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Tesla Extends Production Contract with Lotus

Tesla Motors originally signed a production contract with Group Lotus good through March 2011, but the two automakers revealed they've extended the deal to keep the electric Roadster in production through December 2011.

Tesla faces at least a one-year hiatus in Roadster production, mostly because of tooling changes orchestrated by one of its suppliers. In order to fulfill customers' orders during the shutdown, Tesla approached Lotus about extending the initial production run. As a result, the factory in Hethel, England, will continue producing the Roadster through December of next year, and will ultimately produce another 700 cars.

As has always been the case, Lotus will continue to produce "gliders" for Tesla. Completed Roadsters leave the factory in Hethel, England, virtually ready to run, but are devoid of the hallmark electric powertrain. The cars are then shipped to Tesla's facility in Menlo Park, California, where the batteries, motor, and other powertrain componentry are installed as part of final assembly.

Although the company will use the break in production to focus on launching its Model S electric sedan, the Roadster won't fade into the background. Tesla plans to launch a revised Roadster, but only after the S makes its way into production. Expect a revised car to emerge by 2012 at the earliest.

Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required)