Tesla to produce zero-emission sedan in Silicon Valley image

Washington (AFP): Tesla Motors Inc. will build a 250 million dollar plant in California’s Silicon Valley to produce its new battery-powered sedan, the company said Wednesday.

Construction of the plant, about 20 minutes from Tesla’s headquarters in San Carlos, California, is set to begin in mid-2009, with the first sedans expected to be ready in late 2010.

Company leaders expect the initiative to help the company. “The company has clearly taken production of all-electric vehicles to the next level, and the Model S assembly plant will dramatically accelerate our growth,” Tesla chairman Elon Musk said in a statement.

The “Model S” car is a five-passenger sedan run by a lithium-ion battery pack that is expected to power the car for about 240 miles (385 kilometers) per charge. The car has an estimated price of 60,000 dollars.

Tesla’s other zero-emission car, the two-seat “Roadster” sports car, is on sale in Europe and the US. The company last week said it will ramp up production of the Roadster, which has a price tag of about 100,000 dollars, due to soaring demand.

Tesla, founded in 2003, specializes in the environmentally-friendly, electric cars that many car manufacturers are starting to produce.