With most of the electric-vehicle debate focused on the multiple levels of Toyota Prius or whether or not GM is actually losing a shitload of cash on each Chevy Volt, it’s easy for a small startup brand like Tesla, with only a handful of models available for the everyday consumer, to get thrown to the sidelines.
That, of course, was before the debut of their red-hot roadster, as the sports car market literally took the high road alongside celebrity-obsessed models from Fisker Automotive. However, the big red vacancy notice in the electric market may be about to switch off with the recent launch of Tesla’s premium performance sedan, the Model S.
The 2013 version of this car delivers the tried-and-true Tesla powertrain that offers drivers the perfect balance of 50/50 weight distribution in its lightweight, boron-reinforced aluminum body and low center of gravity: Tesla built the vehicle with the car’s electric power components in mind, leading to quick responsiveness and the glorious, road-hugging experience that one expects from a luxury four-door.
The standard Model S comes in three levels of 40, 60 and 85 kWh battery options, which correspond to the roughly $50K, $60K and $70K price points, and comes with standard 19” tires, an industry-leading 17” touchscreen and 58 cubic feet of storage, enough room for five adults (plus two rear-facing children) or a mountain bike, surfboard or flat-screen TV — or all three at once!
The basic 40 kWh battery offers a range of 160 miles and a top speed of 110 mph, increasing to 230 miles/120 mph for the 60 kWh battery and 300 miles/125 mph for the 85 kWh; if you want even more power on the standard Model S, opt for the performance 85 kWh engine, which maintains the 300 mile range but offers a top speed of 130 mph and can take you from zero to sixty in just 4.4 seconds! Not bad for just under $85 K. The great thing about the Tesla is that its onboard charging plug works with both public charging stations and standard 120-volt outlets — talk about convenient! It takes about an hour for 60 miles of range, or you can cut the time in half with an optional Supercharger.
While you can opt for the limited-edition Signature or Signature Performance editions at $87.9K or $97.9K, respectively, with the additions of higher-grade leather, custom paint jobs and carbon fiber spoilers, you’ll have to act fast to order one of the just 1000 vehicles up for grabs.
Check it out at www.teslamotors.com