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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tesla Roadster Receives U.S. FMVSS Certification

The green-minded enthusiasts who have put down deposits on Teslas have one less concern weighing on their minds today. In the wake of recent organizational upheaval, Tesla Motors released some good news for those eagerly awaiting the electric sports car's pending introduction. After a final round of crash tests, the Tesla now meets U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). With that hurdle cleared, the car officially meets DOT and EPA requirements to be sold in the United States. Production is scheduled to begin March 17 of this year.

According to Malcolm Powell, Vice President of Vehicle Integration with Tesla, crash testing was only part of the gauntlet of tests the Tesla had to pass: windshield defrosting, mirror coverage and EPA Clean Air Act requirements were also necessary. Specific details of how well the carbon-fiber-bodied Tesla crashed haven't been released, but the company announced that it did pass and that the car has been approved for U.S. sale, thereby keeping the company on track to begin delivering cars as scheduled. Currently, the only mechanical change to the Tesla is a one-speed transmission that will be used on early production models. Acceleration is limited, from the blistering 4.0 second 0-60mph time promised to a more sedate 5.7 seconds, but the single-speed gearbox is reportedly more durable than the two-speed transmission that was originally planned. Tesla is in the process of developing the faster transmission for production but plans to begin limited production on schedule with the interim transmission.

Press Release

First production 2008 Tesla Roadster Imported – Series Production Begins in March

0. Tesla Motors has received all regulatory approvals to import the first production Tesla Roadster (“P1”) for sale. This includes all necessary EPA and DOT approvals, including completion of all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS.)
0. P1 will arrive at Tesla Motors headquarters next week for delivery to customer Elon Musk, Chairman of Tesla Motors.
0. Series production of the Tesla Roadster is scheduled to begin March 17th, 2008.
0. As communicated previously, early production units will be equipped with an interim transmission that meets durability requirements but limits acceleration to 5.7 seconds from 0 to 60 mph.
0. Separately, Tesla Motors engineers have designed a permanent solution for mass production that supports the original specification of 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds.
0. The planned solution has some very positive benefits for our customers. Instead of a complex 2-speed transmission design, Tesla will achieve the original performance goals with a simpler one-speed unit mated to a higher rated Power Electronics Module (PEM.) The existing motor will be modified to have advanced cooling capabilities to handle the additional power. The permanent transmission unit will be engineered to handle the higher torque of the powertrain.
0. The planned solution reduces program risk, provides better efficiency, lower weight, equal or better range, better thermal performance and quicker quarter mile acceleration due to the elimination of the need to shift gears.
0. The planned solution incorporates the latest developments of our powertrain team which has been continually improving on Tesla’s core technology.
0. Early production will proceed at a limited rate and then ramp up to full production when the permanent powertrain solution is production ready later this year.
The upgrade from the interim solution to the higher power, permanent solution will be provided to our customers free of charge when available later this year.


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