In an effort to get its electric sports car to market, Silicon Valley startup Tesla Motors has given the boot to the planned two-speed transmission, and decided to use a modified one-speed transmission instead. The company says the one-speed transmission will be combined with an enhanced power electronics module that can deliver the same performance as the previously planned two-speed version, and can go from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds.
Tesla’s VP of sales, marketing & service, Darryl Siry, tells us that the new solution is simpler, more efficient and even cheaper. He also said the primary reason for the design change is to get the car finished and to its waiting customers. The first of the long-delayed Roadsters will still have the interim transmission that we reported on in December, which has an acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds (instead of 4 seconds).
Anything that will help Tesla get the Roadster to market is a good thing. With CEO changes, employee cuts (a “bloodbath,” according to former Tesla CEO Martin Eberhard in a post that has since been modified), and more fundraising, the company has had its share of headaches over the past few months.
Tesla’s release also provides a date as to when the official production of the Roadster will start: March 17th. That’s production with the interim transmission, mind you, and Siry tells us that “at some point in the future that we have not fixed yet (we will communicate it as soon as we can), we will insert the new drivetrain configuration into production.”
In the meantime, the very first Roadster will arrive at Tesla Motors headquarters next week, where it will be delivered to Chairman Elon Musk. Given all of the company’s recent headaches, he’s earned it.