Contrary to earlier reports, electric car maker Tesla Motors will continue making Tesla Roadsters. The company has purchased an additional 100 “glider” chassis from Lotus to manufacture new Tesla Roadster cars, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The filing indicates that Tesla Motors will sell Roadsters through the first half of 2012. Tesla Motors has now purchased a total of 2,500 Lotus Elise chassis from Lotus. The company was planning to stop producing models in the next several months, according to earlier reports. The company’s chief executive, Elon Musk, said the company was on track to run out of Roadsters at the end of the year.
The car has proved somewhat popular because it’s a sporty model with one of the largest ranges for an electric car. It appeals to sports-car enthusiasts because it can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds and has a top speed of 125 miles per hour. But it does carry a hefty price tag of $109,000. The company said it had sold 1,650 Roadsters by the end of its most recent operating quarter.
The electric car maker is still working on its second car, the Model S sedan, which will be geared toward more casual car buyers and those buying electric cars for the first time.
The Model S costs a slightly more reasonable $57,000 before government incentives for purchasing an electric car. Tesla Motors added 900 new reservations for the Model S last quarter — which requires a cash down payment of $5,000 — bringing its total reservations for the Model S to 4,600. The production model will come out in the United States around summer next year, and then in Europe toward the end of 2012.
Tesla Motors’ cars have some of the largest plug-in electric car ranges. The Tesla Roadster can travel more than 200 miles before needing to recharge, and the Model S is expected to have a range of up to 300 miles between charges for the top-tier model. The Nissan Leaf — though much cheaper at $32,000 — can only travel around 100 miles before needing to recharge.
The company is also working on another electric car model, called the Model X, that’s geared toward car buyers interested in an SUV or a minivan. Details about the Model X have been scarce — one of the few facts known about it is that it will use the same power train as the Model S. The car should be unveiled at the end of the year, Musk said.
While the company said it was on track to be profitable in the future once it releases the Model S, it recently raised another $210 million to cover the costs of producing the Model X. Musk first indicated that Tesla Motors might raise additional funding for the Model X in the company’s most recent conference call to discuss its quarterly earnings.
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