Tesla Model S Electric Sedan Prototype Unveiled


Out in sunny California, the media got its first look at Tesla’s second all-electric car, the Tesla Model S. Already projected to cost $57,400 before a $7,500 tax credit, the automaker has now revealed more details about the Model S. Besides the reveal of the overall design, we’ve learned that the battery pack will have a range of 300 miles and, more significantly, can be replaced in a short amount of time, by the owner. The company says doing so will take no longer than filling up your car with gas. Charging time will remain eight hours, with a partial, quick charge taking 45 minutes.

The car seats seven, but two of its seats are just jump seats in the rear compartment. Car blog Jalopnik has a full gallery of the car you can see here. Besides the Jaguar-meets-Aston-Martin exterior, the interior looks very upscale covered in Alcantara (an option on the production version), with a large LCD touch-screen.

The company ambitiously plans to build 20,000 of the Model S, which is expected to hit the market in 2011. Its current car, the Tesla Roadster, has taken a long time to reach the road. According to a blog post by the company’s president, Elon Musk, on March 24, the company had only delivered 200 Roadsters, and there’s a backlog of 1,000.

The company plans to build the Model S itself, and also says the platform is its own invention. The Roadster largely used technology from Lotus for its chassis.

We have a number of lingering questions about the Model S. Namely, how will it be built in a timely fashion with any type of reliability? The company says it will include a warranty of three to four years. We’re also wondering why a car like this needs a $7,500 tax credit. It might be all-electric, but if you can afford a $50,000 electric car, you can afford a $57,400 electric car — especially considering the first buyers are likely to be Silicon Valley entrepreneurs like Jason Calacanis, who blogged today that he had ordered two. 

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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