After months of delays, leadership changes and difficulties engineering a proper transmission, Tesla Motors has announced the start of regular production of its electric Roadster. President Ze'ev Drori's announcement confirms that all regulatory hurdles have been met and that cars will begin rolling off the assembly line, ramping up to 100 per month by early 2009.

Plagued recently by a highly publicized difficulty in manufacturing a reliable two-speed transmission - required to optimize the car's acceleration - the first-generation Roadsters will go to production with a one-speed transmission that slows acceleration from the originally planned four seconds to a more leisurely - but still swift - 5.7 seconds.

Along with slightly slower acceleration, the one-speed transmission will offer greatly increased durability. The first production run of cars so equipped - dubbed 'P1' by Tesla - will be eligible for a free upgrade to the proper transmission once the company has worked out the kinks and brings it to production. No time frame has yet been established for that, however.