Tesla Motors

July 20th, 2006 | Filed under: Design, Fabrication Tech, Sustainability, Technology | 24 Comments »


Tesla Motors has just unveiled the Tesla Roadster, a 0-to-60 in 4 about seconds, electric car.  No, it's not a dead end wish-it-would-be-real prototype.  The car is set to ship to your door late spring/early summer of 2007.

24 Comments on “Tesla Motors”

  1. 1 Duff said at 6:18 pm on July 22nd, 2006:

    Wow! that car is a dream.

  2. 2 Don E. Casey said at 8:59 am on July 23rd, 2006:

    Does the car have a d/c motor driving each of the wheels? And, how many batteries and their weight?
    The 250 mile range, does that depend on slow acceleration, and how much does ambient temperature affect range?
    I like the fact it has much more range that GM’s EV-1 car. Bye, Don Casey

  3. 3 Zobeid said at 6:45 pm on August 4th, 2006:

    It has a single AC motor running through a 2-speed transmission. The low-RPM torque is so strong that reportedly you can drive it entirely in high gear, but the low gear enables those tire-smoking launches. The batteries consist of over 6,800 Li-ion cells organized into several “blades” which can be replaced as units. Total battery weight appears to be about 900 pounds, plus 100 pounds of cooling and control electronics.

    Just like any other car, mileage will vary depending on how you drive it. Battery capacity will gradually decrease, and Tesla Motors estimate most people will want to replace the batteries after 100,000 miles. The battery will be warranted 100% for 1 year, and on a pro-rated basis out to 5 years. One might presume they’ll be improved with new technology by the time they need replacing, so that’s an additional incentive. The car itself should last for decades with little maintenance aside from tires and batteries.

    Tesla Motors have stubbornly dodged the question of how much a total battery replacement will cost. I’ve heard estimates of around $25,000 or $30,000 at today’s prices for Li-ion cells. Obviously this is an area that needs improvement.

  4. 4 John Strom said at 10:51 pm on August 15th, 2006:

    The Tesla is operated on a Li-ion battery but you indicate it’s powered by a single AC motor. Shouldn’t that be a DC motor or is the DC being converted to AC?

    Is Tesla Motors considering licensing their proprietary technology to other manufacturers such as Honda or Toyota? That could sure drop the production costs for Tesla and others and make the vehicles quickly compete with the existing internal combustion vehicles we’re forced to drive now.

    Thanks for your response

    John Strom

  5. 5 william d kofeldt said at 4:59 am on August 16th, 2006:

    Dear Sir, What is the cost of replacment battery for the Tesla automobile? Bill Kofeldt

  6. 6 Zobeid said at 11:17 pm on August 16th, 2006:

    It is definitely a brushless AC motor. So yes, the current from the batteries is converted to AC to drive the motor. The motor technology originated from AC Propulsion, makers of the TZero sports car (which is not a production car, it was a testbed and technology demonstrator), and is licensed from them by Tesla. AC Propulsion have provided the same technology for the Venturi Fetish and the Wrightspeed X1, that I know of.

    Tesla’s main proprietary innovation appears to be the modular battery pack, which is highly engineered for safety and long life. It has its own cooling system, containment structures for individual cells (so they can’t set fire to neighboring cells), and a computerized monitoring system with sensors for temperature, humidity, leakage, etc. I don’t know if they are interested in licensing out that design to other companies, or if any other companies have yet shown interest in it.

    After 100,000 miles they estimate the battery will be degraded to 80% capacity, and it will be time for replacement. It doesn’t simply die at 100,000 miles, you can continue to drive it with reduced range if you prefer. I had heard guesses around $25,000 for a full battery replacement. However, Popular Mechanics reported a replacement cost of only $10,000. That would be good news if true. I just haven’t seen it anywhere else, and I haven’t seen that figure come directly from Tesla Motors. I wish there was more firm information, but please note that Tesla Motors expect more than five years from now before any full battery replacements are needed, and it’s likely that costs could be reduced by then.

  7. 7 Zobeid said at 10:44 am on August 19th, 2006:

    UPDATE: According to Tesla Motors, the batteries currently cost $20,000 per car. They note that Li-ion prices have been dropping about 8% per year, and they estimate when the first battery packs are due for replacement the cost should be around $12,000.

  8. 8 John E Strom Jr said at 7:32 pm on August 19th, 2006:

    As the Tesla roadster is being built by Lotus and modeled loosely after their Elise is the roadster using the same chassis and suspension system as the Elise? Is the coachwork of constructed of fiberglass, high-strength aluminum or a composite material? Thanks in advance for your feedback.

  9. 9 Zobeid said at 7:52 pm on August 19th, 2006:

    The Tesla Roadster is derived from the Elise, but a lot of changes were made. It’s slightly larger, and it was modified to handle the additional weight of the battery pack, and the frame was also modified to make ingress and egress less awkward (this has been a widespread complaint about the Elise). It’s fair to say the Tesla car is derived from the Elise’s technology, but it’s much more than a simple conversion. Only about 20% of the Roadster’s parts are interchangeable with Elise parts.

    The body panels are carbon fiber, while the Elise’s body is fiberglass. Carbon fiber is quite expensive, but this allowed them to save about 200 pounds of weight. Trading 200 pounds of fiberglass for 200 pounds of additional batteries sounds like a good idea to me. But, this is one reason why the Roadster is so much more expensive than an Elise.

    Tesla posted a lot of detailed information about this very subject in a blog entry (on their website) called Lotus Position. Check it out: http://www.teslamotors.com/blog1/?p=7

  10. 10 skizex said at 12:52 pm on August 23rd, 2006:

    More NOZI (ZION) panacea. Not attainable for anyone but the drones. Is ISis – RA – EL (particluarly latter, ‘EL’ Saturn)
    REALLY warping the human dna with jet sprays and du?
    Yes, they are. 911 truth is the answer, and anti evil belief.

  11. 11 skizex said at 1:00 pm on August 23rd, 2006:

    and I bet if I ever find this post again, it wont exist anymore.
    We must stop funding the ‘spoon benders’ who run Tesla’s machines in our present day. HAARP, Woodpecker, GWEN, Cell towers, internet wirelss, microwaves…all getting too much. TIn foil hat out. Wait –
    I like tin foil, it protects me from the crazies / neo-con/llikkuds…and makes me potato tasty in a fire….I wear it as underwear, too. Yeah, reallly. Nah….just get real on ZIONISM – judaism /semite is not the same as ZIONISM.

  12. 12 John E Strom Jr said at 7:28 pm on August 23rd, 2006:

    I would be very interested in owning shares in Tesla Motors. Has there been any discussion of Tesla going public?

    The Tesla roadster is the FIRST electrically powered auto that is efficient AND beautiful. I would love to see other small companies building their own raodsters and sports cars [heck, even sedans]. I hope Tesla considers licensing this technology to others. It will drop the cost of the various competing vehicles to a more affordable price and it will drop the cost of gasoline precipitously which would be a very good thing.

    The good news is that GM and Ford are too pigheaded to realize they’re being obosoleted by this new technology and will probably forego the chance to be at the cutting edge. Too bad for them but it gives other small companies a chance to build their dream car and, when enough of us is willing to adopt this technology, more of us will want one. Thanks to all at Tesla Motors – this is the start of a VERY wild ride into the automotive future! 🙂

  13. 13 Zobeid said at 8:36 pm on August 23rd, 2006:

    Tesla don’t seem interested in going public or seeking outside investors. Probably for good reason. . .

    I don’t usually buy into conspiracy theories, but it’s fairly well documented that Preston Tucker’s business was sunk by the SEC. They claimed Tucker was fleecing investors by selling stock in a company that had no real capacity to produce a car. By the time Tucker was dragged through the courts to prove he had a real car-making business, he didn’t anymore. The SEC investigation had ruined him, and all the investors (who the SEC were ostensibly trying to protect) lost everything.

    Something similar happened to Edmond Ramirez and his Amectran EXAR-1 electric car in the 1980s. In addition to court actions and regulatory shenanigans, big car companies reputedly hired goons to physically beat up Amectran’s staff at the Chicago Auto Show. The EXAR-1 was shown, but only after the mayor threatened to shut down the entire show if it wasn’t. All the while, Ramirez’s foes claimed they were trying to protect the public from a “scam artist” who didn’t have a viable business. And by the time they were done, he certainly didn’t.

    So. . . There may be a legitimate concern that if Tesla went public, big car companies and big oil would soon be twisting arms and greasing palms to get the SEC all over them.

  14. 14 Kyle of Sacramento said at 4:04 am on September 20th, 2006:

    If Tesla were to go public the major automobile manufacturers would find some way to end the life of the company. Everyone should watch Who Killed the Electric Car?. As the movie points out, there is simply way too much money to be lost to the production of electric vehicles. Replacement and maintenance of combustion engines is a cornerstone of the Automotive Industry. Look at what happened to the production of previous electric vehicles. It was squashed in turn for the advancement of hydrogen technology, which certainly has its fair share of disadvantages, as well as continues to keep money in the pockets of Big Oil…

    I really pray that this company makes it. The car really is sexy.
    Who Killed the Electric Car? by Chris Paine. WATCH IT!!!

  15. 15 BioBoy said at 9:09 pm on October 4th, 2006:

    Kyle you are so right. Big oil will stop at nothing to crush the likes of a Tesla Motors. Further I don’t think even Toyota & Honda want to get involved with producing 100% electric cars. They want us to think a hybrid gas/electric is the future. We know its nothing but a passifier until they can get the hydrogen technology worked out and keep us tethered to the pumps.

  16. 16 Driver said at 7:04 am on November 17th, 2006:

    Wow! that car is not a dream.THAT CAR IS MY DREAM!!!! 🙂

  17. 17 Park said at 8:55 pm on January 25th, 2007:


  18. 18 Wade Nelson said at 5:18 pm on May 1st, 2007:

    The Tesla automobile is a scam. The company is a scam. In order to sell a vehicle in the US today it’s got to meet certain safety requirements, like airbags. Guess what. They have no airbag engineers. Their battery is a joke. They took 1850 lithium ion camera batteries and mounted them on modules.
    (And then they boldly proclaim ….can’t catch fire because of individual containment) I can’t wait for the suckers who didn’t do their due diligence to lose all the deposits they gave this company. Moller and his “flying car” taught these guys how to scam investors for R&D dollars they’ll never repay.

  19. 19 turan tuna said at 1:25 pm on May 7th, 2007:

    The good news is that GM and Ford are too pigheaded to realize they’re being obosoleted by this new technology and will probably forego the chance to be at the cutting edge. Too bad for them but it gives other small companies a chance to build their dream car and, when enough of us is willing to adopt this technology, more of us will want one. Thanks to all at Tesla Motors – this is the start of a VERY wild ride into the automotive future!


  20. 20 KryseeMac said at 8:25 pm on December 16th, 2007:

    I am hoping that Tesla Motors does well. I read the above and do agree on the many possibilities why they have not gone public. I..for one…am going to keep my eye out and when they do I will buy stock. I would also like to buy stock in SpaceX. That is a company to watch.

  21. 21 tsla4me said at 5:30 pm on June 11th, 2008:

    In response to Wade Nelson’s assertions that Tesla is a scam. All one has to do is visit Tesla’s homepage (easy enough to Google) and you will see that the Roadster does indeed have airbags. One thousand vehicles have been built and delivered to happy drivers, mostly in CA. where the company is based. They were able to register the cars without problem. Another 1000 were pre-sold and are or have already been built and ready for delivery shortly.

    They have addressed the safety issues he raises as well. I have to wonder if Mr. Nelson has any involvement (in stocks or direct involvent with the car industry, or the oil industry because he clearly is trying to discredit this amazing vehicle.

    That this car will indeed in relatively short order render internal combustion engines obsolete must be scaring the heck out of those involved with either of the two above mentioned industries.

    This IS the wave of the future, and judging by GM’s efforts to speed the Chevy Volt’s delivery is an indication that GM has smelled the roses. It would not however, surprise me if GM is building a vehicle in the Volt that will be a disaster to those who buy them, and then ditch the entire idea claiming the technology is faulty and then crush the vehicles as they did with the EV1.

    Unfortunately for GM, those who leased the vehicles (they were not allowed to buy them which should give you a clue about their intentions) loved the cars and even demonstrated to keep them. Of course GM shut up that controversy in short order. I am not privy to what GM offered (if anything) to those owners to keep quiet, but it makes we conspiracy nuts curious about why they killed the electric car. Perhaps someday we will learn the whole truth.

    I am going to buy or rent that movie someone mentioned above called “Who Killed The Electric Car”. I’m sure that will offer some insight as to what happened. In the meantime, I am waiting for Tesla to build the sedan they have been talking about, which will retail at about 50k, or about half the price of the Roadster.

    Keep your eyes and ears open people, a revolution in the car world is happening.

  22. 22 Francis said at 9:17 am on July 19th, 2008:

    Tesla dealerships. I pass one on my way home from work, here in Los Angeles on Olympic avenue. Those care are WOW! nice looking. Going to try to test drive one this week end.

    Tesla are designed and made by Lotus, who have tons of experience of building small,light safe cars. Battery replacement costs: Batteries are estimated, and warrenteed, for 100K miles, and expect to cost around $12,000. That’s average for maintenance costs for most exotic cars (Porsche, Ferraris(more), etc)

  23. 23 david said at 8:33 am on July 25th, 2008:

    (1) you can see Who Killed the Electric Car online.

    (2) all you nay-sayers need to think about how progress is truely made. ONE step at a time. at least the chaps at Tesla are probing the future. one has to wonder why the GMs Fords etc are so reluctant to take the steps necessary to get us off oil…. PROFITS thats why… the bozo’s are raking in gigantic profits and will NOT take the next step until those profits stop….. it has nothing to do with the environment nor with the technology being ready…ITS ALL ABOUT THE PROFITS

  24. 24 Vitaly Suhckach said at 7:39 am on July 1st, 2010:

    Tesla IPO is a risky business. What is helping them to sell it (IPO) is the public interest in green technology alone. According to WSJ, the company “accumulated $290mil. in total losses … and expects net losses until 2012”. Roadster is not paying for itself and I think investors should wait until Model S comes out.

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