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Friday, September 19, 2008

Tesla Roadster to still be built in Hethel, UK , not US plant

SAN JOSE, California — Those who were wondering if the Tesla Roadster would be wearing a "Made in the U.S.A." label have the official word now: The electric-car startup will continue to assemble the two-seater at the Group Lotus factory in Hethel, U.K.

That news was part of a larger formal announcement that Tesla Motors plans to build a $250 million facility to make electric cars in Silicon Valley. Tesla spelled out that it will build the five-passenger Model S sedan here. "It is expected to have a base price of about $60,000 and get about 240 miles per charge with exceptional performance," the automaker said in a statement. "The first sedans will likely roll off the assembly line in late 2010. In a separate blog posting, Tesla President and CEO Ze'ev Drori said Tesla will be able to produce at least 15,000 sedans per year at the new factory and "up to 30,000 if we add a shift."

"The new corporate campus is tremendous news for Tesla, and it's just the latest in a string of positive announcements — a refreshing change of pace from the gloom and doom of Wall Street in recent weeks," Drori wrote. "Our success is proof that clean tech can really drive job creation in the 21st century."

Tesla also confirmed that is has delivered about 30 Roadsters so far. "About 1,200 people have put down deposits to reserve a Roadster," it said.

What this means to you: Tesla — basking in growth mode — has become a bright spot in an increasingly gloomy automotive landscape.