Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tesla Model S Electric Sedan

Tesla Motors unveiled its new Model S electric sedan. Wired, Auto Blog, NY Times, CNet, and Green Car Congress were all on the scene.

The new sedan seats 5 with an additional 2 jumper seats in the rear. The 300 kW motor (402 horsepower) allows it to go 0-60 in 5.5-6 seconds and up to 130 mph.

After a $7,500 federal tax break, the Model S will start at just under $50,000. Tesla Motors plan to produce 20,000 units annually starting in Q3 of 2011.

The base model has a 160-mile range pack; 230-mile and 300-mile range packs will also be available. The car can be recharged in 4 hours on a 220V outlet, and it will also be possible to recharge using 440V.

The batteries weigh 1,200 pounds (total weight of the car is 4,000 lbs) and the 300-mile battery has 8,000 battery cells (vs. 6,000 in the Roadster). Advances in battery chemistry and construction increased volumetric efficiency over the Roadster's pack by 50 percent (not clear how the cost per kWh changed). The batteries are expected to have a 7-10 year warranty.

The dashboard uses touch screens and has a 17" main screen that is 3G and Internet capable.

Because electricity is cheaper than gasoline and the electric system has fewer parts that can break down, the cost of running it will be significantly cheaper than a comparable gasoline fueled car. According to Tesla, this will add up to $10-$15,000 over the life of the car (assuming $4 a gallon gasoline). This means it will have a total cost of ownership similar to a $35,000 gasoline fueled car.

Overall it looks really good. A goal of producing a billion dollars of electric cars a year staring in 2011 is impressive. Looking at the delays they had with the Roadster, I would bet it will take them a year or two longer to get things up to speed. But, I think this will be the first electric car sold in large quantities. Let the electric car revolution begin.

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