Tesla celebrated the start of the 2011 Detroit Auto Show today by announcing that it had now sold over 1,500 of its iconic electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster. 

It was November 18, 2006 when we were first shown the sexy two-door car that very few believed could be as good as the then unknown silicon valley startup claimed.  

Just like the 2011 Nissan LEAF, initial production of the Tesla Roadster was slow: in the first two months of production in 2008, only three cars were built. 

Fast-forward a little under 3 years and the firm has gone global, with Tesla-owned showrooms in the North America, Europe and Asia.  There are Teslas in more than 30 countries, from the frozen Arctic of Narvik Norway to the South Pacific. 

Tesla Roadster - Gran Turismo 5

Tesla Roadster - Gran Turismo 5

The 1,500 cars Tesla has delivered have driven a combined total of 8.5 million miles, saving 415,000 gallons of gasoline. 

At last year’s Detroit Auto Show, Tesla VIN 1000, the 1,000th production roadster to be built, arrived in time to be displayed on Tesla’s stand after taking part in a mammoth road-trip from California to Detroit. 

Tomorrow at the Detroit Auto Show, Tesla will officially unveil the ‘alpha build’ of its 2012 Model S Sedan, a seven seat luxury car which Tesla hopes will carry on the company name and reputation into a whole new market segment.