Tesla makes 1000th electric car

* Important milestone for Lotus-based roadster * Four-door saloon less than three years away * More affordable smaller car to follow...

Tesla makes 1000th electric car

Tesla, the Californian company that makes an all-electric roadster based on the Lotus Elise, celebated an important milestone at the Detroit motor show the production of its 1000th car.

This time last year the total stood at only 150, but with 12 dealerships now open to sell the car including one in London's Knightsbridge things have really taken off, despite a price tag of around 90,000.

'We have sold cars in 19 countries and 43 states in the US,' said founder and owner Elon Musk.

Mass-market electric cars
The roadster is just a stepping stone to bigger things from Tesla, however. 'It was always intended as a car to showcase the technology. Our strategy is to get to mass-market electric cars,' said Musk.

Next up is the Model S, a large 35,000 four-door, five-seat all-electric saloon that has been touted round various motor shows in recent months. It's appearing at the Detroit show with a production-ready interior for the first time.

Musk hopes to have it in production within the next three years, and to eventually be making about 20,000 a year. 'We soon hope to make an announcement about the production location. The lease has been negotiated and we are just going through the final due diligence processes,' he said.

Musk also has plans for an 'affordable' smaller electric car to be produced at the rate of 200,000 a year. The target price is around $30,000 (20,000).

'We want to get to the third generation of vehicle as soon as we can and I would certainly hope to do so within four to five years,' he said.

No need for electric infrastructure
On the subject of an infrastructure to support recharging, Musk has some interesting theories. 'In the near-term there is no real need,' he claims.

'There is a moderate need for charge connectors (fast-charge facilities) and battery-stop stations on the highways, and there will be a need for an infrastructure in the future, but the cart must not come before the horse,' he said.

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