The Tesla roadster, a Silicon Valley darling and sports car that is fully powered by Li-ion batteries, may see a delivery delay, according to a post at Jalopnik.
Chief executive Martin Eberhard (who is leaving this position to become "president of technology" at the company) noted in a email to customers that the company is "still planning to start production of the Roadster by the end of next month and deliver the first cars to customers this fall." While he wrote that there is a "good chance of meeting this goal," he also mentioned that "it is not yet fully within [Tesla's] grasp."
Apparently, Tesla is still deep into crash and durability testing the car at this time. Once the company enters production, according to Eberhard, the first cars will be built "very slowly" (one per week) and ramp from there. Considering that it takes five weeks to ship the car from the U.K. (where it will be built) September production start translates into an early November delivery of the first car to a customer.
Tesla aims to deliver 100 "Founders' Series" cars in 2007, 100 "Signature" cars in Q1 2008 and other customers' cars after Q1. According to the company, 550 cars have been reserved to date. Customers include California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver as well as Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
The roadster is powered by 6831 Li-ion battery cells (11 621-cell packs), weighing about 450 kg or 993 lb. The power plant delivers 248 hp and 185 kW (200 kW during peak acceleration) to take the car within four seconds from 0 – 60 mph to a claimed top speed of 135 mph. The batteries require about 3.5 hours for a full charge and are promised to deliver enough juice for about 200 miles.
If you order the car now, you can expect delivery by July 2008 according to Tesla's website – if you are willing to shell out $50,000 as a down payment now. The total price for the car will be somewhere in the range between $98,000 and $107,000 depending on how frequently you check items on the options list.