Tesla moves forward with Whitestar sedan, opens new R&D center in Michigan

Tesla, the company behind the amazing Tesla Roadster capable of going 250 miles on a single charge and hitting 60 mph in around 4 seconds, seems to be progressing cautiously with plans for its next model, an all-EV sedan codenamed Whitestar. The fledgling automaker is apparently planning for the long-term and has already opened the doors on a new engineering center in Rochester Hills, MI. Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm has also lobbied Tesla hard to locate its future production facility in the Wolverine state.

Read more after the jump.

Also check out this great post on AutoblogGreen where the Tesla Roadster meets the Chevy Volt for the first time.

[Source: AutoblogGreen, The Detroit Free Press via Winding Road]

The Car Connection had reported last week that the dozen or so engineers at Tesla's new engineering center were working on a sedan crossover vehicle, which would be contrary to prior reports that Whitestar would simply be a sedan. Sebastian Blanco of AutoblogGreen got to the heart of the matter by picking up the phone and ringing our friends at Tesla, who denied TCC's report and confirmed again that its next vehicle will be a 4-door, 5-passenger sedan. A crossover wouldn't be that far-fetched, especially considering Lotus' involvement in the design and production of the Roadster and the fact that last year it debuted the Lotus APX crossover concept that utilizes aluminum extensively throughout its structure to keep weight down.

Tesla's engineers in Michigan will be working feverishly, however, to get Whitestar ready, as the company has announced it plans to debut the car in three years. That sort of time frame is hard enough for major automakers to work within, let alone a startup that's got only one model costing over $90,000 on back order. Nevertheless, the Tesla Roadster has so far lived up to the hype that grew before its unveiling, so we have faith the sedan will deliver the goods, as well.

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