Right-hand-drive Teslas confirmed

* RHD Roadster in early 2010 * Sport version announced * More affordable models planned...

Right-hand-drive Teslas confirmed

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.