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

It's been barely a week since the curtain was lifted on the Tesla Model S, and not only has its design received positive reviews, those sensuous lines have seduced 520 people to fork over some deposit cash for the new all-electric sedan. Tesla won't say, however, how many people chose the standard version that requires a refundable deposit of $5,000 or one of the 2,000 Signature Edition models that requires a $40,000 deposit.

Initial sales of the Model S have exceeded Tesla's expectations and are quite a feat considering the economic times, plus the fact that these cars are still a few years away from being delivered. The real test of the S's ability to beguile may come tonight as the all-electric sedan makes its East Coast debut. With the company attempting to secure a $350 million loan from the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program for a plant in which to build the Model S, the car will begin a string of appearances on the right side of the country with a showing at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

Tesla also has good Roadster news. Production of the two-seater sports car continues to speed up and reached 104 units for the month of March. That gives the automaker a total of 170 Roadsters built for the first quarter of 2009 and about 320 altogether, in case you're keeping track. Hit the jump for the press release and bonus videos of the Tesla Model S in action, as well as having its auto-extending door handles explained by CEO Elon Musk.

[Source: Tesla Motors]


Tesla Takes More Than 500 Model S Reservations in a Week

Electric Vehicle Maker Also Delivers a Record 104 Roadsters in March

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tesla Motors has taken 520 reservations for the Model S, an all-electric family sedan that carries up to seven people and travels up to 300 miles per charge.

Tesla launched the car March 26, and orders immediately began streaming in online and at showrooms in California. Tesla plans to open stores in Chicago, London, New York, Miami, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Munich this year.

"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."

The Model S will likely be the world's first mass-produced, highway-capable electric vehicle when production begins in late 2011. The company has applied for a $350 million loan from the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which would be used to build the Model S assembly plant in California.

The East Coast premier of the Model S is tonight at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The drivable prototype also will be shown in New York, Chicago, Miami and Seattle this spring and summer.

The Only Car You Need

The Model S can be recharged from any 120V, 208V or 240V outlet or quick-charged from an external direct current supply in only 45 minutes. You can recharge the car during rest stops or meal breaks, enabling the Model S to go from L.A. to New York in approximately the same time as a gasoline car.

The Model S does 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds, and will have an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph. A 17-inch touchscreen with in-car 3G connectivity means you can listen to Pandora Radio or consult Google Maps, or check the car's state of charge remotely on your iPhone.

The anticipated base price of the Model S is $49,900 after a federal tax credit of $7,500. The $5,000 reservation fee is refundable, and the car is a better value than far cheaper cars.

If you account for the much lower cost of electricity vs. gasoline at a likely future cost of over $4 per gallon, the Model S is equivalent to buying a gasoline car with a sticker price of about $35,000, such as a Ford Taurus. Importantly, those savings are realized immediately if you lease a Model S, so there is no need wait years to earn back the price difference.

Three battery pack choices will offer a range of 160, 230 or 300 miles per charge. The company has not released options pricing.

Tesla also is taking reservations for the Model S Signature Edition with a $40,000 reservation fee. Tesla will produce only 2,000 Signature Edition cars, which will be the first built and have unique interior and exterior features. Signature Edition cars will be evenly split between U.S. and European customers.

Proven Technology

Tesla is the only production automaker selling highway-capable EVs in North America or Europe today. With 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, the Roadster outperforms almost all sports cars in its class, yet is more than twice as energy efficient as a Toyota Prius and delivers 244 miles per charge.

Tesla delivered 104 Roadsters to customers in March, marking the first triple-digit delivery month in the company's history. Tesla delivered over 170 cars in the first quarter – more than the total delivered in 2008.

Tesla has delivered about 320 Roadsters so far. The base price of the Roadster is $101,500 after a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Teslas do not require routine oil changes, and have far fewer moving (and breakable) parts than internal combustion engine vehicles. They qualify for federal and state tax credits, rebates and sales tax exemptions. The Roadster costs roughly $4 to drive more than 240 miles – a bargain even if gasoline were less than $1 per gallon.

Tesla plans to introduce more affordable cars and partner with other automakers to help them produce mass-market EVs. Tesla announced in January it is partnering with Daimler AG to produce the battery packs and chargers for at least 1,000 Smart EVs.

"Tesla is relentlessly driving down the cost of battery technology – similar to what other technology companies did to make cellular phones and laptop computers low-cost commodities," Musk said.

About Tesla Motors

San Carlos, California-based Tesla Motors designs and manufactures electric vehicles with exceptional design, performance and efficiency, while conforming to all North American and European safety, environmental and durability standards. The Roadster, which has a 0-to-60 mph acceleration of 3.9 seconds, is the only highway-capable production EV for sale in North America and Europe. Tesla expects to begin producing the Model S sedan in late 2011.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      as i said in the last Telsa article, i'm glad that there is someone making GOOD NORMAL LOOKING electric/hybrid cars
      every other concept or ACTUAL electric/hybrid car look dumb
      Not all hybrids need to look as ugly as the prius
        • 6 Years Ago
        Most people acknowledge that electric cars will be more reliable and require less maintenance than ICE powered cars.

        Electric motors and transmissions are extraordinarily reliable; it's with batteries that the OEMs have waiting for improvement.
        • 6 Years Ago
        didnt tesla switch from a 2-speed trans to a single speed trans because of reliability problems?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed 100%.
        At the very least, they've been successful at displaying the way these cars should appear in form. As for functionality, they need more time to prove the car's reliability - since there isn't a good infrastructure in place to support the maintanence of these cars, many questions still remain.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Jeezis. This car may be the most beautiful modern car I've ever laid eyes on.

      It reminds me of a Maserati but with better proportions and edgier styling.

      This is the car that could push plug-in electric vehicles into the mainstream. Not the Volt.

      I'd certainly buy one if I were rich.
        • 6 Years Ago
        A nil volume concept toy that nobody's ever heard of, with a years long waiting list and a S-Class price tag isn't the usual route to mainstream success.

        That $350,000,000 in government money they're asking for amounts to $110,000 for every vehicle they've ever sold.

      • 6 Years Ago
      The design is very derivative of the Jaguar XF...it's almost like the Tesla Model S' exterior is the successor to the current XF...
      By the way, the Ford Taurus also takes cues from the XF. See the similar blue interior lighting metal trunk stripe between the tail lights (also on the Model S).
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nothing but a Ponzi Scheme. They should rename that car the Madoff.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Let's say you have a house and a job and owe 100K on the house and have some other debts with various interest rates as well, you go to work and every week bring in so much money in income but are barely able to pay the interest you're earning each month on your debt, that's the boat GM's in.

        Now let's say instead of bringing home a paycheck and going to work you instead just pay to go to work, that's what Tesla's doing. If Tesla had as much debt as GM they'd be long gone already, in perspective when GM started they were able to sell their first cars at a profit, so Tesla has to already work to catch up to where GM was in 1910.
        • 6 Years Ago
        HAHA Your're right. The 320 cars they've already delivered? Totally fake.
        • 6 Years Ago
        320 cars they've already delivered? Totally pathetic. And now they expect to shift focus on a new car? I guess everyone with a deposit on a roadster must figure it's safer with Tesla than in a bank these days.
        • 6 Years Ago
        They're real, but they lost money on them. The only reason they are still going is the cash they've take for cars they haven't even delivered yet.

        khelfand may be exaggerating a bit, but there's some truth to what he's saying.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ why not the LS7LS7?

        Haha your totally right... at least GM has been bringing in the cash on all those cars they sell... that is how they managed to end up in $60 billion dollars worth of debt, right?
        • 6 Years Ago
        It is exactly like a Ponzi scheme! You know, since the only way they let you pay for it is to convince five of your friends to buy one, and you get a cut of each of their payments to cover the cost of your car... and of course each of them gets five people to buy, and so on. Yep, you've convinced me.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ RITmusic2k

        Congrats, you described a pyramid scheme.



        A Ponzi scheme works a little differently. I won't go as far as to say the Tesla is acting fraudulently, but posters here have made some very good points regarding the ethics of taking an almost 80% deposit for a vehicle that exists only in prototype form and which has no factory, tooling, or production schedule.

        I applaud Tesla for their efforts, but I certainly wouldn't do business with them (other than buying an already built Roadster from a B&M dealership). I'd also like to remind everyone that Tesla raised the prices of its Roadster - even for those who had already paid their deposits. I would personally be concerned that Tesla might do that again...
        • 6 Years Ago
        If GM were here taking deposits on cars that won't ship for 2 years in order to get cash they need for day to day operations, I would be saying the same thing about them as I am about Tesla. Do you see GM taking deposits on Volts?

        GM is definitely getting bailout money for day to day operations, but no one is kidding themselves about what that means.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ everyone
        It's been a while where they said they got the costs down to around $80-90k for the Tesla (probably less now). So with the recent price increase, the Roadsters should be bringing in some decent revenue. Not enough to cover the initial investment, but should be enough for day to day operation. So it's not like they are losing money on every car anymore, which it seems pretty much all of you are assuming.

        Taking deposits like this isn't the best way to do things but with a lack of private capital, this is the way they can get public money and start moving faster on development on the Model S (which still has a way to go). A couple of the EV companies have taken early deposits; I don't expect mainstream automakers to do this since they have other sources for cash, while small startups like Tesla usually rely on venture capital. After this round of about 520 deposits, assuming the cheapest $5k deposit, that gives $2.6 million. A decent amount for development. I imagine if the loan is approved there will be another jump, and after ground breaking for the factory there will be more deposits.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm with you Nick. It's just stupid people saying stupid things. There seems to be more doubters than supporters here. I can't understand how these people can concentrate long enough to keep inhaling and exhaling. I guess they don't believe in the abilities of man to progress and innovate, or the need to look at other alternatives. Are you people only interested in lobbing bombs at something that's in the best interest of us all. You really can't think that the internal combustion engine is going to be sustainable do you? I cheer these guys on and hope that they make it.

      Good luck and good night.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I could not even IMAGINE giving Tesla $1 of my money on the "promise" I'll get a car...This whole episode will be very ugly for a lot of depositors...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I hope DOE gives them the funding they need. It's time for innovative companies to get support as we're propping up old dogs who fail to be innovative. I'd love to see a new automaker come out and really take the lead building a quality, desirable and affordable electric like the Model S.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Tesla is a ponzi scheme - they will be C11 before they can deliver this car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        A ponzi scheme is when an investment firm pays older investors with the money from new ones. Tesla isn't an investment firm and does not hand out money, but it makes cars. Since the 'reservation' money only amounts to a tiny fraction of their overall budget (most of it comes from a few investors, including Elon Musk who doled out over $100 million from his own pocket), we can conclude that:

        Tesla is not a ponzi scheme. Will it survive? Who knows?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wonder if the Auto Club still charges batteries?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Unless Chrysler actually announces a release date for the 200C, and they get back on a path towards stability, I plan on putting my $5000 down in the next few months to reserve a Model S.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Does Tesla charge $50k for these "reservations" like they did with the roadster? It's interesting to see how many people are willing to be a shareholder in this company without actually getting any shares or and expectation of an ROI.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Frankly, it already looks outdated. Both the original Tesla coupe and now this are dulled down versions of Lotus and Jag coach works that need freshening up already.

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