Tesla Model S – Click above for high-res image gallery

It's been a long and difficult road, but Tesla Motors has made it to unveiling No. 2. After a lot of hype and delivery of 250 Tesla Roadsters, the company's Model S was unveiled today in Hawthorne, California. Tesla was incredibly careful about not leaking a lot of information before today – designing the Model S at a high-security rocket facility helped with that, but we still got a peek a few hours ago – and now that it's here, we love what we see. As for new information on the Tesla For The Rest Of Us (sort of), follow the jump for all the details and check out the gallery of high res photos below.

UPDATE:
We've added official pictures from Tesla, including this one of the Roadster and the Model S next to each other, to the second gallery below.


Related GalleryTesla Model S: LIVE REVEAL

Related GalleryTesla Model S

Live photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.


We have just listened to the panjandrum Elon Musk and the car's designer speak about the new Tesla S sedan, and these are the things to know about the first mass-produced highway-capable electric car: production will ramp up to 20,000 units annually by the end of the first year of production; after the $7,500 tax break, the Model S will start at just under $50,000 – $49,900 to be exact; and 440-volt charging will be available. That base price is for the 160-mile range pack; a 230-mile range pack and a 300-mile range pack will also be available.



Some other fast facts:
  • The car fits seven people and their luggage: five adults and two children in rear-facing seats under the hatch inside, with luggage in the boot up front.
  • If not people, it can fit a mountain bike with its wheels still on, a surfboard and a 50-inch television at the same time.
  • The dashboard screens were installed to rid the interior of buttons. The 17-inch main display is fully 3G and Internet capable.
  • The 300-mile range is possible (vs the Roadster's 244-mile range) because the S has 8,000 battery cells vs. 6,000 in the Roadster, the batteries have been improved in mass and volumetric performance, and there is more advanced cell chemistry in each cell, and the S has a cd of about .27 vs. the Roadster's drag coefficient of .35.
  • On a 220V outlet, the car can be recharged in 4 hours.
  • Option packages are being decided, with the only initial option being the battery pack. Customers will also be able to buy the 160-mile pack and rent the long range pack for a trip.
  • They are finalizing the warranty, and expect it to be 3-4 years for the car and 7-10 years for the battery pack. They expect replacement battery packs to come in at "well under $5000" according to Elon.
  • The quickness: the standard S will get to 60 in 5.5 to 6.0 seconds. A coming sport version will get to 60 in "well under five seconds," Musk says.
  • The car will get a single-speed transmission.
  • The body panels and chassis will be primarily aluminum, with a total weight of just over 4,000 pounds, about 1,200 pounds of that being battery mass.
  • For infrastructure, Tesla is working with a government-affiliated partner to set up battery changing stations at various locations. They will be able to change the battery in 5-8 minutes, "quicker than filling up your car with gas."
According to Tesla's numbers, buying a Tesla S will save you $10-$15K vs a comparably priced gas-powered sedan when gas is $4 per gallon. For an equivalent comparison, you'd have to lease a $35,000 gas-powered car. The biggest hitch: the car doesn't go into production until Q3 of 2011.

Related GalleryTesla Model S: LIVE REVEAL



PRESS RELEASE

At a Glance: Production Model S

With a 300-mile range and 45-minute QuickCharge, the $49,900 Model S can carry five adults and two children in quiet comfort – and you can charge it from any outlet, without ever stopping for gas. World's first mass-produced electric vehicle offers performance, efficiency and unrivaled utility with twice the energy-efficiency of hybrids, making Model S the only car you'll ever need.

Convenience and utility bullet points:

• Up to 300-mile range
• 45-minute QuickCharge
• 5-minute battery swap
• Charges from 110V, 220V or 440V
• Seating for 5 adults + 2 child seats
• Unique hatch for oversized items
• 60/40 flat-folding rear seat
• 2nd trunk under hood
• EPA Roominess Index 121.6
• More room than station wagons
• 17-inch infotainment touchscreen
• 3G wireless connectivity

Model S powertrain includes a liquid-cooled 9-inch motor, floor-mounted battery pack and a single-speed gearbox, delivering effortless acceleration, responsive handling and quiet simplicity -- no fancy clutchwork or gear-shifting required. Model S costs as little as $4 to fully charge – a bargain even if gasoline dropped to $1 per gallon. You can have affordable fun while being socially responsible.

Technical specs:

• 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds
• ¼ mile in 14 seconds
• 120 mph top speed
• Braking 60-0 mph 135 feet
• 42 kWh battery storage system standard
• 70 kWh and greater battery storage systems optional
• 9- inch liquid cooled electric motor
• Single-speed transaxle gearbox
• Curb Weight 3825 lbs
• Overall Length 196"
• Wheelbase 116.5"
• All-wheel-drive available (option available in future production models)
• Right hand drive available

At a Glance: Model S Show Car

The Model S Show Car is a drivable vehicle that exemplifies Tesla's "no compromises" philosophy – an elegantly refined luxury sedan delivering optimal performance without sacrificing efficiency. Designed by Franz von Holzhausen, the car's aggressive stance gives way to a modern silhouette, with minimal front and rear overhangs for maximum space efficiency. The car's mature face defines the future of the Tesla brand and incorporates the touches from the Tesla Roadster. Environmentally friendly materials are incorporated throughout, including water-based paint for the exterior, chrome-free vegetable tanned Italian leather on interior, and 100 percent recycled PET carpeting from Futuris.

Other details:

• Panoramic roof with sliding moon roof
• Retracting door handles for improved aerodynamics
• Full-time 3G connectivity with Internet, HD and satellite radio
• Push button "gear" selector
• Brembo brakes
• Automatic rear lift gate
• 21-inch wheels, Front Tires 245/35ZR21, Rear Tires 285/30ZR21
• 17-inch haptic touchscreen and customizable vehicle information display
• Fully digital instrument cluster
• LED and neon headlight and taillights, with xenon Hella low beams
• Smart-key power and push button gear selector
• Brembo brake system with new one-piece monobloc calipers and integral stiffening bridge to optimize performance
Front brake system:
• Brembo Gran Turismo
• Brembo 6-piston Monobloc Calipers
• Brembo 405x34mm 2-Piece Floating Slotted Discs with Billet Aluminum Hats
Rear brake system:
• Brembo Gran Turismo
• Brembo 4-piston Monobloc Calipers
• Brembo 380x28mm 2-Piece Slotted Discs with Billet Aluminum Hats