Tesla Roadster speeds silently into the sunset

As planned, the last Roadster rolled off the production line at Tesla Motors this month. The Silicon Valley startup built 2,600 of the all-electric two-seaters, installing a lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor into a glider manufactured by Lotus. As reported by Autoblog, Tesla tricked out the last few units as a Final Edition – bright red with dark silver stripes and anthracite aluminum wheels.

The Roadster is a major milestone for several reasons – it was the first production EV of the modern era, and the first EV to be marketed the way most gas cars are – as a fun and sexy indulgence rather than a virtuous and sensible sacrifice.

Its place in automotive history assured, Tesla turns its full attention to its next product, which has the potential to be just as groundbreaking. This month the company released a list of options and prices for the new Model S sedan, which should hit US highways in fall of 2012. Prices start at $57,400 for the basic trim, and approach 100 grand for a Performance model, with an 85-kWh battery that gives it an unprecedented 300 mile-range.

 

Image: Tesla