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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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RE: Inaccurate information
By Iaiken on 1/19/2011 10:13:43 AM , Rating: 2
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.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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