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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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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
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
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

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