Tesla Model S Electric Car: 300 Miles Range, Seats 5+2, 0-60 MPH in 5.6 Seconds (Slideshow)

tesla model s electric car with roadster photo

The Tesla Model S electric car next to the Tesla electric Roadster. Click the image above to see our Tesla Model S slideshow.

Base Price: $49,900 After $7,500 Tax Credit

Finally! After all this time, we now know what the Tesla Model S electric car will look like, and what its basic specifications will be. Tastes are subjective, but I think it's quite beauty. Compared to the electric Roadster (pictured above in red), the Model S looks like a grown-up car. It's still sporty, but this time people with a family will actually take a second look. Read on for more photos, specs, etc.

tesla model s electric car photo

The Tesla Model S electric car. Click the image above to see our Tesla Model S slideshow.

Performance, Range, etc

Speed freaks rejoice, it's not because the Model S can seat 5 adults (and 7 if you count the space for baby seats under the hatch, though I'm not sure how often that feature will be used... But Tesla markets the car as "seating 7") that it's slow.

0 to 60 mph: 5.6 seconds, and an upcoming sports version should bring that to "under 5 seconds".

Range is 300 miles, though there will be different battery options, with less expensive ones giving you a range of 160 or 230 miles. Charging time is 4 hours with a 200-volt power outlet, but a quickcharge can be done in 45 minutes and the Model S was designed so that the battery could be swapped in 5 minutes (not clear what kind of infrastructure would be needed for that, but it's certainly a nice future-proofing feature). There will also be a 440-volt charger for even faster recharge.

tesla model s electric car photo

The Tesla Model S electric car. Click the image above to see our Tesla Model S slideshow.

The Model S powertrain features a liquid-cooled, floor-mounted battery pack and a single-speed gearbox, delivering effortless acceleration, responsive handling and quiet simplicity -- no fancy clutchwork or gear-shifting required. Model S costs about $4 to fully charge – a bargain even when gasoline is $1 per gallon.

Tesla Model S is Big Compared to Small, but Small Compared to Big

Because it's a 100% electric car, there's space for second trunk under the hood. This means that the Tesla Model S will compete with much larger vehicles when it comes to cargo space. Tesla describes it as "more space than a station wagon", but because of the convenience of the rear hatch and the 60/40 folding seats, the Model S could actually compete with some SUVs.

There's a 17-inch LCD screen in the center console and the car will have internet access via 3G. This means access to online maps and all kinds of apps that will no doubt be developed for online cars, but it also means that the Model S can let you know (via email to SMS) when the battery is charged.

Tesla says that even though (after tax credit) the Model S electric sedan will cost $49,900, it will compete with gasoline cars in the $35,000 range because of the savings on fuel. This makes the Model S look like a pretty good value, considering all the cargo space, high-tech gadgets and environmental benefits (especially if you have solar panels or get green power from your utility!).

Tesla is taking reservations right now.

What's the catch? It won't go in production until 2011.

Via Tesla Motors

See our Tesla Model S electric car Slideshow!

Tesla Model S electric car Slideshow

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