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Tesla unveils 300-mile range all-electric sedan

Another nail in the coffin of internal combustion engine cars
Thursday, March 26, 2009


We have seen the future and it is electric.  If Tesla delivers on the promises it is making with this sedan, kiss the internal combustion engine car goodbye in another 10 years or so.
Tesla Motors is now taking orders for the Model S, an all electric family sedan that carries  seven people and travels 300 miles per charge. If this car does what the company says, the internal combustion engine car will become a dinosaur.

The Model S, which carries its charger onboard, can be recharged from any 120V, 240V or 480V outlet, with the latter taking only 45 minutes. By recharging their car while they stop for a meal, drivers can go from LA to New York in approximately the same time as a gasoline car.  Moreover, the floor-mounted battery pack is designed to be changed out in less time than it takes to fill a gas tank, allowing for the possibility of battery-pack swap stations. 

The floor-mounted powertrain also results in unparalleled cargo room and versatility, as the volume under the front hood becomes a second trunk. Combining that with a four-bar linkage hatchback rear trunk and flat folding rear seats, the Model S can accommodate a 50-inch television, mountain bike *and* surfboard simultaneously.  This packaging efficiency gives the Model S more trunk space than any other sedan on the market and more than most SUVs.

“Model S doesn’t compromise on performance, efficiency or utility -- it’s truly the only car you need,” said Tesla CEO, Chairman and Product Architect Elon Musk. “Tesla is relentlessly driving down the cost of electric vehicle technology, and this is just the first of many mainstream cars we’re developing.”

Tesla expects to start Model S production in late 2011. The company believes it is close to receiving $350 million in federal loans to build the Model S assembly plant in California from the Dept of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program.

Building on Proven Technology

The Tesla Sedan is one heck of a beautiful car

  • 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds
  • 120 mph top speed
  • Sport sedan dynamics
  • All-wheel-drive available
Tesla is the only production automaker already selling highway-capable EVs in North America or Europe. With 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, the Roadster outperforms almost all sports cars in its class yet is six times as energy efficient as gas guzzlers and delivers 244 miles per charge. Tesla has delivered nearly 300 Roadsters, and nearly 1,000 more customers are on the wait list.

Teslas do not require routine oil changes, and they have far fewer moving (and breakable) parts than internal combustion engine vehicles. They qualify for federal and state tax credits, rebates, sales tax exemptions, free parking, commuter-lane passes and other perks. Model S costs roughly $5 to drive 230 miles – a bargain even if gasoline were $1 per gallon.

  • Up to 300 mile range
  • 45 minute QuickCharge
  • Charges from 120V, 240V or 480V
  • 5 minute battery swap
  • 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds
  • Seats 7 people
  • More Cargo space than station wagons
  • 2X as efficient as hybrids
  • 17 inch infotainment touchscreen 
The anticipated base price of the Model S is $49,900 after a federal tax credit of $7,500. The company has not released options pricing. Three battery pack choices will offer a range of 160, 230 or 300 miles per charge.

“Model S costs half as much as a Roadster, and it’s a better value than much cheaper cars,” Musk said. “The ownership cost of Model S, if you were to lease and then account for the much lower cost of electricity vs. gasoline at a likely future cost of $4 per gallon, is similar to a gasoline car with a sticker price of about $35,000. I’m positive this car will be the preferred choice of savvy consumers.”

The standard Model S does 0-60 mph in under six seconds and will have an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph, with sport versions expected to achieve 0-60 mph acceleration well below five seconds. A single-speed gearbox delivers effortless acceleration and responsive handling. A 17-inch touchscreen with in-car 3G connectivity allows passengers to listen to Pandora Radio or consult Google Maps, or check their state of charge remotely from their iPhone or laptop.

Tesla is taking reservations online and at showrooms in California. Tesla will open a store in Chicago this spring and plans to open stores in London, New York, Miami, Seattle, Washington DC and Munich later this year.

Frequently Asked Questions

1)    What is the price of Model S?

a.    Model S will start at $49,900, after a $7,500 federal tax credit.

2)    What is the range on one charge?
a.    The range per charge will depend on which battery you have installed. The base model will have an estimated range of 160 miles per charge.  There will also be batteries available that can travel approximately 230 miles and 300 miles per charge.

3)    How quickly does it charge?
a.    Model S can charge to 80% of capacity in as little as 45 minutes.  Standard charging times will vary depending on battery capacity, ranging from approximately 3 to 5 hours.

4)    How many people and how much cargo can it hold?
a.    Model S can seat up to 7 people, with room for 5 adults, plus 2 child seats in the rear.  There is more storage capacity than most stations wagons, and the large rear opening allows for the flexibility to carry large objects that cannot fit in the trunk opening of a traditional sedan.

5)    How fast is it?
a.    0-60 mph is achieved in 5.6 seconds, but more importantly the electric powertrain provides instant torque at any speed resulting in immediate acceleration whenever it is needed.  As a real world performer the Model S will have no equals.

6)    What options are going to be available?
a.    Final options are still being determined but following are some of the planned highlights:
i.    Panoramic roof with sliding moon roof.
ii.    Automatic open and close liftgate.
iii.    300-mile and 230-mile batteries
iv.    Remote vehicle management, including; charging, personalization and customization, and data collection.

7)    How long will the battery last?
a.    Battery life is dependent on many factors, including; mileage, age, temperature extremes, and charge cycles.  In general you should expect a Model S battery to have a useful life between 5 and 7 years, but proper care can result in a 10-year life.

8)    Will you offer financing and/or lease options?
a.    Yes.  It is our intention to offer conventional financing options on Model S.

Purchase Questions

1)    What is the price of Model S?
a.    Model S will start at $49,900, after a $7,500 federal tax credit.

2)    How do I buy a Model S?
a.    Visit the Buy page and follow the steps to reserve your Model S now.  The Buy page can be reached from a tab at the top of most pages labeled “Buy.”

3)    When will Model S deliveries begin?
a.    Deliveries of the Signature Series Model S will begin at the end of 2011 with deliveries of the standard model beginning in early 2012.

4)    Will you be selling Model S in my country?
a.    You can buy a Model S if you live in the United States, any EU-plus country, or Canada.  Signature edition models will be available in the U.S. and EU-plus countries only.

5)    How are Model S reservations prioritized?
a.    After an initial preference has been given to existing Roadster customers, prioritization will be determined by when your completed reservation agreement and reservation funds are received by Tesla.  In other words, first come, first served.

6)    Will Roadster Owners be given referral spots for friends?
a.    Yes.  Each Roadster owner will get 5 referral spots that can be used prior to June 30, 2009.  After this date Roadster friends will be prioritized with general public.

7)    How do I submit my reservation payment?
a.    If you visit the Buy page and begin the reservation process you will be given instructions on sending your payment to Tesla.  Credit cards, wires, and checks are all accepted.

8)    Is my deposit refundable?
a.    Yes.  If you decide to request a refund prior to selecting your final options you will be charged a $250 processing fee.  If you request a refund after selecting your options you will lose a larger portion of your deposit, outlined in the reservation agreement.

9)    Will production numbers be given?
a.    Yes.  Production numbers will be communicated after May 1, 2009, once we have sorted through the early surge of reservations.

10)    Will Roadster owners be given a discount on Model S?
a.    Yes.  Roadster owners will be given a discount on the Signature Series of Model S.  In the United States this discount will be $10,000, €8K in the EU, and £7,000 in the UK.

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