Blog Post

Tesla Update: Permanent Transmission Not Til September

Even though Silicon Valley electric vehicle startup Tesla started “regular” production of its first vehicle, the Roadster, in March, it won’t be producing cars with the permanent transmission until September, the company said Thursday afternoon. Tesla also says that initial production of the Roadster has been going slower than anticipated, but that when the permanent transmission is ready in the following months, it will ramp up production.

Tesla has jumped a lot of hurdles when developing its transmission solution, using various suppliers, and eventually deciding to use an in-house technology. A relationship with powertrain and transmission supplier Magna Powertrain even resulted in a lawsuit that we reported about here. Magna is seeking $5.6 million from Tesla, or about 56 new Roadsters.

On the subject of the new powertrain dubbed “1.5,” which has the permanent transmission, the company’s blog reads:

We have the newly designed PEM (Power Electronics Module) running at the higher 850 amp level in a prototype car being used for durability and other testing…This new powertrain configuration is planned to be inserted into the production schedule in September, at about the 40th car. All cars produced prior to this switchover will be upgraded free of charge as previously discussed.

The company’s blog post also gives the latest update about the company’s production schedule:

In the past 2 months, we have moved more slowly than our planned pace of 1 car per week. At the time of this writing, we are preparing to put cars number 6 and 7 on the line. This is by our own doing, as we have identified and addressed some minor supplier issues and teething pains. We expect to get back on pace so have not changed the overall schedule.

Tesla’s transmission isn’t its only issue, nor is it the source of its only lawsuit. Electric vehicle competitor Fisker, which Tesla slapped with a lawsuit earlier this year for stealing trade secrets for design issues, said it has filed for arbitration to end the Tesla lawsuit. Fisker is trying to avoid a lengthy, expensive lawsuit.