Well, it looks like Toyota and Tesla have just teamed up to bring in the future of electric cars. After making a $50 million investment in Tesla, the joint company will use an auto-assembly line they've purchased in California to pump out the vehicles. the collaboration will include the production of the vehicles, parts, and engineering support. The news of the partnership was leaked by Governor Schwarzeneggar while he was visiting Google's headquarters. Tesla had originally been in talks to take over an old NASA manufacturing facility. Check out more on the story over at Tree Hugger
The Tesla Roadster is a battery electric vehicle (BEV) sports car produced by the electric car firm Tesla Motors. The Roadster is one of the few highway-capable electric automobiles for sale to the public in 2010,and Tesla delivered around 900 cars to customers in the United States and Europe by December 2009,with production reaching 1,000 cars in January 2010.
The Roadster is the first production automobile to use lithium-ion battery cells and the first production BEV (all-electric) to travel more than 200 miles (320 km) per charge.The world distance record of 501 km (311 mi) for a production electric car on a single charge was set by a Roadster on October 27, 2009 during the Global Green Challenge in outback Australia.The Roadster was developed by Tesla Motors to mass produce AC Propulsion's tzero concept car. The production idea was conceived by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning who were then joined by financier Elon Musk; Musk currently (2009) serves as Tesla's Chairman, CEO and Product Architect.
He has said that he aimed to incorporate touches from his two favorite kinds of cars—Porsche and McLaren.British sports car maker Lotus helped with basic chassis development. The Roadster has a parts overlap of roughly 6 percent with the Lotus Elise. Tesla's designers chose to construct the body panels using resin transfer molded carbon fiber composite to minimize weight; this choice makes the Roadster one of the least expensive cars with an entirely carbon fiber skin.
Initially, Tesla Motors licensed AC Propulsion's EV Power System design and Reductive Charging patent which covers integration of the charging electronics with the inverter, thus reducing mass, complexity, and cost. Tesla Motors then designed and built its own power electronics, motor, and other drivetrain components that incorporated this licensed technology from AC Propulsion.Given the extensive redevelopment of the vehicle, Tesla Motors no longer licenses any proprietary technology from AC Propulsion. The Roadster's powertrain is unique.
Several prototypes of the Tesla Roadster were produced from 2004 through 2007. Initial studies were done in two "test mule" vehicles based on Lotus Elises equipped with all-electric drive systems. Ten Engineering Prototypes (EP1 through EP10) which led to many minor changes were then built and tested in late 2006 and early 2007. Tesla then produced at least 26 Validation Prototypes (VP1 through VP26) which were delivered beginning in March, 2007. These final revisions were endurance and crash tested in preparation for series production.
The company has been shipping cars to European customers since the summer of 2009. An EU special-edition vehicle is limited to a 2010 model-year production run of 250 cars, with a base price of €99,000.Tesla opened a showroom in London, its first outside the US, on June 25, 2009, and announced at the same time that it would start building right-hand-drive models from early 2010.
Tesla opened a store in Munich in September 2009 and a store in Monaco in November 2009. Reservations for the 2010 Roadster are available for a 3,000 Euro refundable reservation fee.
Tesla Motors refers to the Roadster's battery pack as the Energy Storage System or ESS. The ESS contains 6,831 lithium ion cells arranged into 11 "sheets" connected in series; each sheet contains 9 "bricks" connected in series; each "brick" contains 69 cells connected in parallel (11S 9S 69P). The cells are 18 mm (0.71 in) in diameter and 65 mm (2.6 in) long (18650 form-factor); this type of lithium-ion cell is also found in most laptop computer batteries. The pack is designed to prevent catastrophic cell failures from propagating to adjacent cells, even when the cooling system is off. Coolant is pumped continuously through the ESS both when the car is running and when the car is turned off if the pack retains more than a 90% charge. The coolant pump draws 146 watts.
A full recharge of the battery system requires 3½ hours using the High Power Connector which supplies 70 amp, 240 volt electricity; in practice, recharge cycles usually start from a partially charged state and require less time. A fully charged ESS stores approximately 53 kWh of electrical energy at a nominal 375 volts and weighs 992 lb (450 kg).
Tesla Motors stated in February 2009 that the current replacement cost of the ESS is slightly under USD$36,000, with an expected life span of 7 years/100,000 mi (160,000 km), and began offering owners an option to pre-purchase a battery replacement for USD$12,000 today with the replacement to be delivered after seven years. The ESS is expected to retain 70% capacity after 5 years and 50,000 miles (80,000 km) of driving (10,000 miles (16,000 km) driven each year). Tesla Motors provides a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty on the Roadster with an optional 4 year/50,000 mile extended warranty available at an "additional cost" (2008 Roadster buyers received the 4/50 extension at no cost while later purchasers need to pay). A non-ESS warranty extension is available for USD$5,000 and adds another 3/36 to the coverage of components, excluding the ESS, for a total of 6 years/72,000 mi (120,000 km).
Tesla Motors announced plans to sell the battery system to TH!NK and possibly others through its Tesla Energy Group division. The TH!NK plans were put on hold by interim CEO Michael Marks in September, 2007.