Tesla Comes Home

In a surprising switch, Tesla Motors has announced it will build its next electric car model in its home state of California, lured by millions of dollars in state incentives. The start-up carmaker—a darling of the green tech movement—will now need to deliver on its promises, something that it has found difficult during its short existence. A little more than a year ago, Tesla had frustrated its California promoters, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger—who ordered one of the early model roadsters—by announcing a that it had chosen to assemble the car in New Mexico.

Tesla Motors told Hybridcars.com that it feels the close proximity of its manufacturing plant to engineers at its headquarters in San Carlos is a big plus for the company. The spokesman added that no site for the factory has been selected, but that it will likely be close to one of the bridges over the San Francisco Bay.

Tesla’s second car, called Model S, will be a five-passenger sedan that they plan to introduce in 2010 at a retail price of $60,000. That’s slightly higher than the initial target price the company announced when it first began talking about the model, as happened with its roadster. Model S will use technology from Tesla’s first model, a $109,000 roadster that just began deliveries earlier this year. The roadster is assembled in a Lotus factory in England, and uses a modified Lotus Elise chassis, augmented by Tesla’s proprietary electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack.

Tesla will need to ramp up its manufacturing proficiency as it moves on to this higher volume model. Followers of Tesla will remember that the roadster was delayed several times and has seen its initial deliveries trickle out rather slowly. In addition to production setbacks, the company has battled quality issues with some of its components—most notably its transmission, which it is in the process of redesigning. Tesla hopes to start putting the new transmissions—and some other upgrades—into roadsters before the end of this year’s production.


  • Anonymous

    In the near future the large auto manufactures will be competing in the market w/ Tesla and some say already that the Chevy Volt is far better then their roadster model in technology(?) and price. I hope Tesla is around for a along time and doesn’t go under in 5-7 years. Their engineers are going to have a uphill battle to reduce prices, ramp production, reduce car part problems and compete w/ large manufactures, Lexis/BMW or lower end like Chevy/Toyota markets.
    I would wait and see how they do against competition before I invested in Tesla

  • simpskillet

    Wrong picture and late delivery of this news.

  • J-Bob

    Anonymous..
    I wouldn’t go that far, since most of the specs for the Volt are still unknown. Plus it is still not a pure electric car, it can only go 1/5th the range of the Tesla on pure battery power alone. If they were to provide the same range, there’s a good chance the price would be comparable.

    simpskillet..
    Simps right.. that’s Fiskers concept car, not the one they designed for Tesla (and the reason why Tesla sued them).

  • Skeptic

    Tesla is delivering customized Lotuses? Really.

    Are they any good?

    Do they have any of the features they’ve been touting to investors or is it just an electric Lotus?

  • Paul Rivers

    “some say already that the Chevy Volt is far better then their roadster model in technology(?) and price”

    Being that, although late, Telsa is actually shipping out real actual cars to actual people, and the Volt is still on the drawing board, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a car from Telsa is “already” a far better model. :-P

  • Dag Johansen

    Tesla, Aptera, Th!nk, and other electric car companies really need to start pumping these cars out. There are waiting lists for all of them. Of those 3 companies only Tesla has delivered cars in the USA . . . a whole 5 cars.

  • Need2Change

    Comparing a Tesla to a Volt is like comparing a Corvette to a Malibu.

    2 versus 5 seats.
    4 second 0-60 mph versus 8 second
    sports car versus family car

    It would be better to compare a Corvette to the Tesla

    And compare the Volt to a Malibu.

  • PW

    I don’t think we have anything to worry about from GM. The Volt is all media hype and talk like GM has done so many times in the past. They still have no high milage car to show for all their press coverage of the past. Maybe now that gas is over $4.00 a gallon and GM’s sales of their gas hogs has dropped off drastically. They will actually make a high mileage car. Wouldn’t it be nice if GM actually mass produced the Volt, and priced it so that regular people could afford it. I guess we can all dream but until GM actually makes the volt and ramps up production, its just talk and lies.

  • eddie

    Forget these companies (altho I adore the Tesla Roadster).
    BUILD YOUR OWN
    I modified my Toyota pick up. Looks uglier than GWB. But it gets me to work and back twice before I need to plug it in.

  • Jeff

    eddie: Where can we learn more about your electric Toyota pick-up?

  • Mercedes Parts Blog

    Hey nice article about Tesla. Can i have this reposted at Mercedes Parts Blog? I’ll credit this site. Thanks.

    -John