Tesla RoadsterEnlarge Photo
The Silicon Valley’s automaker, Tesla Motors, has no plans to use a Ford platform for its upcoming electric-powered luxury sport sedan.
That’s what the company says, though it runs contrary to several speculative sources, including Ward’s, which had recently suggested that Tesla Motors might be planning to use Ford’s CD3 platform as the basis for its upcoming sedan, so far termed the WhiteStar project.
Vehicle structures could be quite easily transported from the Ford plant in Hermosillo, just south of the border, Ward’s suggested, where the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, and Lincoln MKZ — all CD3 vehicles — are assembled.
Regarding this speculation, Tesla Motors’ spokesman David Vespremi declared that the company will not share platforms with any major automaker. “I can confirm that we used some Ford products on the Roadster, but to the notion that we would use an entire chassis, or body of a car, the answer is no,” said Vespremi.
Production is ramping up this year on the company’s first product, the Roadster, a limited-volume sports car based on the Lotus Elise. The Roadster can do 0-60 mph in four seconds and reach a top speed of 130 mph — and also has a standout range of up to 250 miles, due to the use of lithium-ion batteries.
“We are not going to use someone else’s platform” for larger scale products like WhiteStar, said Vespremi, who explained that with that project, the automaker is “…going to operate as any other major car manufacturer…Our business model is to bring more capabilities in house and do more ourselves.”
Vespremi said that means the company plans to conduct its own business not with other automakers themselves, but with many of the same suppliers that major automakers use. “We hope to forge some of those same relationships,” he said.
Ground is set to be broken next month on the $35 million facility in Albuquerque, which would employ up to 400 people and assemble thousands of sedans each year, beginning in calendar year 2009. Earlier this year, the automaker opened a technical center in Rochester Hills,Michigan.
The result of the WhiteStar project, Tesla says, will sell at a price of $50,000 to $65,000, depending on equipment, and will compete with luxury sport sedans from BMW, Infiniti, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz.
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