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Electric Sedan New from Tesla Motors

Learn how a 2011 Model S Tesla was made affordable with the help of a $7,500 federal tax cut to help scale up production and purchasing.

| April 1, 2009

  • Motor S
    The Model S takes three to four hours to charge using a 240-volt outlet, or as few as 45 minutes using a 480-volt outlet.

  • Motor S

Tesla Motors started taking orders last week for its Model S, an all-electric family sedan that seats seven and can travel 300 miles per charge.

The company currently sells the Tesla Roadster, a two-seat electric “supercar” that starts at a base price of more than $100,000. Unlike the Roadster sports car, the Model S falls more into the luxury sedan category and is available at about half the cost: $57,400. However, because they are battery-powered, all Tesla vehicles qualify for a federal tax credit of $7,500. 

The company points out that if gasoline prices return to $4 per gallon, the Tesla Model S will save enough money to place it on par with a gasoline-fueled sedan priced at $35,000.

Tesla is currently accepting refundable deposits of $5,000 for the Model S and plans to start production in late 2011, with vehicle deliveries starting in 2012.

The company is hoping to finance the construction of the Model S assembly plant using a $350 million federal loan from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program. If the loan does go through, the Model S will be available with a variety of battery packs, yielding a range of 160, 230 or 300 miles. It can be recharged using a standard 120-volt outlet or a 240-volt outlet (the type used for electric dryers), but it can be recharged in only 45 minutes if the owner has access to a 480-volt outlet. The floor-mounted battery pack is also designed to be changed out in only a few minutes, allowing for battery-swap services.

The Tesla Model S gains a unique advantage from its floor-mounted battery pack: The vehicle has a trunk in back and a trunk in the front. And although its performance will fall short of the Roadster, it will be able to accelerate to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds, with an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph. A sports version will cut this 0-to-60 mph time to less than five seconds. Like the Roadster, the Tesla Model S will channel its power through a single-speed gearbox.

4/19/2009 12:14:44 AM

I agree with J_R_S mostly - I think 20 to 25 thousand is still too high. If the government is truly serious about going electric, then encourage manufactures to bring it in low enough for anyone that is now driving an old gas burner to afford. If cars like the KIA, Suzuki, Hyundai and others of such ilk, can be brought into the country, paying for all the extra smog crap, shipping, and extra tarriffs, and still bringing them in at under $15,000, then I'll bet with a little bit of encouragement from tax incentives on the manufacturing end, and $7,500 on the customers rebate, even the inefficient American companies should be able to outdo our foreign competitors. After all, they don't have to ship them to the local market by crossing an ocean first - unless they are outsourcing that too. That would keep our auto manufacturers so busy they could hire all of those workers back. Almost everyone driving would send their old gasburner to the destruction derby and silence would prevail on our highways, the smog would lift from our cities, and we would have peace on earth. (Sorry, I got into dream mode.)

4/18/2009 5:35:58 PM

OK... $57,000 is better than $100,000... but even with the Federal tax credit of $7,000 it still costs $50,000. Why won't somebody produce an electric car for a TRULY AFFORDABLE $20,000 to $25,000? And don't tell me the batteries cost too much, they don't, not if they would commit to manufacturing with the same economies of scale that gas-power edautos are built with. The simple fact is that Detroit and the rest of the world's automobile industry do not want to provide us electric cars at a modest profit that lots and lots of people could actually buy and use -- they want to sell a few electric at an obscene profit margin. This is all part of the effort to convert the green movement into something that "you have to be rich to be part of". I don't think *any* Federal rebate or credit should be available for any vehicle that costs more than $25,000. Why are always giving out government credits and rebates to the wealthy -- who don't really need them? If someone can afford this Tesla Electric Status Symbol at $50 K with the tax rebate, they can just as easily afford it at $57 K without the tax rebate.

4/17/2009 11:36:13 PM

I'm excited! This is one of the coolest cars I've ever seen. It is time to get off oil, and start driving cars that we can power from the solar panels mounted on the roofs of our garages! Think about it! No gas, no oil, no tune ups... My next car will definitely be electric. Go Tesla!

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