2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011
Just as many of us had punchy two-seaters as daily drivers when our hair was thicker and backs were stronger, Tesla first made electric cars cool to a mass audience with the Lotus-based Roadster, which is now winding down in production.
When our fun was done, or at least redefined by life, we traded our little sports cars for more practical transport.
Tesla’s doing the same with the Model S sedan (and soon, the Model X crossover). But don’t take that to mean the party's over. Not by a long shot. On pace to reach consumers mid-year, the 2012 Tesla Model S sedan looks sharp and promises to deliver both on range (up to 300 miles) and performance (0-60 mph acceleration as quick as 4.5 seconds).
Even green car fans have to admit more can be much better. That’s why the Model S is anticipated to be the first electric car with supercharging available, according to AutoblogGreen.com and Engadget.com.
Wait. Supercharging takes air--a lot of it--and jams it into an internal combustion engine. Teslas are pure EVs. Right, that’s why you have to rethink supercharging in an electric context.
Though not possible for base ($57,700, not including tax credits) 40 kWh cars, 60 kWh and 85 kWh Model S owners will be able to pull into Telsa-developed supercharging stations at 10 percent charge and hit the road again with 90 percent capacity in 45 minutes. This is still theoretical, and according to Ricardo Reyes, vice president of communications for Tesla.
Reyes estimates it won’t take more than 30 supercharging stations on the east and west coasts to prove viability and quash range anxiety for good. After stations are in place up and down the coasts, he foresees installing them laterally along east-west routes--someday, perhaps even what’s left of Route 66.
Except for that spiritual journey, only a Roadster will do.