It’s sleek. It’s fast. It’s environmentally friendly. And just three weeks after its debut, it’s sold out. Tesla Motors has sold all 100 models in its Signature One Hundred line of all-electric Roadsters. These stylish sports cars accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds, get the equivalent of 135 mpg, and can travel 250 miles on a single charge (see “Roadster Charges Up The Electric Car” at ED Online 13201).
“Our goal in designing the Tesla Roadster was to build a car with zero emissions that people would love to drive,” said Tesla Motors cofounder and CEO Martin Eberhard. “Each of our Signature One Hundred customers could drive any flashy, fast, gas-powered car they want. Instead they did the right thing, investing in an attractive car that uses no oil and is responsible for far fewer greenhouse gases than the alternatives.”
Each customer put down a $100,000 deposit to join the Signature One Hundred Club and reserve their Roadster, which will be delivered mid-2007. The limited edition automobile will include a personalized commemorative plaque signed by Tesla Motors’ principals, a special trim package, and all of the available options, such as a state-of-the-art navigation system and a hard top.
These customers include sports car aficionados, alternative energy advocates, technology enthusiasts, financiers, and celebrities. Actors George Clooney and Dennis Haysbert as well as former eBay officer Jeff Skoll have joined the club, as well as Eberhard and Tesla Motors’ chairman Elon Musk. But there’s more to the club’s goals than status and prestige.
“Customers of the Tesla Roadster are doing something really good that goes beyond just buying a sports car, because their purchase helps pay for development of our affordable, mass-market electric vehicles,” said Musk. The company is putting all of its available cash into R&D of its next project, an electric family sedan that should cost about half the price of the Roadster.
Musk expects Tesla’s eventual third car to be even more affordable, taking a step closer to mainstream success. And in addition to the next 100 Roadsters, Tesla is offering a modestly sized and priced home solar panel from SolarCity that can generate up to 50 miles of electricity a day. Tesla drivers who travel less than 350 miles per week would be putting energy back onto the grid while producing no greenhouse gases at all.