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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Comments (6)
  1. Just as the Tesla roadster was the first electric car to demonstrate parity (and better) performance WRT gas powered sport and muscle cars, the Model S will undoubtedly be the first electric that can best the upper priced performance/luxury cars from BMW, Jaguar and MB across all measures of performance and luxury, and do so with near parity pricing. Obviously battery initial costs and overall costs (due to their relatively abbreviated lifespans) preclude any practical EVs in the mass market arena for now, the Model S demonstrates, thru its elegant (non-GM) mechanical design and excellent (non-GM) styling, just exactly why electrics are inherently better vehicles. Just wait till von Holzhausen pens Tesla's new in-house roadster design.

  2. The original Tesla Roadster will be remembered as thee pioneer in modern electric cars. It was the first production electric car with the kind of range most people are looking for and was not merely dressed up to look like a sports car. And I do believe it changed the way many people think of electric cars.

  3. Agreed. I think this will go down in history as a classic car that changed the game.

  4. The first roaster, I thought was the perfect sports car. Now that it is gone, the only other car that even comes close to being a sports car is Fisker's. I am surprised that Tesla gave the Model S such a common design. There is nothing unique about it that sets it apart from all the other cars that says it is a Tesla. I think that the Model S just may end up being the best electric car in America if Ford doesn't come out with something incredible.

  5. Are you kidding! Fisker is well ahead and not with image of only 2600 limited cars with limited miles. and now coming out with a S car that looks like a Buick, Fisker is the real thing!!! elegance and power.

  6. The Model S is very good looking, the Fisker Karma looks like an Aston Martin and the Model S looks like a Maserati. But the Karma is no sports car it only looks like a sports car. The Karma drives like a BMW 7-series, but the Karma is slower, when I drove the Karma I liked how it handled but it is slow. @Mike, yes the Karma is elegant but there is little power, it's a cruiser not a sports car it's just too slow. And yes the Tesla Roadster was a limited production car but it's mileage is not, if you have range anxiety that's your problem.

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