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The Model S' huge LCD mounted in the dash.  (Source: Gizmodo)

  (Source: Gizmodo)
Not available for delivery until 2011

Pioneering electric car company Tesla Motors has unveiled its new Model S electric sports sedan. It will have a range of up to 300 miles (482 km), and be able to go from 0-60 MPH in 5.5 seconds according to Jalopnik. It will also be able to seat seven passengers, through the use of flip-up seats stored in the trunk. The rear-facing seats, however, are only suitable for small children.
A regular charge will take four hours to complete, but there is a 45 minute fast charge option to provide enough power for a quick jaunt. Tesla expects the batteries to last between seven and ten years based on regular usage models.

According to Autoblog Green, the battery pack for the Model S weighs in at a whopping 1,200 pounds. Total vehicle weight, however, is just over 4,000 pounds.

One of the more interesting features of the Model S is its gigantic touch screen display which takes up most of the center dash/console area. According to Gizmodo, the Model S has an “always on” 3G connection which delivers streaming content to the LCD screen.

The Model S will enter production in the third quarter of 2011, with a targeted ramp up to a production rate of 20,000 sedans per year in the middle of 2012. It will carry a base price of $57,400, but that will drop down to $49,900 after a federal tax credit of $7,500.

The launch event showed a prototype using a single speed transmission to reduce complexity, but an all-wheel drive variant is planned. The drivetrain will be produced at its new San Jose facility.

Maintenance costs will be much less than other cars in the same price category, as there are no oil changes required, and the regenerative braking system means much less wear and tear. The biggest savings will be in fuel costs, regardless of its current price at the pump.

Tesla plans to use profits and experience generated from the Model S to develop a second, more affordable family sedan for the mass market. It will complement its Roadster sports car and provide more options to its potential customers.

The firm recently delivered its 250th Tesla Roadster to a customer in California. Production of the Roadster is currently at 20 cars per week, but will steadily increase to 30 per week this summer. There is currently a backlog of over 1,000 customers awaiting delivery of a Roadster.

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this is all well and good but...
By shin0bi272 on 3/27/2009 8:20:19 AM , Rating: 2
Unless you have a 480volt source laying around it will take hours still to recharge it. a 480volt source though will recharge it in 48min... nice but still not great for long distance driving... around town sure but they are touting it as being able to drive across the country in the same time as a normal sedan (I know because I get their newsletter and I got this news in an email this morning already). I suppose you could make it across the country in the same time as a normal sedan if you can find a place with 480volt plugs all along your route. That will take massive infrastructure placement (and possibly certification to handle the plug) and Im not sure if Tesla can pay for that kind of roll out. So for a while these will be relegated to in town driving. Very cool otherwise though.

RE: this is all well and good but...
By Hulk on 3/27/2009 10:57:25 AM , Rating: 2
Okay so it has a 300 mile range. That is more than enough for most people for a day of driving.

But if you plug this thing in every night to top it off how long will the battery last?

If you plug it into a normal 15Amp outlet will it fully charge overnight? In say 10 hours? If so then I don't think the electrical thing to be a big problem.

The problem is that if you have let the battery run down to say 25% so you don't have to recharge every night, to prolong battery life, then on that 3rd or 4th day of driving without a charge when the battery is at say 30% charge and you get stuck in traffic on a hot day you could be in trouble!

I like the Volt model of a 40 mile range with a small "limp home" IC engine just in case.

Or if we had a massive infrastructure change I could see these batteries being of standard design so that when you pull into a recharging station there is an automated battery swap. Your discharged one for a charged one. Of course the battery replacement costs would have to be shared by all drivers somehow but this would get around the recharging problem. Yeah I know it's a crazy idea.

RE: this is all well and good but...
By Spuke on 3/27/2009 1:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
Okay so it has a 300 mile range.
The base car has 160 mile range. The 300 mile car comes later.

RE: this is all well and good but...
By shin0bi272 on 3/28/2009 1:52:09 PM , Rating: 2
Aww crap man I deleted the email they sent me that had that info in it. I think they said that a standard 120v 15A would charge it in 8 hrs. And that would be fine ... 160miles round trip is plenty for me on a daily basis. 35 miles to work and 35 back then maybe 10 out and back to the store or an additional 70mi round trip to my friends house. Plug it in when i get home and when I get up in the morning my power bill (pre-smart grid) goes up 5 bucks but I can drive for at least another day on that 5 bucks. The volt would kill me lol I'd get started home for the day and poof run out of charge and have to use the gas engine.

But the original Email said that because of its 300mi range and 48min charge time it could drive across the country in the same time it took a gas car to drive it... and my first reaction is uhh not bloody loikly!

If these types of cars had quick change batteries we could essentially use the same concept they use for propane tanks for gas grills. You go to the store, exchange your empty one for a full one and pay for the service of them to charge it and swap yours out via forklift or something. But yeah that would be a massive infrastructure change and that will take decades to put in place.

Then theres the other issue about battery lifespan. the current Lithium ion batteries with carbon coated anodes wear out in a few years and cost like $10,000 to replace. So an exchange system could cause them to wear out faster... or slower depending on how long they would sit there waiting to be exchanged after being recharged. So I guess it would depend on the size of the operation which would also most likely increase the cost of the exchange since they would have to recoup the cost of their purchases when they had to purchase 500,000 worth of batteries.

RE: this is all well and good but...
By Spuke on 3/28/2009 4:26:41 PM , Rating: 2
The 160 mile range is a maximum range which depends on weather, driving style, accessory use, and etc. You won't get that range all of the time.

RE: this is all well and good but...
By Suntan on 3/27/2009 11:22:47 AM , Rating: 3
I’m guessing you don’t drive cross country the way I do. If I had to sit and wait 48 min everytime I covered a distance that is equal to “a quick jaunt” (whatever that is) I’d go mad. And I don’t remember seeing too many places that do offer 480v hookups between the Twin Cities and Yellowstone the last time we vacationed out there.

Fair enough the company is doing good things to try new technologies, and they have developed significant advancements in the area of battery management and the electronic handling of high currents, but these kinds of silliness irritate me. However, I’m guessing the marketing guy would get fired if he just came out with the truth and stated flatly,

“The thing costs twice as much and only offers half the usability as a comparable IC based car, but it’s a work in progress and if you’re a bleeding edge kinda tech junky who is willing to grossly overpay for what you get, you can help us try and develop these things into a viable alternative at some point down the road.”


By clovell on 3/27/2009 5:40:24 PM , Rating: 2
Well said.

But I kind of think it'd be cool to floor it on one of these things, and have it silently throw me back in my seat.

By shin0bi272 on 3/28/2009 1:33:16 PM , Rating: 2
no thats exactly what I was saying... I drove from FL to upstate Ny in 1 shot in my car back in college... 20+ hours ... if I had to stop even for 48min to recharge my car every 5 hours that drive would have taken me an additional 3.2 hrs... (then there was that 4 day bus ride from cali to NC) thats also assuming I could get a 480volt plug every time I needed a recharge which would be damned near impossible right now.

Plus where are they planning on putting these high voltage power plugs anywho? At gas stations next to the pumps full of explosive liquids? Thats why I was saying that these going to most likely be used for in town driving for a few decades... taxis maybe. Cause they can bring the car back in for a recharge on their lunch break and the taxi hub can be hooked up with several lines for recharging en masse.

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