in two months time, Tesla will be a car company without an electric car to sell. And given that the Model S has been delayed numerous times already, Elon Musk’s EV upstart has a very narrow window for success. Rush an unfinished product out and your reputation suffers. Take too long to deliver, and lose much-needed customers. The next year is make-it or break-it for Tesla. Will the underdog survive?

Source: Tesla

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.

 




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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • http://Web Carbon Buildup

    I can’t imagine them going for a year or so with no product to sell. Considering their experience, they should at LEAST off EV conversion kits. That would be a great way to capitalize on their expertise.

  • http://Web Nixon

    They will still be selling battery/drivetrain packs to other companies. They have a deals with Toyota and I believe either Mercedes or BMW to provide packs for their cars.

    That’s really pretty much the same thing as they are doing now, since they didn’t build the glider for the Tesla anyways.

    I don’t see this is as a big deal. They have plans in a few years to release the replacement for the current Roadster that will be build entirely by Tesla.

    I think it will actually work in their favor NOT to have both the Roadster and the Model S for sale at the same time. It will keep the FUD and BS down to have a single message to tell about what Tesla sells. Otherwise we would see confusing stories about Teslas being built overseas, that Tesla doesn’t build their own cars, etc… When the Model S rolls out, there will be one clean, clear message:

    Tesla builds Tesla cars in America, built 100% by Tesla in their US plant in California by US workers.

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