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(from Tesla Motors
Press Release) The first performance electric car
manufactured by Tesla Motors, the high-performance, zero-emissions
Tesla Roadster, was unveiled before a throng of well-wishers, car
buffs, and potential customers Wednesday evening during Tesla’s
“Signature One Hundred” event at Barker Hangar.
More than 350 invited guests spent the evening learning about the
new sports car, speaking with Tesla Motors executives, and going for
rides along the tarmac at the Santa Monica Airport, adjacent to the
event. Many signed up to be among the first to take delivery of the
Tesla Roadster, becoming Signature One Hundred Members.
Celebrities in attendance included actor Ed Begley Jr., producer
Richard Donner, businessman Michael Eisner, PayPal founder (and
Tesla Motors Chairman) Elon Musk, Participant Productions’ Founder
and CEO Jeff Skoll, also of eBay fame, and producer and car
collector Joel Silver. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
stopped by prior to the evening’s activities to learn more about
Tesla Motors and the Roadster.
“We’re thrilled to have the support of top people from so many
different industries,” said Martin Eberhard, CEO of Tesla Motors.
“High-tech, CleanTech, entertainment, automotive, you name it. It’s
gratifying to have others realize the significance or what Tesla
Motors is doing.”
The electric-powered Tesla Roadster boasts a top speed of more than
130 mph and a range of 250 miles on a single charge, a combination
heretofore unseen in a mass-produced electric vehicle. Its extended
range is due to its state-of-the-art lithium-ion Energy Storage
System. The Tesla Roadster is capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph
in about four seconds.
“The Tesla Roadster delivers sports car performance without using
any gasoline,” said Eberhard. “This is what we hoped to achieve when
we started the company three years ago, to build a car with zero
emissions that people would love to drive.”
Using a unique two-speed manual transmission, the Tesla Roadster’s
power comes from a 3-phase, 4-pole AC induction motor coupled with
the Power Electronics Module (PEM) which provides multiple
functionality of inverting direct current to 3-phase alternating
current, the charging system, and the regenerative braking system.
The Roadster’s Energy Storage System (ESS) provides power to the
entire vehicle, including the motor. Its durable, tamper-resistant
enclosure includes: 6,831 lithium-ion cells; a network of
microprocessors for maintaining charge balance and temperature among
the batteries; a cooling system; and an independent safety system
designed to disconnect power outside the enclosure under a variety
of detectable safety situations.
The Tesla Roadster comes complete with its Electric Vehicle Service
Equipment (EVSE), a home-based charging system. An optional mobile
charging kit, for re-charging while away from the EVSE, also
features this automatic disconnect system. Charging the Tesla
Roadster takes approximately 3.5 hours.
The Tesla Roadster is capable of driving up to 250 miles (EPA
Highway) on a single charge, a range roughly triple that of previous
mass-produced electric vehicles, like General Motors’ EV1.
“It didn’t make sense to sell a car that couldn’t go 90 miles on a
charge. You’d spend more time charging the old EVs than driving
them,” said Eberhard. “Lithium-ion technology, which has been proven
in many different applications, has allowed us to achieve exactly
what we thought it would in terms of power, range and efficiency.”
The body design of the Tesla Roadster, which included a
collaborative effort by the company’s employees, has been headed by
Barney Hatt, Principal Designer at the Lotus Design Studio in
England. The result is a sleek, stylish sports car that will appeal
to enthusiasts and environmentalists the world over.
Tesla designers and engineers have gone to great lengths to ensure
that not only is the Tesla Roadster safe to drive, but also when
charging the performance electric car, at home or on the road. Their
goal is to not only meet, but to surpass the rigorous standards of
the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, or FMVSS, as implemented
by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Tesla co-founders Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, who serves as Vice
President, Engineering, have brought together a team of automotive
industry veterans plus Silicon Valley electronics and Internet
engineers to bring the Tesla Roadster to life.
Research and Development for Tesla Motors is based at the Corporate
Headquarters in San Carlos, Calif. Engines are manufactured at
Tesla’s facility in Taiwan, and assembly takes place at Tesla’s
plant in England.
Eberhard and Tarpenning provided the early funding for the company,
and were joined in 2003 by Musk, CEO of SpaceX, who is the major
investor in the company and serves as Chairman of Tesla Motors.
Musk worked with Eberhard and Tarpenning to attract more investors
and approach Venture Capital firms, and in June 2006, Tesla Motors
announced that the company had secured and additional $40 million in
financing led by Musk and VantagePoint Venture Partners, one of the
largest CleanTech investors in the Silicon Valley.
Deliveries of the Tesla Roadster are expected to begin next summer.
About Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors was founded
in July 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning to create
efficient electric cars for people who love to drive. The Chairman
of Tesla Motors, a privately held company, is Elon Musk, who has
lead or co-led all three rounds of investment resulting in $60
million in funding. Mr. Musk has been instrumental in both corporate
and product development at Tesla Motors.
The company currently employs 70 people, including teams in
California, the U.K. and Taiwan. The background and experience of
Tesla's employees mirrors the vehicle itself, drawing from diverse
expertise in the electronics, automotive and Internet industries.
Tesla Motors creates vehicles that conform to all U.S. safety,
environmental and durability standards. Tesla's cars include modern
safety equipment such as airbags, front crumple zones, side impact
protection, and 2½ mph bumpers. Tesla will sell cars in the U.S.
only when they pass the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS).