Tesla Model S SedanEnlarge Photo
Earlier this summer Tesla unveiled its drivable prototype Model S sedan at Elon Musk's SpaceX headquarters, and opened the reservation books for the car - even though they hadn't broken ground on the factory that will build it. Plans on the factory have since developed, and over 1,000 people have made the $5,000 deposit for the car, raising another $5 million for the car's development. Today, Tesla has released new photos of the car showing it in action on real-life roads.
Earlier photos of the car, whether from the official studio session or the live shots of the rolling prototype, revealed it to be a definite design success, but these latest images - which look to be official - released by egmCarTech show that its attractive lines have some serious legs as well. From the body roll and pitch in a few of these shots, it's being flogged pretty well on the track. The man behind the wheel is none other than the one responsible for the car's design, Tesla's Franz von Holzhausen.
The attractive design and the car's strong specs - even if only vaporware at this point - have led to strong pre-salse. Even Tesla was surprised by the number of people willing to pony up the cash early on, when 520 people had made their reservations in the first week. "Frankly the number of cars reserved in the first week has exceeded our optimistic internal projections," said Tesla CEO, Chairman and Product Architect Elon Musk. "Enthusiasm surrounding the Model S is proof that there's pent-up demand for more affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles - including those made in America."
As interest in the Model S continues to show strength, Tesla has shifted to extolling the virtues of the electric sedan. “The Model S is a better value than much cheaper conventional cars,” said Musk. “Despite the enormous environmental benefits, lower total cost of ownership will soon become the primary motivation for consumers to evolve from gas guzzlers to EVs.” The Model S's lower total cost of ownership relies on higher priced - above $5 per gallon - gasoline. At current rates, the calculation isn't so favorable. But it at least seems reasonable to assume fuel prices will rise again once the economy rights itself.
Tesla has added to the buzz behind the Model S by announcing a Signature Edition, which will be built in a run of 2,000 cars that will be split evenly between U.S. and European customers. The Tesla Model S Signature Edition will be the first cars built and will come with unique interior and exterior features. To reserve one Tesla will need a $40,000 deposit for this special model.
The Model S's statistics are as much inspiration for the early interest as the 'green' cachet or the car's good looks - at 5.5 seconds to 60 mph, a 300-mile range and an incredible price of $57,500 before $7,500 in tax credits, the car offers inexplicable value, especially considering it will be built in San Jose, California. And that's before you get to the car's technological feature list.
For more on the Model S and its production plans, check out our story on the car's unveiling here.