Last Tesla Roadster Built By Lotus, All Eyes Toward Model S

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2011 Tesla Roadster Final Edition, photograph copyright Damon Lavrinc / AOL

2011 Tesla Roadster Final Edition, photograph copyright Damon Lavrinc / AOL

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All good things must come to an end, and it's the same with the first modern electric car, the already legendary Tesla Roadster.

It's long been known that Lotus Cars would build only 2,600 Roadster "gliders" for California-based Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA].

The company then installs the lithium-ion battery pack, electric drive motor, and power electronics into each one at its Menlo Park, California, dealership.

Now, the last Roadster has been assembled and the electric car that changed many critics' minds about plug-ins, spawned a Silicon Valley startup car company, and put electric cars back on the map with sex appeal in spades is heading into history.

Like many makers of pricey sports cars, Tesla revels in the higher sale prices that come from special editions. Its very first Roadsters were known as "Founder's Editions" back in 2008, and it's doing the same for its upcoming Model S all-electric sport sedan.

But the end of a model brings its own opportunities for special editions, and Tesla took advantage of that too. The last five two-seaters for each of its main markets--North America, Europe, and Asia--are designated Final Edition Roadsters.

The photo above, taken by our colleague Damon Lavrinc for an Autoblog article, shows the very last Roadster of the entire run, originally headed for Canada but now back in the U.S. market.

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

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There are no changes to the standard 2011 Tesla Roadster performance specs, but modifications include Atomic Red paint with dark silver stripes front and rear, plus anthracite aluminum wheels that are exclusive to the Final Edition.

Now all eyes turn to the 2012 Tesla Model S, for which the company released pricing and detailed specifications last week.

The first deliveries of the Model S, Tesla says, will occur "next summer." Technically, that could mean during the first nine days of summer at the end of June, but more realistically, we think they'll happen in July or August.

Pending further announcements from Tesla, of course.

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