For the Model S and future programs, Tesla's engineers have reconfigured the battery pack to make it more practical for different body configurations. The Roadster's pack is upright and sits in the middle of the car behind the passenger compartment. For the new car, a low-slung pack that fits under the floor will be used. When we contacted Siry he declined to comment on whether Tesla would continue to use the laptop type cells for the new pack or switch to one of the new larger format cells being designed for automotive use. The under-floor setup mirrors the configuration being used by many other EV manufacturers. Continue reading after the jump.
[Sources: AutoCar, CAR, Tesla Motors]
This setup will allow the platform to be used for other future configurations. Contrary to what is being reported by AutoCar, Tesla has no plans to build an SUV or CUV off this architecture, although it would be possible to do so. Siry showed design sketches of the Model S to both AutoCar and CAR although he has declined to let them out of his hands, so we won't get to see them until we get in the same room again. Based on what they were told, AutoCar got the impression that Tesla was building a coupe-like four door (similar to the Mercedes CLS) by about mid-decade.
In fact, according to Siry, that car is in fact the Model S which is scheduled to launch production in 2010 (hopefully going more smoothly than the Roadster launch). The Model S will actually be a coupe-like hatchback with a base range of 160 miles and optional larger battery packs taking the range to 220 or 300 miles. Contrary to what CAR is reporting, the Model S was never going to be built in Mexico. The original plan was to build it in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tesla recently changed direction and will instead build a factory somewhere in the San Francisco Bay area closer to its San Carlos headquarters.