If you’ll recall, when the Tesla Roadster finally started rolling off the production line, the company promised that the transmission shipped with the car was not the final edition. Anyone who took delivery of the car in that first run would be eligible for a free gearbox upgrade — as soon as Tesla figured out what that would be.
The gearbox prize goes to supercar parts supplier BorgWarner. The 27 current Tesla Roadster owners can ship their cars back to the factory in California for an upgrade, which delivers 30% higher torque (in a car that already had plenty) and an EPA-calculated range of 244 miles on a single charge.
The gearbox Tesla planned to use at first turned out to be not so durable under the high-torque conditions generated by an electric supercar. The new BorgWarner setup has a single-speed gearbox.
Tesla says the new gearbox was the final hitch in production (we’ll see about that), and that it plans on upping its weekly production from 10 to 20 in the next few months. It wants to be churning out 40 per week by early 2009. Right now, it takes about six weeks from ordering a roadster to taking delivery and driving it away.