While some have said Tesla would never get to this point, work is moving forward full-speed ahead on the company’s next product, the Model S. On Saturday Tesla gave journalists and prospective Model S buyers a preview of the latest iteration of the car, Model S Beta. The company is using software terminology for the car as it leads up to a production launch. The event took place at the former General Motors-Toyota NUMMI joint partnership plant in Fremont, California. Toyota sold the factory to Tesla a year ago. Some new details have come out about the car from Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk. The Roadster dispelled any notions that Tesla would be making slow vehicles that weren’t fun to drive – electric cars have the capability to be very performance oriented. The 5.5 second 0-60 performance number that has been quoted about the Model S has been regarded as very good. However, a new Model S Sport model is coming that will enhance performance even further, lopping a whole second from the standard car’s time, bringing the 0-60 time to 4.5 seconds.
Wow – that is faster than a Porsche 911 Carrera (equipped with the PDK transmission, that is), says Musk. Not bad for a four-door electric sedan that seats seven. What’s more, Tesla the Sport model won’t sacrifice any range. We’ll see how that one works out.
On the other end of the scale, not only will the top model hit 300 miles of electric range, there will be an aerodynamics package (that includes different wheels) that will boost range on the top end model to 320 miles. Musk says Tesla is proving everyone wrong with the Model S. So far, that looks to be the case. We’ll won’t know for sure until it hits the market though. 6,000 customers have reserved a Model S, which starts at $49,900 after a tax rebate from the government. That base price is for a model with 160 miles of range.
Two other variants, with 230 and 300 miles are also available. The 300-mile range model will set you back $77,400. Ouch. That is the price of early adoption though; look for the price to come down further as time goes on. Even so, all these numbers are down significantly versus prices Tesla had to charge for the Roadster. Progress is good, and the Model S is looking to be a fantastic, no-compromises product loaded with technology. All reports coming out of Fremont are very positive. We can’t wait to get our hands on one!