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The Tesla Model S vehicle is currently in Alpha testing. Tesla's retail chief George Blankenship just revealed pricing specifics for the vehicle.   (Source: Tesla Motors )
$20k USD will buy you 140 extra miles of range

George Blankenship, former Apple retail chief (and an ex-executive of Gap, Inc.), has been a critical force in driving Tesla Motors Inc.'s strong continued sales of its Roadster EV while the company awaits the Model S.  On Monday Mr. Blankenship, the company's new Vice President and retail chief, blogged on a recent meeting at the opening of Tesla's latest store in Milan, Italy.

Apparently Mr. Blankenship and company CEO Elon Musk were met with plenty of questions about the Model S, including details on the battery and pricing.  And, surprisingly, for the first time in some time they offered precise answers.

According to the pair, the Model S is well into Alpha testing, which began with Alpha vehicles hitting the road in December 2010.  The production-intent beta vehicle will be assembled this year at the new Tesla Factory in California, though the precise month was not revealed.

In the realm of more concrete details, the Model S will be produced with a variety of battery options, at a variety of prices.

The longest range model, the Model S, will be priced at $69,900 USD after $7,500 USD U.S. federal tax credit.  It will get 300 miles on a full charge.  230 mile and 160 mile variants will also be offered for $59,900 and $49,900 USD, respectively after federal tax credit.

But there's one caveat.  The Model S "Signature Series" -- a special 300 mile-range model with additional luxury options, still has its pricing up in the air.  That's a major unknown, given that the first production run will be composed exclusively of "Signature Series" models.

The pricing on the Signature Series will be announced this summer.

As to Tesla's shipping schedule, the company says it will produce and ship 1,000 Model S Signature Series vehicles in "mid-2012".  Later that year Model S production will partially shift to the 230 mile and 160 mile variants.  In total 5,000 Model S variants will be assembled and shipped in 2012, if all goes according to plan.

Then in 2013, the production will ramp up to 20,000 units over the year.  Among those will be the first right-handed variants, which will land in "mid-2013", destined for Tesla's European and Asian markets.  Prior to that, Tesla will exclusively be producing left-handed (e.g. North American) models.

Tesla is in the midst of taking the plunge of developing a mass market EV.  That process has thrust the company deep into the red financially, but it promises big rewards if Tesla is correctly predicting the demand for an entry-level luxury EV.  The company is also buoyed by EV-related contracts with Toyota, U.S. Department of Energy high-tech loans, and hundreds of millions of dollars raised by a highly successful initial public offering of stock.

Engineers at Tesla blog on the development of the Model S here.

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RE: Extended Range
By Shadowself on 3/8/2011 7:33:58 PM , Rating: 2
How does accessory use (radio, climate control, headlights) affect driving range?
Accessory use does not have a dramatic impact on driving range. Exact range fluctuates based on vehicle speed, driving style, road conditions, and weather. Holding these factors constant, using higher consumption accessories like climate control will reduce range approximately five to ten percent

I truly don't believe this for a second. If the range is 160 miles on a sunny spring day then in the following scenario it certainly is *much* less than 144 miles (10% less):
Leave home in January (car garaged overnight & fully charged).
Outside temperature at 5:30 AM is low single digits F.
Headlights, electric heat and window defrosters (including rear window in glass defroster) all blasting away.
Drive 60 miles to work (yes, I've done that commute many, many times).
Park outdoors in the parking lot -- no plug in.
High temperature that day is still single digits F.
(Car is either expending energy to keep the batteries warm for those 13+ hours or the batteries get very, very cold. Either way at the end of the day the effective/available energy is less.)
Leave work at 7:30 PM (yes, I often pull long days) in the dark with outside temperatures in low single digits F.
Drive 60 miles home with headlights, heater, defrosters, etc. on.

Will I make it the full 120 miles round trip? Maybe, but I doubt it with a 160 mile "spring weather & daylight" range. In extreme conditions the impact will be much more than 5 to 10 percent. I would not be at all surprised if the impact is 25% or more under these conditions.

RE: Extended Range
By Thats Mr Gopher to you on 3/8/2011 11:04:59 PM , Rating: 1
The batteries getting very cold doesn't reduce the amount of energy stored in them, only the ability to access it. The batteries only need to be warmed up again once you go to drive.

The headlights won't pull that much considering the size of the battery pack. The heater would probably be a considerable load though.

Anyway, your 'belief' isn't backed by any factual information or related expertise so to be claiming any idea of what percentage of the range that would be lost is meaningless. Do you even know the actual capacity of the battery pack?

RE: Extended Range
By Dr of crap on 3/9/2011 8:36:57 AM , Rating: 2
Do you live in a cold climate?
At below zero temps the ability to crank and start a car that has not been in a garage is greatly reduced.
At really low temps the car might not start.
So the expectation that this battery powered car will -
1 - heat the driver on his commute- remember heating takes a lot of power
2 - keep the windows clear - heating as well
3 - make the 60 miles that he drives - and at freeway speeds

I don't need Comsumer Reports to tell me that the battery will be greatly affected by these conditions. As such the strickly battery powered cars are not fuctional for us snow bound commuters to us.

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