Having selected BorgWarner as the new supplier of gearboxes for its Roadster, and made some tweaks to its motor and electronics, the Tesla company says it is ready to move beyond--far beyond--the 27 units it has thus far delivered to customers. The production-ready one-speed gearbox, which can handle the greater torque (280 pound-feet) of a redesigned motor, works together with an improved power inverter to yield a Roadster with 30 percent more torque and 10 percent greater efficiency. That equates to a 23-mile addition to the original Roadster's claim of 221 miles between full charges, they say.
With the drive system presenting the last production hurdle for Tesla, the company plans to soon begin producing 10 vehicles per week, ramping up to as many as 40 per week by the first part of 2009.
If you are one of the first 27 with the original two-speed gearbox, deemed not durable enough by Tesla execs, never fear--Tesla will retrofit the new drive system to your existing vehicle at no charge. Meanwhile, if you're one of the very few customers to take delivery and drive your Tesla, we want to know how it's going. Tesla VCs, your votes do not count.
Click here for Tesla's full release.--Colin Mathews