Tesla Motors' first production vehicle, the Tesla Roadster, was an all-electric sports car. The Roadster was the first highway-capable all-electric vehicle in serial production for sale in the United States in the modern era. The Roadster was also the first production automobile to use lithium-ion battery cells and the first production BEV (all-electric) to travel more than 200 miles (320 km) per charge. Since 2008 Tesla sold more than 2,400 Roadsters in 31 countries through September 2012. The remaining cars were available for sale only in Europe and Asia, and most of the remaining Roadsters were sold during the fourth quarter of 2012
The car had a range of 245 miles (394 km) per charge on average according to testing done by Tesla. On Oct. 27, 2009, the Roadster driven by Simon Hackett drove the entire 313-mile (504 km) segment of Australia's annual Global Green Challenge on a single charge, at an average speed of 25 mph (40 km/h). The Tesla Roadster can accelerate from zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) in under 4 seconds and has a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h). The base price of the car is US$109,000 (€84,000 or GB£87,945). The Roadster Sport price started at US$128,500 in the United States and €112,000 (excluding VAT) in Europe. Deliveries began in July 2009. The Roadster Sport was the first derivative of Tesla’s proprietary, patented powertrain.
The Roadster Sport has been acclaimed by Engineering Editor Kim Reynolds of MotorTrend, which recorded a 0–60 mph of 3.70 seconds and a quarter-mile test at 12.6 sec @ 102.6 mph (165.1 km/h). Reynolds called the acceleration "breathtaking" and said that the car's sales confirm "Tesla as an actual car company… Tesla is the first maker to crack the EV legitimacy barrier in a century."
Prototypes were introduced to the public in July 2006, and the Tesla Roadster was featured on the cover of Time in December 2006 as the recipient of the magazine's "Best Inventions 2006—Transportation Invention" award. The first "Signature One Hundred" set of fully equipped Roadsters sold out in less than three weeks, the second hundred sold out by October 2007, and general production began on March 17, 2008.
Since February 2008, when production first began, two new models were introduced, one in July 2009, and another in July 2010. Both new models featured various upgrades. In January 2010, Tesla began producing its first right-hand-drive Roadsters for the UK and Ireland, then began selling them in mid-2010 in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.
Tesla produced the Roadster until early 2012, when its supply of Lotus Elise gliders run out, as its contract with Lotus Cars for 2,500 gliders expired at the end of 2011. Tesla stopped taking orders for the Roadster in the U.S. market in August 2011. Featuring new options and enhanced features, the 2012 Tesla Roadster was sold in limited numbers only in Europe, Asia and Australia. The next generation is expected to be introduced in 2014 and will be based on a shortened version of the architecture developed for the Tesla Model S.
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