• May 12th 2009 at 7:49PM
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Tesla Model S – Click above for high-res image gallery

Since it's official unveiling on March 26th, Tesla Motors has reportedly accepted over 1,000 orders for the Model S sedan, a fact that once again proves there are a number of consumers lining up to put electric vehicles in their driveways. Each order requires a refundable deposit of $5,000, meaning Tesla has collected at least $5,000,000 in reservation deposits.

Tesla also claims that the Model S, which is anticipated to carry a base price of $57,400 ($49,900 after a $7,500 tax rebate), will be equivalent to a $30,000 competitor in total cost of ownership if gasoline rises to a stratospheric $5.00 per gallon. We're not sure what mileage assumptions Tesla is using to calculate that figure.

We've repeatedly requested an up-to-date set of order numbers and cancellations for Tesla's other model, the all-electric Roadster, but have yet to receive an answer. In light of this fact and because Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the Roadster is still sold out through November (as it has been for at least the last six months), it seems likely that there have been a sizable number of cancellations for the Roadster. See the full press release after the break.

[Source: Tesla Motors]


Tesla surpasses 1,000 reservations for Model S

Low total cost of ownership drives interest in Tesla's sedan and sports car

SAN CARLOS, Calif. - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Tesla Motors surpassed 1,000 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 reservations immediately began streaming in online and at showrooms in California. The anticipated base price of the Model S is $49,900 after a federal tax credit. The $5,000 reservation fee is refundable.

But sticker price is only one part of a car's total cost of ownership. If you account for the much lower cost of electricity vs. gasoline at a likely future cost of more than $5 per gallon, the Model S is equivalent to a gasoline car with a sticker price of about $30,000, such as a Ford Taurus, Honda Accord or even a Toyota Avalon or BMW 3-Series. Those savings are realized immediately if you lease a Model S, so there is no need wait years to earn back the price difference.

"The Model S is a better value than much cheaper conventional cars," said Tesla CEO, Chairman and Product Architect Elon 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."

Performance with a Clean Conscience

Tesla is the only production automaker selling highway-capable EVs in North America or Europe. 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 - the only car that offers performance with a clean conscience.

Tesla has delivered more than 400 Roadsters to customers so far. The base price of the Roadster is $101,500 after a $7,500 federal tax credit.

The Roadster has a far lower cost of ownership than comparably priced sports cars -- even after factoring in a battery pack replacement. The lower cost of electricity vs. gasoline, the relative lack of maintenance on an EV, and state and federal tax incentives may result in lifetime savings of at least $26,000 compared with a similarly priced gasoline sports car. The Roadster also liberates owners from detours to the gas station and inconvenient trips to the mechanic for routine oil changes, exhaust system repairs and other internal combustion engine maintenance.

"Some Roadster customers are sports car enthusiasts. Some are environmentalists. Some care about energy security. All are discriminating and value conscious consumers," Musk said. "Now we're seeing the same attributes in customers who opt for the Model S. People who drive Teslas refuse to compromise on value, performance or efficiency."

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
      Oh, wow, I just figured out what the model S reminds me of... the Hyundai Genesis Coupe! I had heard it was based on a major manufacturer's existing platform, maybe that really is it?
        • 6 Years Ago
        why not the LS2LS7? says: "Supposedly it's a Mercedes E-class underneath."

        I suspect that you are right seeing as how the mules that were spotted were Dodge Magnums.


        I wonder what version of this platform Tesla is going to use, seeing as how Chrysler is now in bankruptcy. I imagine they're available for a song these days.
        • 6 Years Ago
        except for that whole two door thing...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Supposedly it's a Mercedes E-class underneath.
      • 6 Years Ago
      All I can say is "Go get'em Elon" This is great news for America and the planet. We may be rid of the evil oil empire within my lifetime. Every all electric Tesla car on the road is another point in the GM is stupid column. Long live the EV1! May your ghost forever haunt the executives of GM.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm surprised there are so many optimists out there willing to put down a $5,000 deposit on a car for which there is barely even a working prototype.
        • 6 Years Ago
        perhaps an awesome indication of the potential EV market out there. I imagine that number will grow exponentially as:

        * they become available to buy without a waiting list
        * they start using conventional advertising methods
        * it becomes more and more trendy to own an EV over a hybrid
        * real world people drive their real world EVs and people realize range anxiety etc is not a big deal
      • 6 Years Ago
      Beautiful car -- is "value" so important? I predict Telsa will receive far more orders than production capacity can fill. Go Telsa!
      Curiously, the model S specs say it seats "7 people" -- how many in the trunk? ;) http://www.teslamotors.com/buy/buyshowroom.php
        • 6 Years Ago
        2 in the trunk, no joke. Two people facing rearward in seats aft of the rear axle. The seats aren't even full sized, they're only good for kids.
      • 6 Years Ago
      $5 gas stratospheric?

      After the recession, you'll be *wishing* for $5 gas.

      I'd bet you a gallon of gas I'm right. :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      From the article: "We're not sure what mileage assumptions Tesla is using to calculate that figure."

      I'll give it a shot.

      (12,000 miles per year / 25 MPG) * $5 per gal * 10 years = $24,000

      { And, no, I'm not even going to try to calculate the Net Present Value of that $24K }.

      Some other things to consider:

      - This calculation assumes that not only will gas reach $5 per gallon soon, but also that it will AVERAGE $5 per gallon for 10 years straight. When evaluating the likelihood of this consider our recent history: last year gas was over $4 per gallon where I live but 10 years ago it was probably just over a dollar. So, the average for the past 10 years would be... $3 per gallon(???)... or so... but certainly not $4.

      - I'm guessing that the new Lexus hybrid, Mercedes BlueTec, and VW clean diesels will do substantially better than 25MPG. Course, they also might cost more than $30K.

      As they say, YMMV.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It also assumes that the price of electricity doesn't go up. Which is kind of unlikely.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Your forgetting the other option which is taking the different between the Tesla and a comparable car and hedging Oil (ie buying an oil stock).
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'll reserve judgement until we see how much the Model S really costs. If the roadster is any indication it will cost more than $57,500. The other question which I have not heard addressed about the S or the Roadster, is where do you service it if you do not live in Cali? Or will sales be limited to the west coast? I'm sure Elon's response will be it never needs service, and will never be recalled.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Tesla dealerships are opening up, I would assume that you would service them there, although it still means only those in big cities get serviced easily...
        • 6 Years Ago
        service is at their dealerships, which is why the roll out in NYC and Chicago is so important. however it would go to reason that they might and this is a big might think about hooking up with some current chrysler dealerships, as many are closing with the issues going on with that company. it would make sense for tesla to have their base showrooms but be working with a major market player for a distributed service network. but for now its the major metropolitan areas that get them, how many years did it take for the big 3 to have the current dealer saturation that they now have? got to give tesla some slack on that front
      • 6 Years Ago

      I'm in Silicon Valley.

      A gallon of 87 is already close to $2.50.

      And the economy is in the toilet.

      So imagine the price of a gallon of gas once the economy gets going and the oil speculators take control of the market again.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Tesla Roadster may not be HUGELY cost effective because of its 101,000 price, the model S with it's $49,900 price after tax credit will be HUGELY economical. It plugged in has the power equivalent to a refrigerator. Even if gas is 2.50 a gallon...15,000 miles a year is a yearly gas savings of $1250 over a car that gets 30 MPG. 10 years of battery warranty means that after 10 years you saved $12,500 in gas, FIFTY oil changes, any routine maintenence fluid replacements, and you're looking at $16,000 or so just in gas and maintenence savings. Take away the cost of electricity for 150,000 miles.

      The biggest cost savings with an EV in MY opinion is the LOW DEPRECIATION. At 10 years old and 150,000 miles, and EV is just now losing its warranty(i don't think the Roadster has a 10/150,000 battery warranty, but i know the Volt and other planned EV's will, so i suspect the model S will also)....not nearly at the end of its life. If the battery was designed to be at the end of its life RIGHT around 10 years or 150k miles, that would be bad business because you'd have ANYONE who drove their cars just a bit too hard (perhaps intentionally) to cash in on the warranty. A company has to cover their ass in that respect, and if they say a battery has a 10yr/150k warranty, it's still going to have 5 more years of about 80% orignial capacity, and even longer at 70%.

      So the question is what will a 57,500 EV be worth in 10 years, in good condition? (you didn't beat the interior or body panels to hell, which you almost have to TRY to do)The 7,500 tax credit has no impact on the vehicle's value, which is another perk! What would it be worth then? still works perfectly, has 5-10 years more life at a slightly-ish reduced maximum capacity. What if it was worth $30,000? Sound resonable? You would lose $19,900 in depreceaton.

      So your total vehicle cost over 10 years for the model S is $19,900 in depreciation, plus the cost of electricity ( i didn't count brake services in the cost, because being that they'd be almost the same as an ICE car, i just canceled the cost out and didn't mention it. Save for the regen brakes making the actual brakes last alot longer anyways...we'll overlook that.) So maybe $22,000 total 10 year net cost?

      Compare that to my current car, a 2002 chevy malibu that i bought brand new. It cost 20,000, and it's now 7.5 years old and worth 4,000. My depreciation loss was $16,000, and my maintenence cost at 25 combined MPG at $2.50 a gallon average at 15,000 miles a year is $1500 a year in fuel, so $15,000, plus 50 oil changes and necessary fluid replacements. So maybe $18,000 to $20,000 in fuel and maintenence, and $16,000 in depreciation, and my car's total 10 year cost is 18k plus 16k.

      My $20,000 ICE car over 10 years, $34,000!!

      A model S, $22,000.

      It's over $10,000 better than even a modest $20,000 ICE sedan. Game over IMHO!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sir Vix, you just made my head spin!! ^_^
        • 6 Years Ago
        good analysis.

        game over indeed. Now just imagine if solar panels dropped from $4/watt to $1/watt (provided you get decent solar radiation in your area), batteries increase in energy density and decrease in cost -- nail in the coffin for the ICE.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The biggest question with the Model S remains "who's going to make it?"

      Tesla does not have the production capacity to produce a mass-market vehicle (tens of thousands)

      Call me skeptical, but I agree with analysts who feel the Model S is a demo for Elon to flog around while he positions to sell the brand.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm sure the early adopters will not mind the dealership issues. However for the volumes Tesla is hoping to sell, the average luxury buyer is used to convience. I do want Tesla to succeed, I'm just not convinced they appreciate what it takes to lure a luxury car buyer.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The price of oil and gasoline is certainly unpredictable. As Yogi Berra once said, "It' really hard to make predictions, especially about the future!"

      We can look back over the years and predict that the spike in 2008 was an anomaly and that the price of gas will continue to be relatively low priced.

      If the peak oil folks are right, then doing that is rather like a turkey waking up Thanksgiving morning, looking back over the last 364 days and predicting that today is going to full of sunshine, relaxing and eating cracked corn.

      Don't know if they are right or not, but I guess in ten years we'll find out.
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