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Missed seeing the TAG Heuer Tesla Roadster in person at the Geneva motor show? You may still have a chance to do so, as the car is about to embark on a 24,000-mile, eight-month drive around the world.
Dubbed the “Odyssey of Pioneers,” the trip will be the first of its kind. Sure, EVs have made road trips before (in fact, a Roadster Sport recently made the trek from Los Angeles to Detroit), but never before has a zero emissions vehicle completed such a task. The car is poised to visit some 15 major cities and at least 150 smaller towns during the course of its journey.
The Roadster won’t be specially prepared for the journey. First shown at the Geneva motor show, the TAG Heuer car is primarily a cosmetic enhancement of the stock Roadster Sport. Apart from green and red mirrors, a swoopy grey paint scheme, and a special edition watchpiece mounted inside the car, the car is untouched.
The car is scheduled to embark on its first leg tomorrow, traveling 53 miles from Basel to Zurich in a convoy formed by 20 other Swiss Tesla owners. With a range of approximately 150 miles, the car will need to be charged nightly, which may create some issues in some remote parts of the world.
The journey is expected to take approximately eight months, and should it make it to Paris come October, it’ll be the star at a huge celebration.
Electric car purveyor Tesla filed paperwork for a $100 million IPO with the SEC earlier today, and after deeper perusal of the 173-page form S – 1, the company looks to be treading on extremely thin ice. The filing has revealed that not only will the company stop making its only car — the Lotus Elise-based Roadster — in 2011 because Lotus will be retooling its plant to make way for a new Elise/Exige line, but also that it has no solid agreements in place for further development or procurement of electric powertrain components with third-party suppliers. While the company hopes to have a new Roadster on the road by 2013, the discontinuation of the present car means Tesla would have no vehicle to sell for the better part of two years — unless of course its proposed Model S sedan magically appears in 2012.
The filing — specifically, the 39-page-long “Risk Factors” section — makes Tesla’s entire operation look quite shaky as it includes far more than the usual warnings about outside factors that could affect a company’s business.
It’s no secret that the future of the company rides on the success of the Model S and Tesla says that it already has 2000 orders. However, 2012 is less than two years away and the company still does not have a way of actually building the sedan. In fact, the company lists 11 assumptions that it’s operating under with regards to the launch of the Model S:
that we will be able to identify and secure an appropriate facility for the manufacturing of our Model S;
that we will be able to secure the funding necessary to build out and equip the manufacturing facilities in a timely manner, including meeting milestones and other conditions necessary to draw down funds under our loan facility with the DOE;
that we will able to develop and equip the manufacturing facilities for the Model S without exceeding our projected costs and on our projected timeline;
that the equipment we select will be able to accurately manufacture the vehicle within specified design tolerances;
that our computer aided design process can reduce the product development time by accurately predicting the performance of our vehicle for passing relevant safety standards, including standards that can only be met through expensive crash testing;
that we will be able to obtain the necessary permits and approvals, including those under the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as building and air quality permits, to comply with local zoning, environmental and similar regulations to operate our manufacturing facilities and our business on our projected timeline;
that we will be able to engage suppliers for the necessary components on terms and conditions acceptable to us and that we will be able to obtain components on a timely basis and in the necessary quantities;
that we will be able to deliver final component designs to our suppliers in a timely manner;
that we will be able to attract, recruit, hire and train skilled employees, including employees on the production line, to operate our Model S manufacturing facility;
that we will be able to maintain high quality controls as we transition to an in-house manufacturing process; and
that we will not experience any significant delays or disruptions in our supply chain.”
It generally takes established automakers that do not have to worry about supplier contracts, facility procurement, and government permits at least three years to bring a new vehicle to production, so we fail to see how Tesla is going to produce the Model S by 2012, barring a minor miracle. The company admits that it does “not have a full production intent prototype, a final design, a manufacturing facility or a manufacturing process.”
Furthermore, the production of the Model S also depends on Tesla finalizing a number of agreements with Daimler (which has a small stake in the company) that would result in the German automaker providing it with access to parts as well as engineering help. There are also clauses that would allow Daimler to terminate all of its agreements should current CEO Elon Musk leave the company or invest in another automaker.
Even if Tesla manages to overcome the multitude of hurdles in its way, it remains a mystery as to how it would make money in the time that passes between the end of the present Roadster and the launch of the Model S.
The full text of the SEC filing can be found HERE.
Tesla today announced that the 2012 Tesla Model S, due to launch next year, will indeed carry a base price of $49,900 following federal tax credits. The electric carmaker released the pricing news on its Web site in part to quell rumors that the all-electric sedan for every man — or at least every relatively well off man – might cost more than initially expected.
The price applies to the base model Model S, which will be equipped with the 40 kWh battery, which will boast an impressive estimated range of 160 miles on a single charge and a claimed 0-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds, according to Tesla. Standard equipment includes an impressive, huge 17-inch touchscreen infotainment system and the Model S rolls on 19-inch wheels. But before the base Model S arrives next winter, Tesla is rolling out its more expensive variants featuring bigger battery packs and extended range.
First on the production schedule is the Model S equipped with the 85 kWh battery, which will go on sale next summer with a price of $69,900 (after federal tax credits); it is expected to have a range of 300 miles. Model S sedans equipped with the 65 kWh battery pack will follow three-months later and should be able to travel 230 miles on a single charge; price is set at $59,900. Finally, a performance model fitted with the 85 kWh battery pack will cost $79,900. Tesla is estimating a 0-to-60 mph time of just 4.4 seconds for the top performer of the Model S bunch.
Tesla has also launched a dedicated website for the Model S, neatly laying out all the pricing, specs, and options. The rear facing seats, for example, will increase passenger capacity to seven and will set you back $1,500, as will the available panoramic roof. The site also includes information on the number of charging options that will be offered with the Model S.
Get the full details on the new Audi A3 e-tron electric car on the latest episode of Wide Open Throttle. Jeff Curry, Audi’s E-Mobility Marketing and Strategy representative, discusses Audi’s new EV.
Curry tells us that 17 A3 e-tron test vehicles are being launched in four select cities to see how they perform in real-world driving conditions. The production version should be ready in two years and will be based on the upcoming all-new A3. A plug-in hybrid should also arrive around the same time. In addition to the A3 e-tron, Audi is planning to test out the R8 e-tron later this year.
Lang also discusses her recent tour of Tesla Motors’ factory, where she drove the new Model S. She highlights a few viewer comments that show EVs still have a polarizing effect on the American public but mentions other deemed-to-fail technologies that have become an integral part of our lives. Watch the video and let us know if you agree with the comparisons Lang makes to the electric car.