Click above for high-res gallery of the Tesla Roadster

The Tesla Roadster launch has been anything but silky-smooth, but the upstart EV automaker hopes its problems are in the rear view mirror with the completion of Drivetrain 1.5, which includes an upgraded electric motor and swapping the original two-speed automatic transmission for a Borg Warner-sourced one speed. The changes will improve the Tesla Roadster's instant torque from 211 to 280 lb-ft while also improving its range by 10% to a shockingly impressive 244 miles.

Drivetrain 1.5 also means Tesla can finally ramp up production of its well-publicized roadster. Within the next few weeks, Tesla will begin producing 10 Roadsters per week. By next March, that number will increase to 40 samples per week, which will go a long way toward satisfying demand for the sexy EV. The new, upgraded Drivetrain 1.5 is so much better than the mechanicals it replaces, Tesla will keeps its promise and retrofit the 38 models already produced and delivered with the new equipment. Hit the jump to view Tesla's official press release.


[Source: Autoblog Green]

PRESS RELEASE

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."


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