Tesla announced today plans for its second model, a new electric sedan to be called the Model S. It will be manufactured at a new plant in California, though Tesla did not disclose its location. Neither did the company state a start date for production, but rumors suggest it will begin around 2010. Previous reports claimed the new plant would be built in New Mexico but California’s sales tax exemption on the purchase of manufacturing equipment and grants for training its new employees managed to persuade Tesla managers into choosing it as the best location for the new plant.
The new 'multi-use sport sedan', which goes by the internal name of ‘Model S,’ is confirmed to cost $60,000, have a range of 225 miles and will first start production in late 2010. Unlike the current all-electric Roadster model, the new sedan will be an extended-range electric complete with a compact internal combustion engine used to charge the batteries. The car’s sole drive system will be a high-powered electric motor running on the batteries, which are expected to be of the lithium-ion type.
This design is similar to rival niche carmaker Fisker Automotive, which Tesla claims stole the original designs to develop its own Karma plug-in hybrid. Both companies are now involved in an arbitration case currently being heard in California.
California's Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) approved a program last Wednesday that gives makers of Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs) and other electric and hybrid vehicles significant tax breaks, in an effort to entice production to California. Similarly, to aid their adoption by the driving public in the state, the Alternative Fuel Incentive Program will offer buyers of ZEVs a grant of up $5,000 to help defray the purchase price.
A number of other benefits for owners of EVs and hybrids like Tesla's Roadster or new Model S include access to the lower-traffic HOV lanes and a rating of 10 on the state's new Environmental Performance label accompany the program's adoption.