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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: 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!

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs

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