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Tesla unveils the Model S electric sedan

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Tesla's first all-original car, the upcoming Model S plug-in electric sedan, has just been unveiled. The surprisingly attractive vehicle also offers very good performance and, when technological features are taken into consideration, almost impossible value.

The prototype was unveiled today at Tesla's design studio inside CEO Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket factory in Hawthorne, California. Tesla's Elon Musk demonstrated its functionality outside the plant, confirming it is in fact drivable. The company says that the final production model will be almost identical in appearance. Just last week Tesla released official pricing info for the car, with a target of $57,400 before the $7,500 tax credit it will be eligible for, which brings the final effective price down to $49,900.

A quick run-down of the car's stats reveals the Model S will carry on the Roadster's mantle of green performance, while expanding considerably on its utility: a 300mi (480km) range is complemented by an expected 0-60mph (96km/h) time of 5.5-6.0 seconds. There's even work being done on an optional 600mi (960km) extended-range battery pack. Despite the range of the 300mi pack, Tesla is claiming a 45 minute quick-charge time. The battery pack itself will be warrantied for 7-10 years, while the car will be warrantied separately for a period of 3-4 years.

The official photos of the car reveal an exterior more or less as expected, though the flavors of Jaguar, Maserati and Karma are more upscale than its price would suggest. Tesla's hiring of Mazda's former chief designer for the project probably explains that, however. The unfinished interior shown in leaked photos threw the 'drivable' aspect of the prototype into doubt, but the official shots reveal a car that is in fact ready to run - though probably not ready for volume production.

A huge central screen area will house a haptic (read: touch feedback) touchscreen interface, while a second LCD serves as the instrument panel. The presence of such a huge display hints at the highly reconfigurable nature of the system, perhaps even allowing customized gauge and feature layouts. Again, this feature seems to be well beyond the $57,400 price tag of the Model S. A unique interior configuration allows seating for seven with the installation of a pair of child-sized jumper seats in the rear of the car.

The car will also have a few high-tech and high-performance toys that further build the mystery of just how so many features fit into the price tag, including full-time 3G connectivity with Internet, HD and satellite radio, a six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo brake system, 21in wheels and LED/neon head and tail lights.

The Model S is already on pre-order at a reservation fee of $40,000 for the Signature Edition model and $5,000 for the standard Model S. The car should be launched by late 2011 if Tesla can secure the funding necessary to produce the car, and the plant in which it will be built.
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Comments (17)
  1. Somebody ripped off Jagaur! Which is a good thing as since when was the last time anybody thought Jaguar styling was good enough to copy and turn it into a sign of the times/era.
     
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  2. Wow. an industry first! Finally an electric (well, half electric) car which doesn't look like it was designed by 5 year olds in a shed!
     
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  3. The Telso S is a pure electric car just like the roadster.
     
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  4. this car is sweet, a bit jaguar like ...

    what's the driving range of that thing?
     
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  5. hot. HOT. HOTTTTT.

    hot.
     
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  6. So a fuel efficient/electric car can look good. Why didn't they think of this earlier? Amazing.
     
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  7. exactly david. exactly.

    as soon as electric cars stop looking dorky and ugly, and get some sex appeal to them, the market will grow. but right now you're left with things like the prius.

    if the prius had a normal drive train, no one would buy it.
     
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  8. Very, very sleek... I think this car will sell big time for Tesla.
    As for the Tesla name, was the company named after Nicola Tesla, one of the most forgotten scientist/engineer/inventor of all time?
     
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  9. Are people forgetting the Fisker Karma? Still the best looking hybrid/electric/eco car designed. Still, this looks like a better designed Porsche Panamera. See the Jag XF influence, as well, esp. in the taillights and roofline.
     
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  10. Oh, and @ gazzed, I believe they are named after Nicola Tesla; Tesla was a pioneer of AC electricity, so the perfect name for an pioneering electric car company.
     
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  11. gazzed: Tesla the man, or Tesla the unit of measure for magnetic flux density, take your pick.

    Mike: when tesla puts out a car that is half as expensive as fisker and the only difference is a lack of ICE, then yes everyone forgets about fisker.

    honestly i think this car just put the volt on notice given how cheap it is. if some one is out there considering the volt, they really need to shake their head and think about this vehicle too.

    now that the stats have been put up.. those are some stellar numbers.

    I'm kind of ashamed that they dont offer a 10-15 year mechanical warrantee. if they're going to guarantee the batteries for 7-10 then they should guarantee the rest of the drive train for at least 10-15. and why the hell not.. after 15 years, Tesla is either going to be huge, or they'll have gone bust.
     
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  12. yea i agree, this does look like the jaguar xf from the back, can't see the front though
     
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  13. Absolute home run.
     
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  14. 600mi (960km) THAT's progress!!! Finaly a electric car that can go somewhere!!!
     
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  15. 600mi (960km) THAT's progress!!! Finaly a electric car that can go somewhere!!!

    I would say that 300mi is still a hell of a lot more than most people would reasonably need. Sure, a few times a year you might go on a driving holiday but isn't that what rental cars are for? I'd say a 100mi range would cover the vast majority of daily use for most Americans.
     
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  16. 600mi (960km) THAT's progress!!! Finaly a electric car that can go somewhere!!!

    I would say that 300mi is still a hell of a lot more than most people would reasonably need. Sure, a few times a year you might go on a driving holiday but isn't that what rental cars are for? I'd say a 100mi range would cover the vast majority of daily use for most Americans.

    hehe, i'm a European (Belgium) ... maybe it's because i expect an electric car to do as much miles/km than a petrol car does. I guess i don't want re-charge my car each time i get home...because that's not what i'm doing with my petrol car.
    but i guess your right, we have to change our way of thinking, because YES WE CAN drive on electric power!!
     
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  17. Thats a cool looking Jaguar Xf Hmm i mean car, it surely looks much better than any electric car i have ever seen, that a quick 0-60 too for an all electric car, well done for that.
    Makes a change for the damn right ugly homer styled cars from the past
     
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