The car was officially revealed to the public on July 19, 2006, in Santa Monica, California, at a 350-person invitation-only event held in Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport.
The San Francisco International Auto Show, held on November 18–26, 2006, was the Tesla Roadster's first auto show. Tesla Roadsters have been featured in numerous subsequent auto shows, including international shows in Los Angeles, Detroit and Frankfurt.
The first Tesla Roadster was delivered in February 2008 to Tesla co-founder, chairman and product architect Elon Musk. The company produced 500 similar vehicles through June 2009. In July 2009, Tesla began production of its 2010 model-year Roadster—the first major product upgrade since Tesla began production in 2008. Simultaneously, Tesla began producing the Roadster Sport, the first derivative of Tesla's proprietary, patented powertrain. The car accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in 3.7 seconds, compared to 3.9 seconds for the standard Roadster. Changes for the 2010 model-year cars include:
- An upgraded interior and push-button gear selector, including "executive interior" of exposed carbon fiber and premium leather, and clear-coat carbon fiber body accents.
- Locking, push-button glove box wrapped in leather.
- A centrally mounted video display screen to monitor real-time data, including estimated range, power regenerated, and the number of barrels of oil saved. This convenient screen is visible to the driver and passenger.
- Adjustable, custom-tuned suspension. The shock absorbers' response and anti-sway bars are manually adjustable.
- More powerful and immediate heating, ventilation and air-conditioning.
- More efficient motor and hand-wound stator. The new motor generates more kilowatts per amp—more mechanical power—than the predecessor.
- A suite of sound-deadening measures to dramatically reduce noise, vibration and harshness. For instance, engineers added pellets to a member of the chassis side rail. These pellets expand by 50 times original volume during the adhesive heating cycle to eliminate rattles.
All of these features, except for the motor were available either as standard or as add-on option for the non-sport model.
Beginning mid-March 2010, Tesla Motors, in an effort to show off the practicality of its electric cars, sent one of its Roadsters around the world. Starting at the Geneva auto show, the Roadster completed its journey upon its arrival in Paris on September 28, 2010.
In July 2010, Tesla introduced the "Roadster 2.5", the latest update of the Roadster. New features in Roadster 2.5 include:
- A new look, which includes a new front fascia with diffusing vents, and rear diffuser reflecting the future of Tesla design
- Directional forged wheels available in both silver and black
- New seats with improved comfort, larger more supportive bolsters and a new lumbar support system
- Power control hardware that enables spirited driving in exceptionally hot climates
- An optional 7" touchscreen display with back-up camera
- Improved interior sound reduction including new front fender liner material make the cabin quieter
The Roadster was the most expensive single prize ever offered to date on The Price Is Right, in a playing of Golden Road on April 22, 2010, in celebration of Earth Day. It was not won—according to the show, its price was US$112,845.
A Roadster is used as a promotional tool for sustainable energy.
Tesla produced the Roadster until January 2012, when its supply of Lotus Elise gliders ran 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. The next generation is expected to be introduced in 2014 and will not be based on the Lotus gliders but instead on a shortened version of the architecture developed for the Tesla Model S.Featuring new options and enhanced components, the 2012 Tesla Roadster is being sold in limited numbers only in Europe, Asia and Australia. Tesla's U.S. exemption for not having special two-stage passenger airbags expired for cars made after the end of 2011 so the last Roadsters cannot be sold in the American market. Also a total of 15 Final Edition Roadsters were produced to close the manufacturing cycle of Tesla's first electric car. As of June 2012 the car is still on sale in Europe and Asia until inventories are depleted.
Read more about this topic: Tesla Roadster
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