Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S sedan an all-electric, full-size sedan. It’s able offer both spacious seating and cargo room in the trunk and under the hood. While the standard model seats five, it is available with an optional, rear-facing jump seat suitable for seating two children. Because the Tesla Sedan is not limited by gas tanks, catalytic converters, and any (ICE) internal combustion engine.
This takes the total seating availability to seven, making this car convenient for even the largest families. The Tesla Sedan debuted at the 2011 North American Auto Show, and the prototype’s promises of 0-60 in 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 120 mph shattering stereotypes about electric vehicles.The Model S is still in the testing stages, over 10-million miles of real-world driving feedback from drivers who own the Tesla Roaster have gone into the creation of the Model S. These appear to have been put to good use, with the Model S now boasting three battery options; a 300kW, or 400 hp, output; and a charging model compatible with 110 volt standard outlets, 220 volt outlets, and fast charging stations.
The three battery options for the Tesla Model S sedan give the car a range of 160-, 230-, or 300-miles. The sedan comes standard with the 160-mile range battery, with the 230-mile range and 300-mile range options as upgrades that cost an additional $10,000 and $20,000 respectively.
The Model S’s base price is quoted at $49,900 after the federal tax credit.
Tesla Motors has stated that their goal is for the Model S to achieve the NTHSB five-star safety rating for front-impact crashes in 2012. They have also engineered the car so that the battery pack actually serves as part of the vehicle structure.
The battery is located underneath the floor of the sleek looking sedan, enabling the car to handle effortlessly. The Model S comes with a “Power Electronics Module” attached directly to the battery from the motor and gearbox, improving response times and efficiency by minimizing the distance electrical impulses must travel to power the car.
As a nod to their Silicone Valley ancestry, Tesla Motors has striven to retain the sports car feel of the Roadster in the Model S. To this end, the Model S has been designed with rear-wheel drive and its power-train to the rear.
Unlike the Tesla Roadster, which was built on the Lotus Elise frame, the Model S was designed entirely in-house. This, combined with the knowledge gathered from the 10-million real-world driving miles from the Roadster, means the Model S is truly a unique sedan. Among the features that were optimized when the Model S was designed was a battery that, in addition to forming part of the car’s structure, is located towards the rear of the car, along with the motor and power electronics, which are situated between the rear wheels to increase response and handling. However, the car features only a single-speed gearbox.
Charging times for the standard, 160-mile range battery take only 45 minutes at a fast-charging station. A 220 volt outlet, such as those into which major appliances plug, can charge the Model S overnight. It is compatible with the 110 volt outlets that are standard throughout homes, but as these carry fewer amps expect the charging times to be significantly longer. The Model S can also be charged via a dedicated solar panel charging unit that feeds to the wall outlet.
Tesla claims to have advanced beyond the “memory effect” that has plagued other electric batteries. The car uses lithium ion cells, which do not exhibit memory effect, and will not lose significant charge if parked and not driven for an extended period time. However, it is recommended that the battery be plugged-in when not in use to preserve the life of the battery. Current estimates show that after seven years or 100,000-miles, the battery should retain 70% of its standard power.
As with any electric car, it is important to note that use of accessories such as air-conditioning and driving conditions and speed all affect the range of the car. Expect climate control to take five to ten percent off range of the car, while most other accessories will not affect the range much. Driving conditions, rate speed, and weather are also can significantly affect the battery’s range and should be planned for accordingly.
The Model S is also designed to perform well in extreme operating conditions. The batter packs come equipped with re-circulating propylene glycol which acts to cool or heat the battery as necessary, meaning that the car will still function in the scorching summers of Tucson or the bitter winters of Maine.
It is important to note that, because the batter pack is part of the car design, size of the battery does not vary. Only its capacity does. What this means is that, for the standard 160-mile range battery, the company has used a different battery design than that used for their 230-mile and 300-mile range batteries. While specs related to battery weight have not been provided, more than likely the batteries weigh about the same, regardless of which battery range is purchased.
To purchase a Model S, interested parties will need to make a reservation. The Tesla reservation for the Model S will cost $5,000 and is fully refundable. Although annual production is planned to reach 20,000, only 5,000 to 7,000 are planned for the 2012 production year, as the company is working to reach full production capacity.
Additionally, some may be interested in reserving a Model S Signature sedan. The reservation fee for the Model S Signature sedan is $40,000 and, like reservations for the standard Model S, is fully refundable. The Model S Signature is a limited edition sedan that will be produced before the standard Model S goes into production. The first 1,000 Model S’s produced for the US and the first 200 produced for Canada will be Model S Signature sedans.
It will come standard with the 300-mile range battery pack, and while remaining mum on specific details, the company does promise the Model S Signature, as a limited edition model, will offer a range of upgraded features standard and may include colors and other options not available on the standard Model S. The Tesla Roadster sports car, comes with a base price of $109,000. It’s rumored the Model S Signature, with a 300 mi range will have a MSRP of $80,000.
Production is slated to begin in the middle of 2012 with the Model S Signature sedans. When these have been completed, the Model S sedan will enter production. Reservation holders can expect to take a test drive at the beginning of 2012. If a reservation holder wishes to withdraw from their reservation and receive a full refund, this is when they should make that decision.
Approximately three months before the car is put into production, the reservation holder will be asked to work with the company to configure their car. Options and pricing for those options have not yet been finalized, but when they are, each reservation holder will have the opportunity to design their car to their comfort specifications.
Currently, the company has 17 stores worldwide with more planned. While this might alarm those who live far away from the nearest store and need their car serviced, these concerns have been dealt with in the form of a service ranger program. This program sends trained technicians to the homes of owners in even the remotest of locations.
In keeping with their Silicone Valley image, the Tesla Model S sedan will be built in their Freemont, CA plant. All testing for the car is being done on-site there, so that plant managers have the opportunity to work with engineers.
he company promises that this ensures that quality is built into the design. Currently, the car is in Alpha-stage testing. These 20-plus vehicles will be tested individually over 250,000 miles and crash tested before testing moves onto the Beta vehicles for refinement. Once fine-tuning is complete, the Model S Signature sedan will move into production, followed by the standard Model S.
It’s natural to be skeptical of any start-up – especially one like Tesla with such a rocky image. But as we always say, product is king – and Tesla has a proven product already on the road. While the Model S has yet to prove itself, the Tesla Roadster has exceeded all expectations. If this car can do all that is claimed, electric vehicles will have come of age. Thus far, it appears that performance has been optimized, as has convenience.
Being able to charge the car on a standard wall outlet is a definite plus that opens up new avenues for travel, and the fact that the car can seat seven means this is one electric car that is not just built for families of two. If the Model S succeeds, it will be a coup for this upstart company and a major leap forward in all-electric technology.