Tesla Model S - Better Looks at a Better Price

Former design director for Mazda Franz von Holzhausen is the sedan’s chief designer, and he’s put together an attractive-looking sedan than should compete with the likes of the BMW 5-series.
Tesla Model S

by Ross Bonander

Specs:

  • Type: 100% electric vehicle
  • Class: Sport sedan
  • Manufacturer: Tesla Motors
  • Propulsion system: Unknown right now
  • Top Speed: Unknown right now
  • Zero-to-60: Under 6 seconds
  • Vehicle range: 240 miles
  • Fuel(s): Electricity
  • Battery system: Lithium-ion
  • Tailpipe emissions: None
  • Price: $60,000 (est. 2010)

The manufacturer says

“We will spend... extra time refining the vehicle design and powertrain technology, so the car will end up being slightly better.”

The critics say...

“Maybe we're just getting old, but we much prefer the new Tesla Model S to the much-too-Lotus-y Tesla Roadster.” Uncrate.com

Overview

Formerly known as the Whitestar, the Tesla Model S is the San Carlos carmaker’s more affordable all-electric 4-door, 5-passenger sedan.

While the Roadster is built with Lotus and based on the Elise platform, the Model-S is all Tesla. Although a few photos have surfaced, the car itself may not make its debut until the Geneva Auto Show in March of 2009. It is loosely scheduled to go into production in mid-2011, according to Elon Musk’s blog at the Tesla web site.

What we like...

The decision against going hybrid. Initially, Tesla announced they would offer an extended-range hybrid of the Model S that would include an ICE for conventional gasoline but that plan has apparently been scrapped. Good. Let’s keep Tesla in all-electric mode.

The price. At $60,000, this is almost a steal.

The design. Former design director for Mazda Franz von Holzhausen is the sedan’s chief designer, and he’s put together an attractive-looking sedan than should compete with the likes of the BMW 5-series.

What we don’t...

It’s way too early to offer anything in this regard. We’ll fill it in as information becomes available.

Conclusions

The majority of the Model S program is being paid for by a loan from the Department of Energy—meaning that in the current market there’s a slight delay in the vehicle’s production schedule.

Again, it’s too early to say too much about the Model S, but there’s reason enough to get excited about it.

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