• Mar 19, 2009
Click above to enlarge Tesla Model S teaser

When Tesla formally announced the Model S Sedan last June, the MSRP bandied was about $60,000 for the all-electric sedan. In its newsletter today, Tesla has confirmed that the "anticipated base price" for the Model S will be $57,400. With a federal tax credit of $7,500 available, however, the Model S should cost just $49,900. Details on what's included in the base version of the Model S should be available at the vehicle's official unveiling next week. Tesla says that even with a sub-$50,000 price tag (just barely), the Model S is really competing with cars that cost much less:

Because of tax incentives and relatively inexpensive maintenance and refueling, the lifetime ownership cost will be closer to cars with far lower sticker prices. [...] The Model S will become the car of choice for environmentally conscious and discriminating drivers throughout North America and Europe.

For comparison's sake, the Fisker Karma, a luxury plug-in hybrid sedan, will start at $87,900. The Chevy Volt will probably be somewhere around $40,000, though GM has not made any official announcement about its price.

[Source: Tesla]

Tesla Newsletter:

250th Delivery

Tesla Motors delivered its 250th car last Saturday. Lucky No. 250 was Dr. Rob Wilder, an academic and entrepreneur who created the first Index on Wall Street for energy efficiency and zero-carbon solutions. Rob lives in Encinitas, Calif., where he charges his Roadster from his home's array of solar panels. He picked "very orange" as the exterior color to symbolize the car's connection with the sun.

"We're not beholden to Middle East oil – and by the way my car is probably faster than your car!" joked Rob, CEO of WilderShares LLC and manager of WilderHill Clean Energy Index, the first Index on Wall Street for energy efficiency and zero-carbon solutions. "This car is an elegant solution to some of the world's most difficult problems. And buying it is helping push along EV adoption generally because Tesla is investing the money in lower-priced cars down the line."

Rob's new car marks a symbolic milestone for Tesla and a personal first for Rob, who previously tended to purchase used cars for no more than $13,000 each. In fact, the Roadster is more expensive than all of his previous cars put together.

"I took a big, big gulp and sent in my check – and although this car may not seem like a bargain, I can now say it's a great value. This is exactly the type of car I'd design for myself."

Tesla is now producing approximately 20 cars per week, which will increase to 30 per week this summer. About 1,000 people are waiting to take ownership of their Roadster, which means Tesla is sold out through October of this year. The Roadster remains the only highway-capable production electric vehicle of any kind (not just in the sports car category) for sale in the US or Europe. It does 0-60 in 3.9 seconds yet is twice as energy efficient as a Toyota Prius.

Model S Update

Tesla will unveil its Model S prototype sedan March 26 at the Tesla design studio inside the SpaceX rocket factory, in Hawthorne, Calif. This is going to be a historic event for car enthusiasts; the Model S will likely be the world's first mass-produced, highway-capable EV when it rolls off the assembly line in late 2011.

The Model S will have an anticipated base price of $57,400. After a federal tax credit of $7,500, the effective price will be $49,900. Because of tax incentives and relatively inexpensive maintenance and refueling, the lifetime ownership cost will be closer to cars with far lower sticker prices. Tesla executives will provide a lot more product details at the launch party in Southern California, home to Tesla's design studio and the world's largest new-car market. The Model S will become the car of choice for environmentally conscious and discriminating drivers throughout North America and Europe. Tesla expects to roughly split initial sales between the two continents, later expanding to Asia.

New Digs in Chicago

Tesla announced earlier this month it plans to open a Midwest regional sales and service center in Chicago, the first of seven retail facilities the electric vehicle manufacturer plans to launch this year.

The Chicago store -- which will open this spring -- is at 1053 W. Grand Ave. in the River West neighborhood. The location gives prospective customers the opportunity to experience Tesla's best-in-class performance under a range of driving conditions, including highways and urban streets.

After Chicago, Tesla plans to open a store in London's Knightsbridge neighborhood. We are also finalizing site selection in Manhattan, Miami and Seattle and scouting sites in Washington, D.C. and Munich, Germany. These stores will expose more people to the Roadster – and most importantly they will serve as a lean and efficient retail footprint as we get more mainstream customers for the Model S.

One reason Tesla service centers will be smaller than gasoline car service centers is that the Roadster has far fewer moving (and breakable) parts than an internal combustion engine vehicle. It doesn't require nearly as much service and maintenance as gas guzzlers, so Tesla doesn't need cavernous service and repair bays and large spaces to store spare parts. Tesla requests that owners bring in the car – which never needs oil changes or exhaust system tune-ups, among other costly repairs -- every 12,000 miles or once a year for a diagnostic check and software upgrade.

Tesla Heads North

Earlier this month, Tesla began selling cars in Canada. We will begin delivering cars in the fourth quarter, and we believe Canada will become a premier showcase for the Roadster. In Canada, the majority of electricity comes from renewable resources, including run-of-river small hydro, wind, biomass, geothermal and solar energy. An EV recharged from the current Canadian grid, on average, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 85 percent compared to an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle. In hydro-dominant British Columbia, Quebec and Manitoba, the reduction would be an impressive 98 percent.

Canadian Roadsters will comply with all national and provincial safety regulations for mass-produced, highway-capable vehicles – and they'll perform in the snow, just as they already do in Northern Europe. The base price for Roadsters in Canada will be set closer to the start of deliveries, and pricing will reflect exchange rates at that time. In the United States, the base price is $109,000.

Thanks, and please be on the lookout next week for official Model S photos and video -- and more exciting news from Tesla in the weeks and months to come!


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Only 50K! A real car for the everyman.

      The only good news about this is that it makes the VOLT look like a bargain at $40K.

      We are still a decade or more away from a practical extended range pure electric car. Until battery technology makes a quantum leap this kind of car is for the early adapter and tree huggers who likely have a Mercedes in the garage as their every day car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Actually, the THINK City is the first all-electric, highway capable car to be sold in Europe. Sure, it's not as quick or as fast as the Tesla Roadster, but it does just fine.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's ridiculous listening to all of you rip on the Tesla. If you consider yourself a person that cares about the environment or at least the electric car movement at all then you should praise Tesla.

      Instead you compare it to the Volt, which is probably the worst vehicle of all time.

      Hmmm, let's see I can get a Volt for $40K that gets 40mpg or an Insight for $20K that gets 50mpg.

      All of you that want to preach about the Volt getting a laughable 40 miles per charge need to understand that it costs $2.50 to charge, which is the same price as a gallon of gas. The whole concept of the car is just dumb.

      At least the Tesla gets 200+ miles per charge and only costs about $4.00 to charge.

      Stop hating on the little companies trying to come up in the world. Don't you idiots realize that if they are given the opportunity to grow that in a few years when they're selling 10 times more cars this car might even sell for $30K.

      Give it a chance
        • 5 Years Ago
        BVZ,
        Thanks did not feel like explaining it agian.

        Both cars are cool, but not the same.

        The Volt can go 40 miles on the battery without using any gas. I am not sure how he gets 40mpg out of that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Where are your numbers from?

        Tesla battery capacity: 53kWh
        Volt battery capacity: 16kWh - 8kWh actually used

        53/8 = 6.6

        If it costs you $2.50 to recharge the Volt from depletion (31 cents per kWh? - I'm glad I don't live where you do), it's going to cost you more than $16.60 to charge the Tesla.

        And 40mpg for the Volt? 50+ is the number GM has put out there, and of course it gets infinite mpg if your commute is less than 40 miles.

        Stop hating on the big companies. Give it a chance.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Volt does not get 40mpg
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Hmmm, let's see I can get a Volt for $40K that gets 40mpg or an Insight for $20K that gets 50mpg."
        Actually it gets around 50mpg + being able to drive on a charge for 40 miles. When you take that in consideration it gets better mpg. The fact that you get 40 miles without burning a drop of gas is a good thing.

        Also, the 40k price is a speculated price before tax breaks. Considering the Tesla managed to get 10k off it's initial price the volt should at least get the same percentage(16%). That puts it at 36k. Still not a deal breaker, but then we don't have any actual price and we don't know how much the government will save.

        I wouldn't buy any hybrid because none of them are good for the environment. If you want to save the environment so badly I suggest that you buy a used car instead of wasting all the resources and energy it takes to build a new one.

        What I do like about the volt is that it the only practical electric car. The problem with fully electric vehicles is that when you run out of power you have to sit at an electric socket for about 10 hours. Normal hybrids have the problem of being partially driven by electric methods. The Volt has a limited fully electric range and when you pass it a gas powered generator produces electricity to push you around.

        Last summer I drove 1000 miles to visit family. The trip to and from the destination only lasted about a day. In a tesla the trip would have taken around 4 days thanks to recharge times. Until we get a proper way to recharge these them quickly, fully electric vehicles are not feasible.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Doesn't a tax credit only reduce the amount of money you pay taxes on annually? So unless you're in the 100% tax bracket, a $7500 tax credit is really a lot more like a $2200 savings.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, a credit is money in the bank. You are thinking about a deduction.
      • 5 Years Ago
      At 40k I'd be up interested, but at 57k it to rich for my blood. I don't need a sports car. I just want a nice EV that I can drive around in that doesn't look completely retarded and I can drive on the highways with.
      • 5 Years Ago
      When I first saw the sheet draped over the car - I thought I was looking at the new baby Maserati- am I the only one to think this ?

      M.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So how many Teslas have they actually delivered to customers so far? I don't see this having much significant impact until they can actually start producing them in significant numbers- and how long will that realistically take?
        • 5 Years Ago
        250, it's the first thing mentioned.
        Plus, they are already making 20 per week, ramped up to 30 this summer. Model S hits the streets in late 2011 according to Tesla, which realistically means spring-summer of 2012.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I thought GM said the Volt would be about $40K, before the tax credit is applied?

      This article compares the $40K Volt figure directly to the post-credit Karma figure. Is that right?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Remember when Tesla had an MSRP on their roadster and then when it came time to actually clap out some cars the realized that their MSRP was far too little for them to operate. I wonder if this car will end up being 65k w/o tax break.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Also: economies of scale.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Exactly. Apples to Oranges.

        Also, let's not forget that the Volt is a more complicated machine. Take away the gas engine, generator, and transmission. Then your Volt is technically comparable to the Tesla. The Tesla simply has a bigger electric motor, bigger batteries, and more luxury components.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Whoops, post-credit Tesla Model S figure I mean.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, it's unfair to compare prices like that. I think both the Volt & the Karma qualify for the same tax credit.

        So it's more like $40k vs $57k vs $87k
        • 5 Years Ago
        40K? And the Chinese electric car they have out know will cost about 20K. Dont know if its any good though...
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