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 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.