After the phenomenal success of the Tesla Roadster, the high-performance electric sports car, Tesla has unveiled a new trick: a ‘mass-produced, highway-capable EV Model S sedan’ – yup, it’s an electric saloon.
The Tesla Model S is an all-electric family saloon car that carries seven people and has a range of up to 300 miles, plus the bit that helped make the Roadster so successful – a QuickCharge capability. In other words, the Model S carries its charger onboard and can be recharged from any 120V, 240V or 480V outlet, with the latter taking only 45 minutes.
The floor-mounted powertrain, says Tesla, also means exceptional luggage space, since the volume under the bonnet becomes a second boot. Combined with flat-folding rear seats, this means the Model S can accommodate a 50-inch television, mountain bike and surfboard simultaneously.
As for performance, a single-speed gearbox aims to deliver effortless acceleration with the standard Model S managing 0-60mph in under six seconds, and on to an electronically limited top speed of 130mph. More sporting versions of the saloon are expected to bring the 0-60mph time down below five seconds.
Tesla, which currently takes reservations for the Roadster online and at showrooms in California, plans to open a store in Chicago this spring, followed by further outlets in London, New York, Miami, Seattle, Washington DC and Munich later this year.
Tesla expects to start Model S production in late 2011. In the U.S.A., the entry-level base price is likely to be a very reasonable $49,900.
Text - Charis Whitcombe
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