So far, Tesla has been executing its planned strategy pretty well. The company said all along the goal was to produce lower cost vehicles; the first car would be expensive and then prices would slowly trickle downward as costs tumbled. Just one small problem: no money has been made yet. Tesla is hoping to change that with the Model S when it arrives this year.
The Roadster was Tesla’s first product, so it will always hold a certain cachet. Instead of keeping the Roadster in the lineup alongside the Model S (and upcoming Model X) though, the car is being phased out. That is thanks to a NHSTA exemption for low-volume automakers expiring, along with a lapse in the contract with Lotus to produce the “gliders”, as they are known.
Lotus has been responsible for production of the Roadster, assembling and building the cars sans their electric powertrains. Body parts are shipped from France to the United Kingdom where they are assembled by Lotus. Then, the assembled cars are sent to either either Palo Alto, California or a facility in UK where Tesla installs the electric powertrain. We’ve already seen the last of the Roadsters sold here in the United States, but a few continents get it for a while longer into 2012. They include Europe, Asia and Australia.
For its final run, Tesla has made the Roadster more suitable to extreme climates. The motor and inverter systems have been revised to perform better in cold snow climates, and inside there is a new, beefed up air conditioning system to better handle the heat.
Other changes include a rear snow cover, new front windshield seals to increase quietness, and Xenon headlights (apparently a first for the Roadster). Finally, there is three new colors – Cosmic Black, Galactic Gray and Magma Orange. 1,800 roadsters have been sold since production began, and Tesla is said to be preparing a new car, based on the Model S’ platform. That new Roadster is expected to surface in 2014.