Tesla has been running a road show taking what they call “beta prototypes” of the Model S sedan on a tour of Tesla dealers in North America and they brought one to the NAIAS. With production scheduled to begin this summer, it’s very close to what the production Model S will be. Though the totally electric Model S uses the latest technology, the design, headed by Franz Von Holzhausen, includes a throwback to the 1960s. The S is said to offer seating for “five adults and two children”. The two children are meant to sit in an optional rear facing third row. That motion sickness inducing feature was popular in American station wagons in the 1960s. The S is arguably the best looking 7 passenger vehicle you can buy. In addition to the complete Model S, the Tesla display also included the lower part of the car’s chassis, which includes the battery and two electric motors. The Tesla Roadster, based on the Lotus Elise, had its battery pack mounted behind the passenger compartment.
The Model S is a clean sheet design and its batteries are mounted inside the wheelbase, under the floor of the passenger compartment. That should help with handling because of the low center of gravity and low polar moment of inertia. Tesla has also announced pricing and options for the Model S. The S will be offered with three battery options, 40 kWh (160 mile range), 60 kWh (230 mile range) and 85 kWh (300 mile range), and prices of $49,900, $59,900 and $69,900 after the $7,500 Federal tax credit. A higher performance Model S Performance version with a high energy inverter will be available for $84,900. That has a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds. The base Model S has a 0-60 time of 6.5 second. In addition to the rest of the vehicle’s warranty, the battery will be covered by an 8 year warranty.
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