S Is For Stunner: Tesla Reveals New Model S
By Chuck Squatriglia – March 26, 2009
LOS ANGELES — Tesla Motors just pulled the sheet off the much-anticipated Model S, a gorgeous electric car that company CEO Elon Musk says will carry seven people and deliver up to 300 miles on a charge.
Musk likened the sedan to the BMW 5-series and Mercedes Benz CLS sedans, and said it will usher in an era of stylish, practical and relatively affordable electric cars when it starts rolling off a Southern California assembly line by the third quarter of 2011.
“This is a historic car,” Musk said moments before pulling a black sheet off a silver model at Space-X, his aerospace venture in Los Angeles. “We’re trying to accelerate the EV revolution and help get us off oil.”
The Model S is a landmark for both Tesla and EVs. Tesla’s two-seat
Roadster sports car has shown electric cars can be sexy, but it has enjoyed limited appeal. A sedan could prove the Silicon Valley firm is more than a niche player, help push EVs into the mainstream and give
Tesla a strong position in the emerging electric car market.
But bringing the car to market by 2011 won’t be easy, and Tesla has no time to lose. General Motors, Ford and Nissan are among the major automakers promising to have EVs on the road by then, and Tesla’s facing competition from a growing number of startups, including Fisker Automotive.
The Model S was designed entirely by Tesla, and Musk made some big promises for the technology, saying the car would deliver a range of up to 300 miles from a battery that can be recharged in as little as 45
minutes — provided you spring for the top-of-the-line battery pack. The standard pack is good for 160 miles, Musk said.
“In the EV community, Tesla is tops,” said Paul Scott, a founder and board member of Plug In America. “But it’s seen as a company making toys for the rich. Now they’re going into the market where Lexus and
Infiniti play. This will spread the word about electric vehicles to a much wider audience.”
The Model S will have a list price of $57,400, but the $7,500 federal tax credit for EVs and plug-in hybrids will bring that down to
Photos: Jim Merithew / Wired.com