The Tesla Roadster hasn't been front-page news for electric cars in a while, now that several mass-market family electric cars have launched.

So as Tesla moves its focus to the upcoming Model S electric sedan, production of its first electric model is beginning to wind down as planned, so supplies are getting short.

There is only a "handful of cars" left for U.S. buyers, according to Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, in an interview with SF Gate. European and Japanese buyers "probably have another six months to place orders" for the Roadster, but it's only "a month or two" in the States.

Tesla unveiled the first prototype of its Roadster in July 2006. The production Roadster was one of the first street-legal all-electric vehicles that showed electric vehicles could be more than plastic golf carts or production cars modified by garage tinkerers.

Regular production of the Tesla Roadster began in 2008, and prices today start at $109,000. Tesla decided to go after the high-end market for its first electric vehicle, and it successfully captured the green sector of celebrity market, with buyers including such luminaries as Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The last few Tesla sports cars are the redesigned 2011 Roadster 2.5 model, which featured a retooled look and a quieter cabin.

The Roadster has a 215-kilowatt motor and a 53-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that gives it a stated range of 245 miles. It is also a bona fide electric sports car, with a 0-to-60-mph time of 3.7 seconds for the high-performance Roadster Sport model, as well as a top speed limited to 125 mph.

Tesla Model S Alpha build

Tesla Model S Alpha build

Headquartered in Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley, Tesla is switching its manufacturing focus to a full production run of its upcoming four-door sedan, the 2012 Tesla Model S.

The electric-car company is also looking to expand its line of electric vehicles further, with a crossover concept vehicle called the Model X expected to be unveiled this fall.

[SF Gate]


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