Tesla Motors announces Roadster financing in the United States by Bank of America, thus significantly expanding the number of customers who can experience the all-electric Roadster.

Bank of America financing makes the Tesla Roadster much more affordable. For example, a customer approved for a 5-year financing term on a base Roadster could put down as little as $20,000 before taxes and net of the US federal tax credit. The monthly payment would be approximately $1,700 at a 5 percent annual percentage rate (APR).

The actual APR of the loan will be dependent on individual customer credit and history, and neither Bank of America nor Tesla Motors can commit to an APR without a customer completing the loan application process.

That monthly payment is typical for high performance cars – but Roadster drivers will enjoy hundreds of dollars per month in savings unavailable to gas guzzlers. The Roadster, which gets an estimated 244 miles per charge, costs roughly $4 to refuel and does not require routine oil changes or exhaust system work. Unlike high-maintenance internal combustion engines, Teslas get a 100 percent waiver on sales, luxury and use taxes in at least four states, and they qualify for commuter lane privileges, free parking and free charging in many regions.

"This announcement will help advance EV adoption by allowing more Americans to experience the joy and convenience of owning a Tesla," said Tesla CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk. "And like our current customers, our new customers will never need to visit a gas station again."

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Bank of America will directly finance, document and service Tesla vehicle loans for customers, providing a very easy online interface for these services. Financing is available for up to 75 percent of the total vehicle purchase price. All agreements and payments will be between the customer and Bank of America.

Financing is available to customers who meet Bank of America's underwriting criteria. Bank of America offers a competitive loan-to-value ratio, annual percentage rate and term.

Prospective customers may complete documents at Tesla showrooms or online, including electronic signature and customer verification. Tesla customer service staff can assist with the application in a showroom or by telephone.

Tesla has delivered more than 500 Roadsters so far. This month Tesla began delivering the 2010 model-year Roadster and the all-new Roadster Sport, an even higher-performance EV.

Tesla has showrooms in California and London. On Thursday, Tesla will open a regional sales and service center in New York. It's also opening stores in Chicago, Seattle, Miami, Washington DC, Toronto, Monaco and Munich.

This announcement affects U.S. Roadster customers only. Tesla plans to offer financing for the Model S sedan closer to the anticipated start of production in late 2011.