Tesla has said that it has ramped up production of its Roadster, which is produced in collaboration with Lotus Group at Tesla UK in Hethel where it is assembled.

About 10 Roadsters now start down the assembly line each week, and that number will increase to about 40 per week in early 2009. About 1,200 customers have put down deposits on the Roadster, and Tesla will begin shipping to customers in Europe starting in May.

Tesla has also said that it will be present as an exhbitor at next week's Paris Motor Show.

Tesla announced earlier this month that it plans to build a state-of-the-art assembly plant and consolidated corporate campus in the heart of Silicon Valley. The USD250m facility will be home to the Model S, Tesla's zero-emission, five-passenger luxury sedan powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. It is expected to have a base price of about USD60,000 and get about 240 miles per charge. The first sedans are likely to roll off the assembly line in late 2010.

The new plant will be able to produce at least 15,000 sedans - up to 30,000 with the addition of a second shift. About half of the production vehicles will be slated for sale in Europe. Tesla has not yet started taking deposits on the Model S, but executives anticipate extremely strong demand in the EU and USA.