A Bargain Compared to the RoadsterAt the opening of their newest store in Milan, Italy, Tesla executives gave an update on the Model S electric sedan, their upcoming EV. George Blankenship, Tesla's Vice President for worldwide sales and "ownership experience" answered customer questions about pricing, battery option availability, and the delivery schedule. Read on for all the details.
Here's what is known so far:
- Alpha testing is in full swing. The first Alpha hit the road in December 2010, and we continue to test as planned. Final assembly of the production-intent Beta vehicles will be done at the Tesla Factory this year and provide us with further testing and development opportunities.
- Deliveries for North America begin in mid-2012.
- The first 1000 cars off the line will be the North American Model S Signature Series. Those vehicles will be equipped with a 300 mile range battery. In the tradition of a limited-edition series, they will feature unique badging and an extensive complement of options.
- After the Model S Signature Series, deliveries for North America will continue with the 300 mile batteries, followed by 230 and 160 options later in 2012.
- Delivery of the European left-hand drive Model S is scheduled to begin in late 2012. In mid-2013 we plan to begin delivering the right-hand drive Model S for Europe and Asia. Each launch will begin with a limited edition Signature Series.
- We expect to produce approximately 5,000 units in 2012 as we ramp to full single shift production capacity of 20,000 units per year in 2013.
- The price of the US base Model S with a 160-mile battery is $49,900 after the $7,500 federal tax credit. The 230-mile range option is expected to price at about $10,000 more and the 300-mile option at about $20,000 more than the base.
- We are currently working on final pricing and options for Model S, including the Signature Series. We expect to have updates on Model S pricing worldwide this summer.
Obviously, it's still a luxury car that isn't accessible to most people. Even if you consider the gas savings, which can be substantial over the life of the vehicle, the $50k model is still nowhere near "inexpensive". But it's getting closer. Most new technologies follow that progression: Very expensive at first, and they don't work so well, and after a few iterations they become less expensive and work better (think cell phones, computers, microwaves, VCRs/DVD players, etc). It just takes a longer time with things like cars because the capital investments are enormous and the complexity is high. But we need early adopters who pay the big bucks because it funds the next models...
So as I always say, it's still better to walk, bike, take transit. But if you're going to have a car, keep an eye on the progress of electric cars and plug-in hybrids. A car's lifecycle environmental footprint mostly comes form the fuel that it burns, so switching to electricity (especially as we clean up the grid) can make a big difference.
Via Tesla Motors
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