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

Tesla recently held a celebration in honor of its newest store, located in Milan, Italy. At the event, customers and company-folk mingled while chatting about their favorite electric cars. One of the talking points was the upcoming Model S, and Tesla took the opportunity to give us a few new details about the company's second vehicle.

Deliveries of the North American-market Tesla Model S are scheduled to begin in the mid-2012. Just like with the first 100 Roadsters, the first 1,000 vehicles peeling off the assembly line will be Signature Series cars, which means they're fitted with 300-mile range batteries and identifying options. Once the Signature Series run has been sold, Tesla will continue to produce 300-mile range cars while optional 230-mile and 160-mile Model S sedans will follow later in the year.

The base 160-mile range Tesla Model S will start at $57,000 but a $7,500 tax credit will cut that price to $49,500. Stepping up to the 230-mile range Model S will add $10,000 to the bottom line. The range-topping 300-mile Model S adds $20,000 to the base price. Tesla plans to produce 5,000 units in 2012 before going full-tilt in 2013 with a 20,000 vehicle production run.

Not limited to just the North American market, Tesla will being selling the Model S in Europe during the latter half of 2012. By the middle of 2013, Tesla will have a right-hand-drive version for the rest of Europe and Asia. Those launches will also offer the Signature Series versions.


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[Source: Tesla]


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  • 33 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      If I'm paying 40+ for the Chevy, I shoud just go for the cheapest version of the Tesla and gain a little more prestige for my buck.


      Loving what Tesla is doing in the industry. More power to them and the resurgence of American cars on an international scale. Have you gotten the SHOCK??
        • 6 Months Ago
        You're not paying 40+ for the Chevy, you're paying 33 1/2, less in various states.
        • 6 Months Ago
        re: :"You're not paying 40+ for the Chevy, you're paying 33 1/2, ..."

        Wrong, well at least not absolutely.
        Not everyone that would buy it can qualify for the tax "credit?"

        In order to get that money back...
        1. Car must be paid for in full, whatever percentage of cash or loan
        which is $40+k at the time of purchase.
        2. At tax time you must owe that much in order for it to be "credited"

        Now if you have a $7,500 tax liability... good for you, you get the credit.
        If you dont... you dont.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I know Tesla has either stated or implied that it will be getting greater range in whole or part through higher-performance batteries. That being said, Tesla is charging $10,000 for 70 miles of increased range. Assuming that the car gets about 3.5 miles per KWH (seems reasonable, given that this sort of range is likely to be highway miles and not less demanding city miles), 70 miles will require about 20KWH. At $10,000, the 20KWH is $500/KWH retail, perhaps $400 or a bit less per KWH at Tesla's cost. This seems about right. Do others agree?
        • 6 Months Ago
        You can be sure that the currently published estimated range numbers are when the pack is charged in range mode and under the LA4 test cycle (same as the Roadster's 240 mi range and Leaf's 100 mi range numbers).

        If you're a typical driver, the EPA's appx 27% lower range numbers may be more applicable which would leave you with a 116mi/168mi/219mi "typical" range options in the Model S.

        Still pretty good. The top-end pack should get you wherever you need to go in a day - if you can quick charge it in 45 min as they claim. You're going to need a beefy power source to quick charge the 300 mi pack in less than an hour - I estimate 100 kW or so.
        • 6 Months Ago
        The cells in the 160 and 230 mile packs are the same tech as the cells in the Roadster. The 300 mile pack uses a newer cell.

        Roadster owners who drive them every day (and there's lots of them in the US) get very good "mileage". As long as they don't drive it like they stole it, they are getting 240 to 260 miles per charge, based on what I've read from blogs, etc.

        The Roadster has a 56kWh battery pack. The Leaf has a 24kWh pack, and the Focus EV has a 23kWh pack. Both Tesla and Ford have sealed liquid heated/cooled packs that maintain the pack within operational tolerances. That helps charge/discharge rates, range on extreme weather days and longevity.

        Back on topic, Tesla's website provides an estimate of 300Wh/mile for the Model S, based upon extensive data from existing Roadsters.

        The 160 mile pack in the Model S is a re-packaged Roadster pack (unconfirmed, but a reasonable assumption based on what I've read). That would provide almost 190 miles, if 100% drained. The packs can't be 100% drained due to everything from chemistry instability to maintaining emergency reserves. So, I think 160 is a reasonable expectation based upon the preliminary data.

        We won't know for sure until it's actually in production and the EPA test results come out, of course.
        electronx16
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was doing the same type of math except I reckoned Tesla would be rather optimistic about miles per KWH like is customary in the EV game so I reckoned Tesla would expect the extra 70 miles to come from a 15 KWH battery which would be the same 4.6 miles per KWH they advertise for their Roadster. That would indicate battery prices at about $666,- per KWH. Of course like Nixon said: MSRP is not necessarily a good reflection of actual battery cost.
        • 4 Years Ago
        jzj -

        I don't think you can translate MSRP into cost like that. The MSRP is a marketing device, not a straight pass-through of expenses.

        It's like the NAV option. Some car makers charge $2500 dollars for nav. That doesn't mean it costs them $2000 to buy the NAV units wholesale. It just means they think some people are willing to pay $2500 dollars to have NAV in their new car.

        It works the other way too. If a car maker says they are adding free iPod connectivity in a new model-year, that doesn't mean that iPod connectivity doesn't cost them anything. It just means that there are enough people that want iPod connectivity to be standard in that car that the car manufacturer decides not to charge for it as a separate option.

        All that we can conclude is that Tesla believes that when calculated after rebate, that 50K, 60K, and 70K (plus options) make the most marketing sense for overall profitability.
      • 4 Years Ago
      When will they release it in the Middle East?
        • 6 Months Ago
        +1

        =D

        Actually, according to their world map, Tesla does have a few customers on the Arabian Peninsula, though the nearest showroom is in Monaco or Munich. I don't see a showroom opening up in Dubai any time soon!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm sure all models will be decked out with goodies...seems most all EV's will do this to help the pricing. I think I read somewhere you could rent an extra pack if you know you will be taking longer trips and have the lower model? I like this car, and compare the price to other EV's for what you get, and it's pretty good. I'd say this care looks a bit sexier than the Leaf! ; )

      Man I'd like to see a Better Place like battery exchanger at each gas station in this country, it would instantaneously end the range anxiety (lease the battery).
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm just concerned about the availability of these locations. Sounds like it would be pretty hard to find? Too bad everyone can't get on the same page for swap tech, standards, etc., and then Gas stations, Wal-Marts, etc., could all have stations added to do this. Oh to dream.
        bajohn3
        • 4 Years Ago
        You bet they'll hard to find since almost no automaker is building compatible packs for BP and have no plans on doing so. Plus it would take a huge investment to actually cover the country with enough swap stations to make it work. The whole swap concept is a poor idea and is unlikely to work out, nor is it necessary.
        http://ephase.blogspot.com/2010/12/project-better-place-exposed.html
        • 4 Years Ago
        Tesla has mentioned the possibility of battery swaps (as rentals for trips) being done at Tesla Retail locations.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Sounds like it would be pretty hard to find?"

        Well, it's reasonable to say that if you've bought a Tesla, then you know where the Tesla Store is.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Okay, that makes more sense. That was my original understanding off the Tesla plan, but I think I read into it that there could be an 'Add On' type battery...not sure how that would work or where it would go, so I could see a complete temporary upgrade (wonder how much that would cost, say, for a week?) would work. I'd just love to see the possibility of a LONG trip (for me, to drive to visit my family or my Wife's, we'd need to drive 1500 miles. Doing it 300 at a time would make for a few too many stops! Baby steps I suppose.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Even if you know where these Tesla stores are, it could be problematic to incorporate these locations into your 'road trip' plans."

        I see our miscommunication here. You're thinking the swap will happen *during* the road trip, when I mentioned Tesla's concept to switch batteries *before* the road trip.

        You have a short-range battery, but this weekend you need a larger-range batt. You go to the Tesla store, swap in the bigger one, and you're set for your weekend trip.

        At that point, you won't be swapping the physical batt, you'll be stopping at quick-charge stations - but roughly half as often as you'd have to with your original batt.

        When you get home, you return your rented long-range batt, and get your original battery reinstalled.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Even if you know where these Tesla stores are, it could be problematic to incorporate these locations into your 'road trip' plans.

        Also, the swap stations are a good idea, if you live somewhere besides the US, where it's impossible to do anything progressive in a timely manner. That is why smaller, more agile European and even Arabic (oil rich) countries will all have better EV infrastructure than us.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Let's see..

      Choose the..
      Stunning 300 mile Tesla Model S at $77,000 or the
      well.. mustache looking 50 mile hybrid Karma at $95,900?

      for those willing to spend that amount of money
      the answer is obvious.

      By the time that Model S will be out
      DC Fast Chargers will be almost everywere
      http://www.theevproject.com/
      so.. 280 mile trip, rest 1 hour and recharge, go another 280.

      Somebody said Better Place will fail.
      With $700 million and 70,000 cars sold
      1 year before starting, how could they fail?

      video:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk-aVB7LgFI
      Fast forward to 24m:57s. All the video is amazing to watch..

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Better_Place

      ff
        • 6 Months Ago
        Vectrix failed with $800 million.

        Better Place have sold no cars at all! So far nobody has even manufactured 70,000 EV's.

        Battery swapping is a completely silly idea which is why Better Place is trying to invest in charging stations!.
        • 6 Months Ago
        finder said "for those willing to spend that amount of money
        the answer is obvious."

        Yes it is obvious. Buy one of each. They compliment each other nicely.

        With threads talking about how there are only hundreds of Leafs and Volts sold so far, we've already gotten stories about multiple people who own one of each. It really is the best current answer for your typical 2+ car suburban family that makes up the core new-car buyer. No reason to wait for any infrastructure.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Very interesting article.

      I would like to make three observations.

      " RHD" for the rest of Europe and Asia", (sigh) so it's finally come to this, Great Britain has become, just the 'rest of Europe' !

      More seriously, and not wishing to sound like the resident Grampii, Tesla has yet to release these long awaited vehicles. Until Tesla do, no real evaluation can be properly assessed.

      Tesla may have difficulty under normal driving conditions (including passengers) achieving these figures. However, even a year in battery development is a long time! Given the rapid advances in battery technology, by the time the 2012 twelve launch date is stretched to 2013, an entire new generation of batteries could be available.

      The Better Place concept of battery swapping is a silly idea, logistically impractical, and lifted straight out of an old 1950's 'popular science-type ' magazine.

      Anyone attending a Better Place hype session, can not fail to see the glaring inadequacies of Better Place. The basic premise of the Better Place business model is deeply flawed, and Better place itself is abandoning the battery-swapping concept to concentrate on selling charging stations.

      It's difficult to see how Tesla can survive as a mainstream manufacturer. Once the other giant manufacturers enter the market, capital requirements and unit cost advantages will prove very daunting for Tesla.

      Small manufacturers survive in the specialist sports and luxury car market, where there is sufficient profit from loyal (and wealthy) enthusiasts to support high profit margins.

      But the Tesla S is aimed at the most competitive of all markets, the family executive sedan. Mostly this class of vehicle relies upon fleet sales to boost production numbers of a vehicle which is basically just an upmarket version of a family sedan.

      Will there be enough buyers to prove the Tesla profitable? Possibly, but with competition and no subsidies, doubtful.

      But time will tell, I wish Tesla good fortune! However, seeking a strategic partner like Toyota, or Ford might be a wise move for survival of the marque.
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ Time to thinkThank you for your reply.

        Tesla is not a philanthropic enterprise! It may have started out exactly as you say, very idealistic.

        However, it's now a business, and a Public Company, with investors and shareholders. The law doesn't allow the Tesla directors to be idealists any longer, they must make a profit!

        You are correct, if Tesla can continue to R&D sufficiently advanced EV technology, then like many specialist manufacturers, Tesla can offset a huge part of otherwise crippling development costs by sales to mainstream OEM's.

        This could allow Tesla to continue to make a limited range of quality EV's, sold profitably to those EV enthusiasts willing to pay a premium for cutting edge and prestigious technology.

        Good luck to Tesla. Lets hope it works out! The only problem is that history teaches, such small makers end up being swallowed by one of the giants over time.

        but, who knows? Maybe Tesla is the exception.
        • 6 Months Ago
        They were already profitable with the Roadster; their collaborations with Toyota and Daimler are doing fine, as well, last I heard.

        Tesla is not intended to be solely an automaker. Their goal at the outset was to do everything they can to advance EVs to be mainstream. That includes making their own cars as well as designing and providing the powertrains for other automakers. The Roadster shook the entire industry to its core, which was the whole point, besides being profitable in order to keep going.

        I do not know if they will survive in the long run. Given the fact that their cars offer capabilities no-one is even trying to emulate right now, Tesla is fine for several years. There's nothing like them at any price point.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's not bad at all. I know this might sound crazy but I was honestly expecting the 300-mile pack to be a $30k add-on.

      I wonder what options they're planning to have for Model S.
        • 4 Years Ago
        According to Tesla's website, the two child seats in the rear (that makes the total 5+2 seating) are optional, as is the panoramic roof with sliding sunroof. No pricing details at this point for those options. It is also been assumed that there will be rim options. I'm sure there will be interior upgrades and such.

        If you look at the Roadster page on Tesla's site and look at the standard and optional features, that should give you a rough idea for what to expect for the Model S.
      • 4 Years Ago
      if it ends up being true (still a big if) then that's a bit better than I expected.
      combined with the second wave of peak oil they might just sell just enough cars to spin yet another significant loss on a model into a success story and stay alive to repeat the failure on a 3rd or even 4th model : )

      2 ton cars have no place in an EV future. tesla will only make it if they go lean. but they wont listen, so they wont make it...
        • 6 Months Ago
        They were profitable on the Roadster and their collaborations with Daimler and Toyota. Then, they went in the red to get the Model S to production. They will be profitable again - they aren't dumb. The DOE is giving them $465M in low-interest loans to help get the Model S to market. It won't be an issue.
        • 6 Months Ago
        from what I know they've taken huge loss on the roadster. not sure what it is now but it was around 300k$ spent on each car built when they had done 1000. that's one hell of a business model.

        they have around 800 employees now who swallow maybe 50million dollars per year in salary alone. even if they could sell roadsters at 100% profit they would have to sell 450 per year at 110k$ just to pay their salary.
        tesla motors is a cash burn machine. an ever expanding bubble. a ponzi scheme in a very real sense, each step has to be much bigger than the previous one to cover the loss with the only chance of surviving being a massive success at the end of a string of failures.

        they have failed to take advantage of weight and aerodrag reduction which I consider to be key to EV viability. so I don't think that such a success can come. I consider their chance of survival to be quite academic at this point, even taking into account how the imminent peak oil shortage will focus the attention on EVs. that might give them a year of sales with the model S but will quickly fade as the bigger car makers join in with multiple EV models that are increasingly affordable.
        they had a great opportunity and the roadster has played a historical role but tesla motors is going bye bye.
      electronx16
      • 4 Years Ago
      I do agree the 300 miles Model S does seem quite competitively priced compared to the Karma series hybrid. On the one hand this might indicate that series hybrid vehicles are just really expensive to build (basically the part count of a double drivetrain vehicle); on the other hand: the Karma is close to launch and there is no telling where Model S pricing will end up once they actually hit the market.
        • 6 Months Ago
        @electronx16
        The price will be what it is: $57,400 before any tax incentives. They said that two years ago, and they repeated it in the release. It's a done deal as far as I'm concerned.

        Also, bear in mind that all the press releases I've found say "about" $10k per pack upgrade. There's a chance it could be less. Perhaps not at first, but eventually. The first few Roadsters sold for tens of thousands more than the eventual $109,900 they settled at.

        Also, the Karma is more expensive than the Model S, it's no closer to production than the Model S is, AFAIK, and there's minimal cargo space. The Model S is far more practical for daily use, though not quite as aggressive-looking.

        From everything I've read, the Model S and the NUMMI plant are on pace to start deliveries in the second half of 2012. Barring a natural disaster stateside, there's no reason to expect anything different at this point.

        The Model S will be an instant success, even more than the Roadster (reservations are still outpacing deliveries, producing 80+ units per month). Everyone else has lower-performance, 100-mile max vehicles, mostly in the compact range. There's no announcements of concept vehicles, much less production-intent vehicles, AFAIK, that are designed to go beyond 100 miles per charge, not to mention the luxury and performance levels. There's nothing like it. Even the RAV4 EV they are building with Toyota is only going to have a 100 mile range. They have no real EV competition until at least 2016.

        Additionally, now that they have a platform developed, they can do an SUV and/or crossover, etc., without as much effort as the Model S required. The available manufacturing capacity of the NUMMI plant is far greater than the 20,000 per year Model S production. They're in great shape.

        In short, I see no competitive nor monetary nor manufacturing nor technological limits to Tesla's success for several years at least. Everyone else is waaaay behind the curve.
      • 4 Years Ago
      @Dave R
      The 245 miles is EPA combined city/highway testing, although it may be using a pre-2008 formula. Calculating from the 31kWh/100 mile combined sticker efficiency and 53kWh battery yields 171miles, but if I'm not mistaken, that includes charging losses since EPA tests that number from plug to wheel.

      It gets 255 miles on the LA4 (city) cycle that Nissan claims yields 100 miles for the Leaf.
      Using the 27% adjustment factor like in the Leaf, that yields 186 miles, which most Roadster owners can regularly hit (200 miles seems typical).

      http://www.teslamotors.com/about/press/releases/tesla-motors-announces-2008-roadster-production-schedule-and-achievement-critic

      Right now we don't even know how the EPA got that 73 mile number for the Leaf and why Tesla isn't subject to the same adjustment.

      Another data point I can throw in is Tesla was quoted that the 160 mile pack will be 42kWh. Tesla will be using Panasonic NCR18650A cells in the 300 mile Model S, per press releases (3.6V 3100mah, 11.16Wh). Given rumored ~7800 cells in that model, that's 87kWh. That's 45kWh more capacity for $20k or a MSRP of $444/kWh.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good update on expected base prices. I look forward to hearing about option packs and trim levels in the coming months!

      How much are those "Signature Series" going for? I'd imagine that they represent the top end of the pricing structure - 300 miles plus "...an extensive complement of options."
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