The skinny is that Tesla is having a difficult time developing a transmission strong enough to "survive the process of shifting gears while the motor remains at full torque", according to our own Sam Abuelsamid who has been following the Roadster's development from Day 1 and has actually rode shotgun in it. Two suppliers are currently working simultaneously to find a solution. Meanwhile, the company has gone ahead and built the first production model at the Lotus factory in Hethel, England. The first car belongs to Elon Musk, Chairman of the company and one of its initial investors. His car is fitted, however, with a transmission that he knows will fail in a few thousand miles.
Tesla also revealed that it is considering shipping some preordered Roadsters to customers early with similar transmissions that will be temporary and later replaced with the stronger transmission once it's developed. For those really eager to own a Tesla Roadster, this might be an option, but would you want to drive around a car with a gearbox that was guaranteed to fail after a few thousand miles?
Also of note is that the Tesla Roadster's range estimate has fallen a bit again from a previously reported range of 245 miles to something in the 220- to 230-mile range. Still impressive, but let's hope it doesn't fall any further.
Click here to read more about the town hall meeting over at AutoblogGreen.
Gallery: Riding in the Tesla Roadster