Tesla finishes development of new drivetrain, ready to start building real cars

It looks like the wait might soon be over for aspiring Tesla Roadster owners as the company has just announced that it has completed validation of the upgraded drivetrain 1.5. Tesla has so far delivered 27 cars to customers with the interim drivetrain and another 23 cars are in progress. According to Tesla SVP Darryl Siry, 11 more cars will have the interim drivetrains installed for initial delivery. From that point on, within the next 2-3 weeks, the company will start installing the new drivetrains - including the upgraded motor, power electronics and single speed gearbox. For production, veteran transmission manufacturer BorgWarner will build the gearboxes for Tesla. Over the last several months, Tesla has been testing cars with the same transmission design manufactured both by BorgWarner and in-house at Tesla but ultimately chose BorgWarner.

Now that the powertrain is ready, Tesla will ramp production starts from four cars per week to ten per week. By next March, Tesla hopes to be up to 40 cars per week. The upgrades mean the Roadster's motor now goes from 211 to 280 lb-ft of torque, while the range also increases by ten percent to 244 miles. Over the coming months, the 38 cars that are delivered with interim powertrains will also be retrofitted with the new hardware. Sounds like it's time for another Tesla Roadster drive.

[Source: Tesla Motors]

Tesla Motors Selects BorgWarner for Production of New Gearbox for Tesla Roadster

Deliveries of 27 Roadsters Completed to Date, Production and Delivery of Roadsters To Accelerate With Final Powertrain Solution

SAN CARLOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tesla Motors Inc. has selected BorgWarner Inc. for the production of a single-speed gearbox for the Tesla Roadster and is initiating a ramped-up production rate. So far, 27 customers have taken delivery of Roadsters.

Tesla engineers developed the specifications for the new gearbox and provided them to BorgWarner. The new gearbox is an integral part of an enhanced powertrain with significant performance and efficiency improvements. The new powertrain delivers about 30% higher motor torque on a single gear ratio, and it achieves a 10% higher EPA combined range.

"Last December, when the two-speed transmission designed by a previous supplier proved not to be durable, we announced we would modify our approach," said JB Straubel, Chief Technology Officer of Tesla Motors. "By using a more powerful inverter and an enhanced motor design, we were able to implement a single-speed gearbox and still achieve our original performance goals. In fact, the new setup is superior in almost every way."

The new gearbox is designed for the higher peak torque levels of the new Roadster powertrain, which has increased from 286 Newton-meters (211 foot-pounds) to 380 Newton-meters (280 foot-pounds). The new powertrain achieves an EPA combined range of 244 miles on a single charge, up from Tesla's previously announced EPA range of 221 miles.

Production of Tesla Roadsters began in March, and the first vehicles were built with an interim transmission design. Customers who own Roadsters with the interim transmission can have their powertrain upgraded free of charge.

Tesla Motors starts production of 10 new Roadsters each week. Customers typically take delivery four to six weeks after production begins. The company expects production starts to ramp up to at least 20 vehicles per week within a few months and 40 per week by early 2009.

"Successfully implementing the new gearbox in less than a year was an incredible technical challenge and huge accomplishment for Tesla's engineers," said Ze'ev Drori, Chief Executive Officer of Tesla Motors. "Now that we have a final powertrain design, in a matter of months there will be hundreds of Tesla Roadsters across the country. We're heralding nothing less than a new era of the automobile."

About Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors develops and manufactures electric vehicles with exceptional design, performance and efficiency, while conforming to all U.S. safety, environmental and durability standards. The Tesla Roadster is the only highway-capable production electric car of any kind for sale in the United States. With a 0 to 60 mph acceleration of 3.9 seconds, a 14,000 rpm redline, and the fastest top gear acceleration of any production car tested by Car & Driver magazine in 2007, the Tesla Roadster is unique in providing super car performance, zero emissions and extraordinary efficiency. For more information, visit www.teslamotors.com.

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