By John Addison (9/24/12)
More than 12,000 customers have made reservations and $5,000 deposits for their new Tesla Model S. The first thousands of these all-electric cars being delivered have a 265-mile range (official EPA rating). In real world driving, the range is 300 miles if you stay below 55 miles per hour. This is not a plug-in hybrid. It is slightly amazing.
Premium car buyers are not deterred by the Model S starting price of $59,400 with a 160 mile-range with 40kWh lithium battery. Most popular has been the 300-mile range with 85kWh model that starts at $79,400, before federal and state tax incentives.
The Tesla Model S is a beautiful sedan that seats five and maybe a couple of more small kids in the trunk area. The 60/40-split back seat can be folded down to make room for luggage, snowboards, mountain bikes and everything you desire for a road trip. The Model S has the designs of a classic sedan like the BMW 7 or Audi A7. The Model S has the cargo flexibility of a hatchback. Tesla positions the Model S as full sized, but one 6-foot, 3-inch gentleman insisted that it was midsized.
You feel a bit like a jet pilot looking at the 17-inch display, which follows your preference of displaying navigation, entertainment, range, and vehicle functionality.
The range is a marvel of technology innovation including an advanced lithium battery pack that lies below driver and passengers. The battery placement lowers the cars center of gravity and is likely to support excellent handling and stability. The induction electric motor does not use rare earth materials, unlike most competitors including Nissan and GM. The beautiful new body is aluminum to reduce weight and thereby extend range.
Tesla Expands to 24 Retail Locations Across USA and other Countries
This fall, Tesla Motors is opening 10 new locations across North America. The first at Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, New York opened on September 21. Tesla’s unique retail concept demonstrates the benefits of driving electric with enticing visuals, interactive displays, and design studios where customers can design their own Tesla Model S on a large touchscreen and then view it on an 85-inch video wall.
“All retail locations have Tesla’s Model S premium sedan on display, and many have dedicated test-drive vehicles where we will offer customers the opportunity to experience the exhilarating performance and superior handling of Model S,” said George Blankenship, vice president of worldwide sales and ownership experience.
The next store opening is in the Boston area at Natick Mall, followed by the opening of a second store in the Chicago area at Westfield Old Orchard. Additional locations are planned in October and November at Westfield Garden State Plaza, Paramus, New Jersey; The Mall at Short Hills, Morristown, New Jersey; Westfield University Town Center, San Diego, California; Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, Florida; Tyson’s Corner, McLean, Virginia and Westfield Topanga, Topanga, California. Tesla will also open its first Canadian store at Yorkdale Shopping Center in Toronto, Ontario in November.
After these openings, Tesla will have 24 locations in North America and 34 worldwide. Tesla will continue to expand its retail network into 2013, supporting the mission to engage and inform people about Tesla and driving electric.
With the most energy-dense battery pack in the industry and best-in-class aerodynamics, Model S has the longest range of any production electric car in the world. Model S comes with three battery pack options to fit the unique needs of different drivers. The 85 kWh Model S has received a U.S. fuel economy rating of 89MPGe and a range of 265 miles from the U.S. EPA.
Five Tesla Models by 2016
Tesla is selling the last of the 2,500 Roadsters that it built. In case the Model S top acceleration of zero to 60 in 4.4 seconds is not fast enough for you, then you can still get zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds with a Roadster.
Tesla is now taking reservations for the new Model X SUV with all-wheel drive from two electric motors, breathtaking styling including winged doors, and the same roomy 5/7 seating capacity as the Model S. Tesla will use flexible manufacturing to make the Model S and Model X on the same platform. Deliveries start in 2014 for the Model X. The fully refundable reservation payment is $40,000.
By 2015, Tesla is planning on a smaller sedan that will compete head-on in price with the Nissan LEAF and new electric car offerings from Ford, Honda, and others. Expect Tesla to continue to deliver sleek sedan styling, with hatchback cargo flexibility, and premium interior. This smaller sedan will be the first to use a third-generation Tesla vehicle architecture that also will be used in 2016 in a smaller crossover and in a sports car replacement of the Roadster.
The Tesla Model S is manufactured in Fremont, California, at the edge of Silicon Valley. Tesla is expanding production from the current 80 cars per week, as it continues hiring and adding advanced robotics to the ultramodern factory.
Lithium-battery cells and packs continue to fall in price each year. This trend, coupled with Tesla ability to build multiple models in volume using common battery packs and platforms will drive prices down in future years. More car drivers will buy what they have been waiting for – an all-electric car with a 300-mile range and no compromises.