According to Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, fewer than 10% of Model S buyers opted for the base 60kWh rear-wheel drive model. Most buyers probably figured that while spending that kind of coin, might as well pay up a little bit and get the bigger battery (and more recently maybe the dual-motor all-wheel drive option). This is probably why the company has decided to introduce a new model at the low-end of its lineup (which is still quite high-end compared to most other vehicles): The Model S 70D will now offer a bigger battery pack, better performance, and AWD for ±$5,000 more than its predecessor. Seems like that's a deal that Tesla fans are eager to make.
The Model S 70D gets "a slight price increase, but it's a huge value increase," Tesla's chief executive, Elon Musk, said in an interview. "Customers wanted something that had more range and they really wanted all-wheel drive."
EPA rated range on the 70D is 240 miles, and zero-to-sixty is an impressive 5.2 seconds thanks to the 329 hp coming from the two motors. It will be available in colors that are new to the Model S: Ocean Blue, Obsidian Black and Warm Silver.
The Model S 70D is priced from $76,070 and will begin shipping to customers in late May. After government incentives, it'll be under $70k, and if you count fuel savings into account over a 5-year period (apparently the average amount of time that people keep their cars nowadays), you save another 10 grands versus a comparable gasoline-powered car ($10,000 over 5 years is $41/week, which might be high or low depending if you would be driving a Prius or a F250 instead). Some people will claim that Tesla is "cheating" by applying the fuel savings to the price, trying to reduce sticker shock, but this isn't made up money and it's something that casual observers often forget when they compare an EV to a gasoline vehicle, so it's good to have the reminder there.
The 70D also includes Supercharging capability, Autopilot hardware, navigation, and blind spot detection. Plus any future software updates that might improve range or performance, or add new feature, as the 6.2 update recently did.