Peter Rawlinson custom-designed sports car - Click above for hi-res image

Peter Rawlinson might not be the most familiar name to green car fans, but he's been working on plug-in vehicles and in the auto industry for many years. Rawlinson, whose custom sports car is pictured above and who worked on the Th!nk City, just joined Tesla Motors as vice president and chief vehicle engineer. Rawlinson will now be responsible "for the technical execution and delivery of the Model S." Previously, Rawlinson worked on projects for Jaguar, Land Rover, Ford, Honda, BMW and Bentley and led vehicle engineering at Corus Automotive.

Tesla's other new hire is Henry Brice, who will become program director for the Model S. Brice has worked for Ford on the Fiesta, Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis, F-Series and Town Car Vehicle lines.

[Source: Tesla Motors]



PRESS RELEASE:

Tesla Motors Announces Senior Engineering and Manufacturing Executives
Auto Industry Veterans Join Tesla's Executive Team As Leading Electric Vehicle Maker Accelerates Development of Model S


SAN CARLOS, Calif., Oct. 1, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Two auto industry veterans with deep engineering and manufacturing expertise have joined the leadership team of Tesla Motors.

Peter Rawlinson, Vice President and Chief Vehicle Engineer, is responsible for the technical execution and delivery of the Model S, and for leading a world-class vehicle engineering team. He led vehicle engineering at Corus Automotive, an advanced engineering consulting firm. Rawlinson guided projects, including for the Jaguar X and F types; Land Rover Freelander and Discovery; Ford Fiesta; Honda Accord; BMW 5-Series; and Bentley Continental.

Rawlinson's work on the Think electric vehicle set a new world record for best crash safety performance in the subcompact vehicle class. In his spare time, he designed and constructed his own sports car, with an innovative and efficient structure that influenced a generation of production cars.

Rawlinson also spent nearly a decade at Jaguar, ascending to the position of principal engineer, working on advanced body structure design, layout and packaging, including crashworthiness. He was one of the first to apply computer-aided design to automotive engineering and was an integral part of the small team that advanced the integration of computer-aided-design with computer-aided analytical tools within a simultaneous engineering environment, a methodology he will apply and refine at Tesla. He has a mechanical engineering degree from Imperial College.

Henry Brice is Program Director for the Model S, the all-electric family sedan Tesla unveiled in March. Previously, Brice was assistant chief engineer of the North American Fiesta program at Ford, where he oversaw the production of 1.1 million cars annually. He served as assistant chief engineer for Ford's full-size sedan platform, including the Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Town Car Vehicle lines. He managed as many as seven product launches per year.

Brice's experience at Ford includes serving as program manager for Ford's highly profitable F-Series platform, including the all new SuperCrew, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. He delivered the SuperCrew faster than any prior program of comparable scope - an effort Ford highlighted as a "flawless launch". Brice also wrote the initial product concept documents and managed body construction on the Ford Escort and Mercury Tracer programs. These high-volume compacts launched at higher quality and lower warranty levels than the prior model -- an unprecedented achievement at Ford. Brice has bachelor's degrees in physics and engineering from Harvard and master's degrees in engineering and business from the University of Michigan

"It is truly an honor to work alongside Peter and Henry, who represent the best and the brightest of the automotive industry. Tesla is fundamentally about hardcore technology and beautiful design, which means building up Tesla's vehicle engineering and manufacturing capabilities to match our industry leading position in the electric powertrain subsystem," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. "Peter and Henry have engineered and manufactured some of the world's most recognizable and acclaimed vehicles -- from concept to assembly line. This is precisely the type of depth and breadth of expertise we are aggressively recruiting to ensure that the Model S will be a superlative product."

Tesla announced three other senior executive hires in the past month -- key strategists from Silicon Valley and the traditional automotive sector. Tesla has more than 150 job openings and is interviewing candidates at all levels.

In June, Tesla won approval from the Department of Energy for $465 million in low-interest loans to build a powertrain assembly plant in Northern California and manufacture the Model S in Southern California. Tesla anticipates the Model S start of production roughly two years from the initial loan disbursement, which is anticipated this fall.

Tesla achieved overall corporate profitability in July, thanks to strong demand for the Roadster all-electric sports car. The Roadster is faster than Porsche 911 or Audi R8 yet is twice as energy efficient as a Toyota Prius. With an EPA-estimated range of nearly 250 miles per charge, it costs less than $5 to refuel.

About Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors is the only automaker selling highway-capable electric vehicles. We have showrooms in New York, Seattle, London, West Los Angeles and California's Silicon Valley. Tesla will open stores in Chicago and Munich in the upcoming weeks, and it also plans stores in South Florida, Washington DC, Toronto and Monaco this year.

Tesla has delivered more than 700 Roadsters. The company's goal is to produce increasingly affordable cars -- relentlessly driving down the cost of EV technology. Tesla also sells patented power train components to other automakers, including the battery pack and charger for the electric Smart, built by German carmaker Daimler.

Teslas consume no gasoline, never need routine oil changes, and require far less maintenance than internal combustion engine vehicles, including hybrids. They qualify for numerous incentives, including a $7,500 US federal tax credit, sales tax waivers and credits in several states, and incentives throughout Europe. The Roadster has a dramatically lower total cost of ownership than conventional sports cars
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