Tuesday, September 29, 2009

tesla motors: new models for its electric cars

Tesla Motors has secured a low-interest $350 million loan under the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program. The program, created as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and appropriated in the fall of 2008, is unrelated to the current stimulus or “bailout” package of some American automakers. The goal of the bipartisan ATVM is to accelerate the production of fuel-efficient vehicles for mainstream Americans and reduce the nation’s dependence on oil. The new loan from the DOE will enable Tesla to accelerate the production of fuel-efficient vehicles using their existing platform all electric power train of the S model by expanding upon it to create an all-electric family sized minivan, a crossover SUV, and a utility fleet van.

With the DOE loan, Tesla joins Ford and Nissan as the first recipients of federal loans designed to move America’s car companies toward more fuel-efficient technology. No funds have been dispensed yet, but Tesla has big plans for its taxpayer injection, most importantly the development of an assembly plant for the Model S sedan (the first actual mass-production car from the company) in Southern California and a powertrain manufacturing facility in Northern California, which combined should employ about 1,650 workers. Tesla unveiled the Model S sedan in March, but so far there's no word on when it will hit showrooms.

Tesla hopes their platform power train could be adopted or licensed in a sense by other manufacturers, saving them the time and cost of developing their own technology. This could help large entities like utilities or municipal governments save big money while drastically reducing carbon emissions.

With a range of 244 miles (on electricity only), the Tesla Roadster is six times as efficient as a gasoline car, and twice as efficient as a Prius. Now that the Roadster has proven Tesla’s powertrain works, if the company can flip that technology into mass-marketable vehicles.

Their power train manufacturing facility in Northern California, already sell EV components to Daimler, which will soon begin marketing an electric version of its popular and affordable Smart car.
via Treehugger

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