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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.

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.

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.


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

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      TSSSSSS... HOT!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Awesome!! I'll get one as soon as it's available. It looks like the Aston Martin Rapide .... nice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Its Project Better Place ready!

      • 6 Years Ago
      I love this car. Hopefully by 2011 I am done with college and and I have a secure job to park this beauty in my garage. Sorry Volt, but this car to me. just the way it looks and what it offers, its worth twice.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Somebody tell me how Tesla gets to call this a $50,000 car. The $7,500 tax credit doesn't get refunded to the taxpayer. They get to deduct it from their tax liability. Let's say you're in the 35% bracket, so the most you get back is about $2700 in real savings. So they should say its $55,000.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ahh, I see. Forgive my ignorance. Thank goodness our Congress has so narrowly defined a lovely tax credit to the advantage of these certain cars over all others.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Someone tell me how a 42kWh battery adds up to 300 miles of range. Everything about this press release screams BS.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Tesla wants to package 2 infants facing rearward in the trunk? No other car does this – maybe there’s reason why. Here’s some serious issues with this scenario:
      1) The infants will be behind the 2nd row rear seat. How many parents will want put their babies out of their view?
      2) The kids will be placed inches from the rear window due to the aggressive rack the rear window. How do you load the rear children? Through the rear tailgate? What happen if child is sitting up instead of all the way back when the hatchback is slammed shut, will the child get wacked?
      3) Tinted glass or not, it will get very hot in Southern California back there. Will parents want to fry their kids?!?!?
      4) If infants are positioned rearward, facing up towards the rear-glass, how do you stop all the sunlight from directly hitting their eyes? Very young infants do not have the reaction to close their eyes in bright light. Facing them upwards will burn their retina’s out (UV glass or not).
      5) Packaging infants back there will put them in the crush zone for rear impact. Imagine someone hitting your Model S at an intersection at 20 mph and crushing your child to death.
      This is bad idea. There’s a reason no one does it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It will also never pass muster with NHSTA, on crash standards. Plus the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will have a field day with putting children in that area. Complete stupidity on Tesla's part, and one of many reasons why starting a new car company is harder than it looks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looks to me like a cross between the Fisker Karma and the Maserati Quattroporte.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Karma is what Tesla paid Fisker to design Model S. Until Tesla found out Fisker was building a competing model with provided tech.

        In response, Tesla canceled the design contract and slapped Hyundai Veloster facia onto Model S instead.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Nice you can get up to 300 miles you cannot beat that plus it is nearly 50 k cheaper than the roadster model if had the cash i would get one of these babies.
        • 6 Years Ago
        With the increases in battery tech, the Roadster should have a rated range of over 300 miles by the time this goes into production in Q3 2011.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Commas and periods are very important when it comes to making sense, okay?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Whoever designed the interior has no clue-Wont be able to see the screen because of the refleaction thru the roof, driver will boil/freeze inside due to the lack of air outlets in the dash-Good effort but not even close to production. If it is - It ll will be another Delorean
      • 6 Years Ago
      BMW 5 series GT but much better looking.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'll believe it when I see it. Given Tesla's track record, I'm not holding my breath.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Does anybody else see this as a previous gen Mitsubishi Galant that's been rear ended by a Jag XK?
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