The Tesla Roadster electric car is dead (see update below). Tesla Motors announced Thursday it would stop taking orders for the $109,000 vehicle in two months, concentrating instead on the development of its next-generation Model S electric car, a four-door sedan that will cost about half as much.
The iconic Tesla Roadster, now in version 2.5, has been a specialty two-seater from the get-go. It impressed reviewers with its snappy acceleration, sporty carbon-fiber body designed (update: and built) by Lotus, and relatively long 245-mile-rated range. But that $109,000 sticker price for the hand-built car — a “base price” that usually went much higher with sport options — proved too steep for the mass market.
For mainstream drivers, Tesla announced plans for a lower-priced electric car in 2008. The Model S will sell for around $57,400 (up from its previously announced $49,000) when it’s ready for sale in mid-2012, according toThe New York Times.
We caught our first glimpse of a flashy Model S prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show last January, where we were awestruck by its sleek design and huge instrument panel powered by an Nvidia graphics processor.
Update: While the Tesla Roadster as we know it is on its way out, a Tesla Motors spokesperson tells us “a version” of it is coming back: “The Roadster will always be the cornerstone of Tesla, and we look forward to bringing back a version of the supercar that takes full advantage of our advanced electric powertrain in the next several years.”