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Tesla Model S "Alpha"

The Model S' 17" center display
First comes Alpha, then comes Beta

When we think of the terms Alpha and Beta in the technology sense, we normally think of software applications that are in development or early revisions of computer hardware. Tesla Motors likes to use the terminology as well, and the company is showing off its latest "Alpha" hardware:  a running prototype of the Tesla S sedan.

Tesla explains that there will be both Alpha and Beta versions of its Model S sedan before it finally settles on a production model to make available to the public. Tesla explains that the Alpha version of its Model S first began testing last year, but the public is just now getting its first look at the test vehicle.

Things have changed slightly from the version of the Model S that was first shown in 2009. The front bumper/grille/headlights have been slightly tweaked, and the rear valance panel has also seen some updates (likely to meet federal bumper height, and lighting requirements). You can see the changes that have been made along with footage of the Model S in motion here.

"The first Alpha is amazingly agile for a car of its size. It has great handling balance and poised ride with communicative steering," noted Tesla Motors in a blog post. "Just goes to show what combining a low center of gravity with a very stiff body structure can achieve." 

Tesla Motors will continue with Alpha testing throughout 2011 in various climate conditions and will likely move on to the Beta phase either later this year or early next year. The production Model S is due out in 2012. 

The 4,000-pound Model S will have a driving range of up to 300 miles and can move from a standstill to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds. Preliminary pricing for the Model S puts the base model (160-mile range) at $57,400 before a $7,500 federal tax credit. 



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nice design
By GulWestfale on 1/18/2011 11:34:58 PM , Rating: 5
looking at the tesla model S really makes one wonder why the hybrids from the mainstream manufacturers always have to be so goddamn ugly.




RE: nice design
By ZaethDekar on 1/18/2011 11:52:45 PM , Rating: 2
Its a simple question of aerodynamics. Yes it will be sleek and look great compared to the other hybrid cars but it isn't as aerodynamic. That is also why the Bugatti Veyron has a more rounded front end instead of a sharper point because at higher speeds it makes the ride more comfortable because the car isn't working as hard to have the air go over its shape while at the higher end of the speed spectrum.

The tear drop is the most aerodynamic design and that is why rain usually has that shape when falling down as it is the most natural, and actually the Prius has one of the lowest coefficient drags of any production car (.25), the only other production hybrid that had lower was the Mercedes E-220 Blue Energy from Europe (.24) and the General Motors EV-1 (.195).


RE: nice design
By GulWestfale on 1/19/2011 1:07:53 AM , Rating: 3
you have explained aerodynamics... but not why a prius is ugly when this can be pretty. also, a veyron is not exactly efficient; many journalists have said that a mclaren F1 could reach similar speeds with 200 hp less than the veyron. the veyron's shape was dictated by ferdinand piech, who liked the design, and not by the engineers who built the car.


RE: nice design
By quiksilvr on 1/19/2011 8:06:46 AM , Rating: 1
Yes he did, but I also believe that there should be a balance of meeting coefficient drag needs and aesthetics. (I think the Nickel Metal Hydride batteries have something to do with the shape as well, but I am not entirely sure)


RE: nice design
By uncomputer on 1/19/2011 10:38:45 AM , Rating: 3
FYI, aerodynamics are damn complicated. For instance, falling rain drops actually have very flat bottoms.


RE: nice design
By ZaethDekar on 1/19/2011 12:02:30 PM , Rating: 2
and when your marketing is "We get the best fuel efficiency." and a very large percent of drivers go to highway speeds, the aerodynamics plays a huge part in getting higher fuel efficiency. That is why the hyper milers end up taking off mirrors and plugging as many holes as possible throughout the car as it lowers efficiency when you have a large amount of air with only one small hole for it to go through in a majority % of the front of a car.

As for they McLaren VS Veyron... There is also the SSC Aero that can top the Veyron's speed.... and it uses the idea of stay as low to the ground as possible so it doesn't have to worry about the wind providing lift as it isn't heavy enough to stay down. That way when at speed the air keeps it down, thus the wedge type design; that also the McLaren F1 uses. It takes less power to get up to speed with that design but you have a higher risk of catastrophic failure if too much air gets under the car. If you have watched Redline its like when the lambo ends up launching in the air, or in some GT races how the race cars have literally flown up into the air and flipped.

So the Veyron chose to have a more stable drive at the top speed as it is a luxury car and it is based around a more comfortable ride than a balls to the wall race excitement.


RE: nice design
By SiN on 1/19/2011 1:01:20 PM , Rating: 4
Don't forget that the Veyron was also a technical goal. VW were trying to show that a car with 1000bhp COULD be built and transfer that energy to the ground in a stable manner.

Top Gear Live. They had one for the show, but the owner requested new tires be fitted after its loan. It cost 40,000 alone for it to be done. The Veyron is not meant to compete, it is a technical feat of engineering. Design and elegant aesthetics is as important for such an object. Money is not.


RE: nice design
By SiN on 1/19/2011 12:51:41 PM , Rating: 2
The fluid/air dynamics combined with engineering, aesthetic and a delivery price. Don't assume aerodynamics doesn't transfer into design - on principle, ignorance or simple misunderstanding.

For a car that stands to prove electric vehicles can hold their own against traditional, petrol, performance vehicles. It stands apart technically, has to appeal to those with the money, taste in design, and knowledge of performance electric vehicles.
It bears the name our forefather of the modern world, Mr Tesla. A man who stood to revolutionize and make our world so rich today, in more aspects than we can envision without overlooking what he achieved. A tall order for Tesla motors to achieve amid the competition.

It has to look good to sell. It has to perform above any other electric vehicle to achieve merit. It needs to make money and recover R&D costs to enable better R&D to become the best.
Other car companies include "ugly" but necessary design features to gain efficiency at a lower entry price, not performance and style.

As a designer, artist, sculptor and someone with great insight into aesthetics, that is my stance. It is a fantastic looking car and elegant. It has to be everything for what it stands for.

As a motor head and someone who was an electrician, a great interest in understanding Mr Teslas work, discovering more about the scientific world continually - physics, chemistry, mechanics - the design of the Tesla Motors is essential to its price point and audience.

I only wish I could have one. I only wish I could be a part of their design team.

BMW, Alpina, Mercedes, AMG, Brabus, and many many many others, fanatic!

The lesser performance, more efficiency category of other vehicles, can not afford to be all that the Tesla Motors aim for. They target a much lesser informed, or much lesser financially rich (me). There are those of us out there who also must simply have the latest greatest next big thing, with more money than sense. Though if they buy a Tesla, I would happily pat them on the back.

Ps, engineers and designers are after one and the same. Top Gear 4 life!


RE: nice design
By Netjak on 1/19/2011 12:57:46 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Its a simple question of aerodynamics. Yes it will be sleek and look great compared to the other hybrid cars but it isn't as aerodynamic. That is also why the Bugatti Veyron has a more rounded front end instead of a sharper point because at higher speeds it makes the ride more comfortable because the car isn't working as hard to have the air go over its shape while at the higher end of the speed spectrum.


Aerodynamics isn't that important. Most production cars today have cd in 0.3 range, even below. Since hybrid drive have to cope with stop-go traffic at low speed and knowing that they are not intended for highway racing, its unknown to me why they are designed with so much attention to aerodynamic drag.


RE: nice design
By Spuke on 1/19/2011 2:20:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Since hybrid drive have to cope with stop-go traffic at low speed and knowing that they are not intended for highway racing, its unknown to me why they are designed with so much attention to aerodynamic drag.
My car gets 28 mpg hwy with a .43 CD. Another car with the exact same engine gets 30 mpg with a .32 CD. Great aero IS important for fuel efficiency!!!!


RE: nice design
By Netjak on 1/20/2011 12:12:09 PM , Rating: 2
This is big difference in Cd (0.32 to 0.43 - 34%), but coresponding difference in consumption is only 7%. Cd is meaningless without cross section and not much important at low speed. FE, for prius with Cd .26 and .32, at 50 km/h power needed to overcome increased aerodynamic drag is only 0,5 higher and at 100 km/h only 2 hp.


RE: nice design
By Jkm3141 on 1/20/2011 12:25:17 PM , Rating: 2
Ohh that must put the nail in the coffin for Aerodynamics being the ultimate consideration of Gas Mileage. The engines the same, but what about the transmission, gear ratio, wheel size, tire size, tread pattern, brake size, weight of the vehicle, rotating mass and any of the hundreds of other factors that affect gas mileage? are they the same between the two cars? I somehow highly doubt it.

Don't get me wrong here, I believe aerodynamics are important, but I don't see it giving any sizable benefit at normal traffic speeds. Yes, super cars/sports cars it matters a lot for handling and grip purposes, but your average person carrier going 55MPH, not so much. And the ugly hybrids are not *that* much better aerodynamically than cars that actually look good.


RE: nice design
By BZDTemp on 1/19/2011 3:52:48 AM , Rating: 3
I think the S looks rather dull.

The more mainstream hybrids are more compact so they have a different challenge.


RE: nice design
By piroroadkill on 1/19/2011 6:26:16 AM , Rating: 4
If you think that car is dull, you have something slightly wrong with you.


RE: nice design
By Breathless on 1/19/2011 9:07:04 AM , Rating: 2
only slightly?


RE: nice design
By bug77 on 1/19/2011 6:43:10 AM , Rating: 2
Probably because they must accommodate two engines in a smaller body? Coupled with the fact that every extra pound equals less range.

Or maybe the manufacturer thinks that if you fall for a hybrid, looks don't matter anymore.


RE: nice design
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 1/19/2011 7:19:44 AM , Rating: 2
I fell for 55mpg in a mid-size 5 door with leather and nav. What an idiot I am.


RE: nice design
By bug77 on 1/19/2011 8:00:04 AM , Rating: 2
How much did you save?


RE: nice design
By Kurz on 1/19/2011 9:59:33 AM , Rating: 3
He hasn't saved anything yet.
Give it another 4-5 years.


RE: nice design
By hexxthalion on 1/19/2011 11:45:33 AM , Rating: 2
not sure if nice :) looks like a copy of aston and jag


RE: nice design
By smegz on 1/19/2011 1:42:46 PM , Rating: 2
Why does that nose remind me of an Aston Martin?


Inaccurate information
By corduroygt on 1/18/2011 9:40:16 PM , Rating: 2
The $57k model does not have 300 mile range. That's the top end model loaded with batteries costing closer to $100k. Base model is likely to only have a little better range than the Leaf.




RE: Inaccurate information
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/18/2011 9:44:40 PM , Rating: 2
Hence the "up to" 300 miles part, and the mention of the base price. The $57,400 is the only official figure we have from Tesla.


RE: Inaccurate information
By dsumanik on 1/19/2011 2:25:40 AM , Rating: 2
pffffftt.........Why try and make the car sound better than it is?

I know very little about electric vehicles or tesla motors in general...after reading this article I was left with the impression the car pictured above costs 57,000 and will go up to 300 miles on a charge. Good thing i read the comments section.

I was already thinking 57,000 was a little pricey heh...seriously who's gonna pay 100 grand to save on gas money????

HAHAHAHAHA FAIL

copy and paste this into the article, and its all good:

The base package for the alpha sedan starts at $57,000 USD and has a range similar to the nissan leaf. For those with deeper pockets, the vehicle can achieve *UP TO* a 300 mile range. However, in this configuration the tesla will cost closer to $100,000 USD which may put it out of the price range of a budget conscious consumer trying to save on fuel costs.


RE: Inaccurate information
By therealnickdanger on 1/19/2011 8:35:11 AM , Rating: 2
If you want the article dumbed down for you, that's fine, but it's plenty understandable as it is. DT is reporting on the official pricing released by Tesla, which does not include the $100,000 price. Either way, it sounds like this car is not for you.

Choosing between the Leaf and the Model S is like choosing between sex with a fat, ugly girl or a supermodel. Both will get the job done, but you'll only want your friends to know about the latter.


RE: Inaccurate information
By corduroygt on 1/19/2011 9:35:06 AM , Rating: 2
This car is not for most people. It's way too expensive.
Leaf is a better car because it's much more affordable.


RE: Inaccurate information
By Iaiken on 1/19/2011 10:13:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's way too expensive.


It's no more expensive than any similarly sized and appointed luxury sedan. In fact, it comes well under most after the tax credit.

It also depends on what you as an individual are paying for when you buy a car. My current car is a 2006 Mini Cooper JCW that ran me $41,000 after all options and taxes. I got, 0-60 in 5.7, 175mph top speed, handling that makes even a Porsche 997 blush, leather everything, dual panoramic sunroof, heated everything, everything is automagic and a $27,000 resale value after 4 years.

Every day I look forward to getting into my car even when I am not taking it to the track or autoXing it, do you?


RE: Inaccurate information
By gregpet on 1/19/2011 1:55:57 PM , Rating: 2
WAIT...STOP....Mini Coopers cost $41,000??? I thought these were like the German version of the Scion! $15,000 tops...


RE: Inaccurate information
By Spuke on 1/19/2011 2:26:45 PM , Rating: 2
The Mini Copper S John Cooper Works edition (JCW) with lots of options does indeed cost $41k. I personally would never have left the dealer lot with that large a dent in my wallet for a Cooper, especially when a used Cayman S can be had for the same price, but that's how much they CAN get. That said, I do like the Coopers and would own one if they were RWD. Yes, I have driven them, yes they handle well, but my car handles much better (especially once the stock garbage tires were replaced) and cost a lot less.


RE: Inaccurate information
By therealnickdanger on 1/19/2011 11:53:18 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
This car is not for most people. It's way too expensive. Leaf is a better car because it's much more affordable.

With that line of thinking, do you only buy White Castle instead of making your own food or going to McDonald's? Cost is most certainly not the only factor in determining a qualitative state. This car is "way too expensive" for you. Don't push your unwillingness or inability to purchase the vehicle upon others.

Have you seen the prices that most new midsize and fullsize vehicles go for in today's market? This car is a bargain by comparison after factoring in fuel costs! Considering the high number of vehicles I see on the road every day that have starting prices in the high 40s to low 50s, I could definitely see this car being much more than a niche once production ramps up.

The Model S has a $57,000 base price, with a 7K federal tax credit with potentially thousands more in state or local tax credits, depending on location. Take a gander at the vehicles that fit this price segment (45-55K). You've probably seen these cars on the road:
http://www.kbb.com/perfect-car-finder?pricemin=450...


RE: Inaccurate information
By corduroygt on 1/19/2011 12:11:34 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, B.S. on the 175mph top speed of a mini, LOL. Even Mini themselves say 147 mph, and that's for the new version.

Second, maybe you missed, but the median price of cars in the US is something between 20k-30k. By that measure, the Tesla at 57k is way too expensive, especially with something with only 160 mile range under the best of conditions.


RE: Inaccurate information
By therealnickdanger on 1/19/2011 5:02:41 PM , Rating: 2
Who cares about median prices? In order to have a median, you have to have cars priced below and above it! Derp. 57K for a car is not very much for many people, especially after a 7K rebate (do the math, it's 50K). Total bargain for a car with no gas to buy. Why don't you just give up your dumb argument and realize that you can't afford it and don't want to buy it and that other people will? You can crap all over the Model S as much as you please, but it's still going to be successful.

And BTW, the just because the Mini is programmed for a fuel cutoff of 147 mph doesn't mean you can't reprogram it to exceed the speed governor. My car (Dodge Magnum) came from the factory with a 126MPH limit due to the crappy tires it came with, but thanks to my tuner and amazing tires, I can hit over 165 before aerodynamics restrict me. Plenty of RPMs left in 5th gear, just not enough power to overcome physics. Some guys have hit closer to 180 with power adders and tunes, but there's only so much speed the boxy LX platform can get. Before you call BS, there are plenty of videos on Youtube to back up these claims.


RE: Inaccurate information
By AssBall on 1/19/2011 5:18:53 PM , Rating: 2
So You're one of the 10 guys who bought I mean was suckered into a dodge magnum? Where, pray tell, do you drive it 165 miles an hour? Probably to the mechanic.

quote:
You can crap all over the Model S as much as you please, but it's still going to be successful.


I doubt,it, because if you really were psychic you never would have bought a Magnum.


By therealnickdanger on 1/20/2011 9:07:19 AM , Rating: 2
What's with the Magnum hate? It's a great car - same exact car as the 300C and Charger, but with great cargo space. I've got 110K on the odometer over the past 5 years and my largest expense has been multiple sets of rear tires! :)

Where and when I drive above the speed limit is no concern of yours. haha


RE: Inaccurate information
By corduroygt on 1/19/2011 5:30:10 PM , Rating: 2
Besides the LOL at Dodge Magnum, cars sold below 50k, VASTLY OUTNUMBER cars sold at 50k or above, this is a fact. I could in fact afford this car if I wanted to,
and even if I couldn't, I didn't know being poor was a crime, what a douchebag.

Also the Mini is not a Magnum with a V8, 200 or so horsepower in a hatchback will only get you so far. It's not governor limited, it's drag and/or gearing limited. So stop your ignorance. If you see 165 on your speedo going downhill with a tailwind, that doesn't mean it's your top speed anyway.

Given the reliability issues of the roadster, I don't think the model S would be anything but a niche vehicle.


RE: Inaccurate information
By ZaethDekar on 1/19/2011 12:12:11 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see any buicks on the road. Lol


RE: Inaccurate information
By gregpet on 1/19/2011 2:00:15 PM , Rating: 2
You need to leave your mom's basement more often...


RE: Inaccurate information
By Spuke on 1/19/2011 9:24:22 PM , Rating: 2
This link is probably more accurate. Yours lists some incorrect prices for some cars.

http://www.edmunds.com/finder/car-finder-results.h...


RE: Inaccurate information
By Qapa on 1/19/2011 12:34:46 PM , Rating: 2
I guess it was you that had a double fail:

1 - "Preliminary pricing for the Model S puts the base model (160-mile range) at $57,400 before a $7,500 federal tax credit." If you didn't get it, it is clearly YOUR problem, not the article's!

2 - Lots of people that can afford cars with those prices, would buy electric NOT to save on gas money but for too many other reasons to mention, but here go some examples: greener, quieter, no gas dependency, completely self sufficient if you have solar panels at home, ...

So, you FAIL!! Dumb!


RE: Inaccurate information
By corduroygt on 1/19/2011 12:53:00 PM , Rating: 2
The 160-mile range clarification was added later to the original article, so why don't you use your brain and double check before insulting other people.


aston ftw
By ipay on 1/19/2011 2:38:27 AM , Rating: 4
Wow - the updated grille is even more of an Aston Martin clone. First non-Korean auto manufacturer I can think of that is this blatant at taking designs wholesale.

Not that that means I wouldn't buy one of these...




RE: aston ftw
By Icopoli on 1/19/2011 7:06:26 AM , Rating: 2
Aston clones are a bad thing? :D


RE: aston ftw
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 1/19/2011 7:17:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
the updated grille is even more of an Aston Martin clone. First non-Korean auto manufacturer I can think of that is this blatant at taking designs wholesale.


I guess you haven't seen the Focus EV, then.


RE: aston ftw
By AssBall on 1/19/2011 11:07:03 AM , Rating: 3
My first thought was "It looks like a Civic rear ended a DB9".


RE: aston ftw
By Iaiken on 1/19/2011 11:47:14 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Wow - the updated grille is even more of an Aston Martin clone.


Not really, the Aston Martin grill faces don't dip at the bottom and they are more rounded.

This grill has more contour at the top than any of the Aston Martin offerings and has a larger grill front because of the additional contours of the bottom grill. They headlights are differently shaped and in a different position of a hood whose lines are less bulky.

Other than that they look completely different to someone who actually pays attention to detail, they're exactly the same... :P


Interesting
By Ammohunt on 1/19/2011 2:00:05 PM , Rating: 3
I have only seen pictures of these cars anyone actually seen one on the road? Tesla cars are like the loch ness monster.




RE: Interesting
By gregpet on 1/19/2011 2:04:11 PM , Rating: 1
Wow...you got ripped off on your mail order GED.

PRODUCTION DOESN'T START TILL 2012!


RE: Interesting
By adiposity on 1/19/2011 3:59:00 PM , Rating: 3
Two people in my area have Teslas, but not model S yet.


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