Click above for high-res image gallery of Jason's Tesla Roadster

One of the long-time keys to profitability in the car business is the up-sell. The extended warranties, under-coating, improved audio systems, wheels, pin-stripes and so on. It looks like Tesla Motors is no exception. The company has just sent out an update to owners and those on the waiting list outlining some of the new optional extras that are now available. There is the usual assortment of interior and exterior trim upgrades. There are also a couple of warranty options. One is a $5,000 extended warranty that covers everything but the battery for an extra two years or 24,000 miles. Considering that the mechanical simplicity of electric drive systems is considered one of the big selling points of EVs, one might be surprised that the original warranty on a Roadster is only two years to begin with. An extra two years of coverage for five grand seems rather steep.

The other surprise is a pre-paid battery replacement deal. The current cost of replacing the Roadster battery pack is $30,000! That may be the first time that Tesla has publicly acknowledged the replacement cost of the battery. Owners can now pre-pay for a replacement battery pack at a cost of only $12,000. Tesla has previously said the Roadster pack should last five years, but is now quoting seven years. It's not clear what kind of condition they expect the battery to be in after seven years. Considering these are laptop cobalt oxide cells and the pack is being cycled through most of its range, odds are it won't be anywhere near full capacity. If the batteries need replacement before the cost can be driven down, this deal could end up costing Tesla a lot of money.

  • No. 2 - Tesla Roadsters are in production, albeit in small numbers still, and the company is still with us (for now at least). We've driven it and it's a wonderful sports car - even disregarding the powertrain. Factor in that electric drive and it's amazing. Unfortunately, recent financial issues have threatened the company's future. The investors seem committed to making Tesla survival so far.

Photos copyright ©2008 Drew Phillips, Sam Abuelsamid, Sebastian Blanco / Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Jason Calacanis]

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