Tesla buyers lining up

Tesla Model S

Tesla says more than 3,000 would-be buyers have plunked down $5,000 reservation fees to get in line for its next model, the all-electric Model S. The first versions will be built next year, crash tested and deliveries will start in 2012, Tesla says in a corporate filing.

In the meantime, Tesla says it is busy building an electric version of the RAV4 crossover with Toyota and has been delivering prototypes since July. It has a $9-million contract with Toyota.

Tesla is also making 1,500 electric powerplants for Smart and 500 for Mercedes-Benz to go into its small A-class vehicle. As a result, Tesla has doubled its engineering workforce since the start of the year. It now numbers more than 400, it says in the filing.

Tesla now has 1,400 of its electric roadsters in countries around the world. It says they have cumulatively logged 8 million miles.

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