Right-hand-drive Teslas confirmed

  • RHD Roadster in early 2010
  • Sport version announced
  • More affordable models planned
Tesla Roadster
Tesla Roadster
Tesla Motors has revealed that right-hand-drive versions of its Roadster will go on sale in the first quarter of 2010.

The Roadster is currently poduced in left-hand-drive form only, but at the launch of its first European showroom in Knightsbridge, Tesla Motors' CEO Elon Musk said that the UK was a big market for the company, due to its 'strong green sensibilities'.

The switch-over wasn't too costly, he added, and was also important to appeal to other right-hand-drive markets such as Japan, Australia and India.

A Sport version of the Lotus Elise-based Roadster was also announced. It'll have 15% more power than the standard model, thanks to a more powerful electric motor. It will also gain an adjustable suspension system. Sport tyres, a wider track (the distance between the wheels on each side) and exposed areas of carbon fibre.

It's expected to command a $20,000 (around £12,132) premium; the standard model currently costs £94,000, so the car will tip the over the £100,000 barrier in the UK.

Tesla was also keen to point out that although the Roadster is based on the Elise, it shares only around 7% of components – the electric powertrain and extra 300kg in weight called for a major re-engineering of the car.

Tesla's model range will eventually include the Model S saloon. Its future looks assured, following the announcement that the US Government will loan Tesla $465 million to help develop it. Daimler has also recently acquired a 10% stake in Tesla Motors.

Profits from Tesla's current models will be used to develop more affordable electric cars for the future, Tesla says.

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