March 31, 2009

New Tesla Model S: 7 seats, 130mph, 40K, glass roof.

Click here for tons of photos. Goooo-jus. Excited? This’ll cool you down: it’s available mid-2012, if there’s no delays. Perfect timing for yours truly—gives me time to save up. NYTimes.com excerpt: 


LOS ANGELES — Tesla Motors, the electric-car maker, unveiled its much-anticipated Model S sedan on Thursday, here at the SpaceX rocket plant, which is also owned by Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk.

Mr. Musk, in introducing the Model S, said the first cars would be delivered to customers in the third quarter of 2011. The company said it would build the car in Southern California, but would not say where.

Three different power configurations will be available, Mr. Musk said, “160-mile, 230-mile and 300-mile battery packs.” The 160-mile pack comes standard on the $57,400 base model (a federal tax credit can shave $7,500 from the price). He declined to provide pricing for the longer-range battery packs, but said they could be rented or leased “if you wanted to go on a long trip, or something.” Battery packs have a projected life expectancy of seven to 10 years and can be easily changed or swapped, he added.

In its most powerful configuration, the Model S would weigh “about 4,000 pounds” and have a top speed of more than 130 miles an hour, Mr. Musk said. It is said to accelerate from a standing start to 60 miles an hour in less than six seconds. The $109,000 Tesla Roadster can sprint to 60 miles an hour in four seconds.

The Model S, which looks a bit like the Maserati Quattroporte sedan, was the subject of a recent styling re-do by Franz von Holzhausen, formerly of Mazda, who joined Tesla last year. The original design was sketched by Henrik Fisker, who has since started his own electric-car company.

The Model S will seat up to seven people. Folding the rear seats down increases cargo space.

“It has side-facing seats in the rear, like some station wagons once had,” Mr. von Holzhausen said. “You can also fit a 50-inch plasma TV in there, a surfboard and other large objects — although not at the same time seven people are sitting in it. It’s one or the other.”

The version shown here had a glass roof, which Mr. von Holzhausen said was also planned for the production model.

“The absence of a conventional powertrain creates all sorts of possibilities for rethinking the traditional interior configuration of the automobile,” he explained.

There was some initial confusion about pricing at Thursday’s press conference. Mr. Musk said the price would be $49,900 and suggested the actual cost would actually be less, “down in Ford Taurus territory” when factoring in savings of “$10,000 to $15,000” because the Model S uses no gasoline and qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit…

…click here for the rest.

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