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Alexander Haig
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http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story2/1E300AE8A06BED1FCA25758900047F68

First Look: Tesla reveals electric family car

Way of the future: The Tesla Model S is due for production in 2011.
Tesla reveals $49,990 (USD) Model S family car with 480km-plus (300 miles) range

By JAMES STANFORD 30 March 2009


CALIFORNIAN start-up car-maker Tesla Motors has unveiled a new electric family sedan that could revolutionise the automotive industry if it lives up to its own hype.

The Tesla Model S will go on sale in 2011 for $US49,990 ($A72,500) after a US government tax break of $US7500 ($A10,900).

Tesla intends to build 20,000 a year for sale in the US and Europe.

It claims the Model S will seat seven, have a range of 483km (300 miles), accelerate from 0-100km/h in less than six seconds and be recharged in just 45 minutes.

These are staggering figures, which if carried through on, could change the automotive landscape and clear the way for widespread take-up of electric vehicles.

Tesla, which recently announced a deal with Daimler to co-develop 1000 battery packs and chargers for Smart, says it is counting on a $US350 million ($A507 million) loan from the US government to assist with the Model S development and production.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Model S was the first of several mainstream cars the company was developing.

“Tesla is relentlessly driving down the cost of electric vehicle technology,” he said.

Mr Musk claims the S electric car would cost about the same to purchase and run as a regular family sedan.

“Would you rather have this car or a Ford Taurus?” he asked at the launch.

Tesla is referring to the S as the world’s first mass-produced highway-capable car.

Officially it is a four-door sedan, but actually has a hatchback tailgate.

Two of the seven seats are in the boot, facing backwards and are presumably only for children.

Tesla says its chassis and panels are made from aluminium to keep weight down to around 1800kg, around 545kg of which is accounted for by the battery pack.

There is no word on whether the chassis is unique or sourced from another car-maker.

It runs a 23cm long water-cooled electric motor linked to a floor-mounted battery back, and sends its power through a single-gear transmission.

Tesla has not specified the make up of the batteries, but hints it would use lithium ion phosphate cells similar to the Tesla Roadster.

It says the S would have 8000 battery cells (up from 6000 in the Roadster) and that they would be improved with more advanced cell chemistry and greater volumetric efficiency.

The top speed of the Model S will be limited to 209km/h.

While the S would be capable of a 483km (300 mile) range, the standard vehicle would come with a smaller battery back capable of 257km (160 mile) range.

Those who are prepared to spend extra will be able to choose the optional 370km (230 mile) mile or the range-topping 483km (300 mile) battery pack.

The Tesla S would be able to be charged from any 120-volt, 240-volt or even 480-volt outlet. The 45-minute recharge time promoted by Tesla could only be achieved with a 480-volt outlet.

Currently, no public recharge stations in the US have 480-volt outlets, but Tesla says it is discussions with infrastructure providers about this.

The company says the battery pack in the Tesla S can be removed faster than a car’s petrol tank could be filled, suggesting the possibility of battery pack swap stations.

Tesla says it is yet to determine the warranty for the S, but suggests it will cover the battery pack for between seven to 10 years. Mr Musk says replacement battery packs would likely cost “well under $US5000” ($A7270).

As the motor and battery packs are mounted in the floor of the Tesla S, it promises to be a spacious vehicle.

With no engine under the bonnet, that space can be used as a secondary cargo storage area.

The boot, when the third row of seats is folded into the floor, is large enough to accommodate a 50-inch TV.

It features a split-fold second row of seats, which opens up a cargo area large enough for a mountain bike.

Tesla says the S will feature a 17-inch touch screen with 3G internet connectivity, which would also allow customers to remotely check the vehicle’s state of charge using an iPhone or computer.

Tesla is taking orders for the Tesla S online and in showrooms in California. It plans to open a new showroom in Chicago, New York, Miami, Seattle, Washington DC, London and Munich this year.
 

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Kind of looks like an Aston.
 

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Master Sheep Hurdler
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Guess they finally got their tranny problems fixed for their roadster. Hopefully there won't be nearly as many delays in the development of the sedan. A lot of owners were talking about wanting their deposits back because of the roadster delays.
 

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Its amazing what a group of people with a dedicated goal can accomplish, yet GM, Honda, Toyoya, ect struggle.
 

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Master Sheep Hurdler
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Its amazing what a group of people with a dedicated goal can accomplish, yet GM, Honda, Toyoya, ect struggle.
Not to mention limited overhead, bureaucracy, platforms and options to have to consider.:wink2:

It's not like they've created an entirely new car from scratch. All they've really done is develop a drivetrain from many off the shelf parts and a few specially developed ones.
 

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IMO a beautiful car that will set a standard. The future is upon us. Looks like a jag. Probably similarly priced. No gas and probably also just as fast as a jag. Not bad. I saw one of these little two doors from another maker thats electric and running sub 3 second 0-60s. Impressive.
 

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I very much hope this happens. But I'll be shocked if it does.

I just haven't heard of the breakthrough in battery technology that would allow this kind of range, performance, interior room, and relatively low cost (for honesty's sake, let's use the OTD of $57490) all in the same package.

I'd be much less surprised by claims of 150 mile range and 8.0 sec 0-60.

On an unrelated note, the look is *great*; other premium sedan makers could take a lesson.
 

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“Would you rather have this car or a Ford Taurus?” he asked at the launch.

Uhhhhh... let's see $40k vs $70k car.... uhhh... can I have some time to think about it?
 

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I would buy one if it was a bit less $. Good looking, good performance, no gas...
 

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Read between the fine print.

$50K gets you a 160 mile range - not the 300 mile range, that is extra, EXTRA. The 45 minute charging time comes from a 480 Volt charger, which doesn't exist anywhere in the United States. The seating of seven includes a rear torture chamber - I would guess similar to the tiny seats in a vehicle like the RAV4 - only facing backwards with the legs in the storage well.

I'll believe it when they're selling them.
 

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Its amazing what a group of people with a dedicated goal can accomplish, yet GM, Honda, Toyoya, ect struggle.
the guy who founded Tesla, Elon Musk, is a true genius. I'm not saying that this will go off without a hitch (it probably won't) but this guy is a real entrepreneur. He also founded PayPal and SpaceX, which has actually launched satellites into space already with their own built-from-the-ground-up rockets despite only being around since 2002.

exciting stuff....and I agree an electric car that doesn't look weird and goofy (*cough* chevy volt *cough*) will have a much larger appeal. That being said, the realist inside of me realizes that electric cars will not truly begin to replace gas-powered vehicles to any significant extent for a loooong time. Our electricity-generating infrastructure can't handle it.
 

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Master Sheep Hurdler
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they've accomplished more than anyone else has....

and there are Tesla roadsters driving around....this isn't just some concept car. It's real.
How do you figure?

GM leased out 800 EV1's that they designed and built from the ground up over a decade ago.

Tesla has only shipped a little over 700 roadsters based on a Lotus Elise body. Lotus did most of the development on that for them. The only thing Tesla has developed is the drivetrain. Even then, they use quite a few off the shelf parts or commission other companies to develop them for them.

Hardly grounds for saying they've accomplished more than anyone else...yet.:bs:
 
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