Premium electric carmaker Tesla Motors on Thursday unveiled its second vehicle, a four-door sedan that sells for $49,9000 after the federal tax credit of $7,500.
The company has begun taking orders for the Model S, which can carry up to five adult passengers travel up to 300 miles per charge. Production in Southern California is scheduled to begin in 2011.
The Model S carries its charger onboard and can be recharged from any 120V, 240V or 480V outlet, with the latter taking only 45 minutes, the company said.
At the unveling in California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk heralded the vehicle as the first mass-market, highway-ready electric vehicle. He said the price is comparable to that of a $35,000 gasoline-powered car such as a Ford Taurus, assuming gas prices of about $4 a gallon.
Tesla detailed numerous features of the vehicle including a floor-mounted powertrain that makes way for cargo space in the rear trunk and a second trunk under the front hood. The company said the model S has more trunk space than any other sedan on the market and more than some SUV and that it is capable of carrying a 50-inch television, mountain bike and surfboard simultaneously.
“Model S doesn’t compromise on performance, efficiency or utility–it’s
truly the only car you need,” said Tesla CEO, Chairman and Product
Architect Elon Musk. “Tesla is relentlessly driving down the cost of
electric vehicle technology, and this is just the first of many
mainstream cars we’re developing.”
The company has not released options pricing. Three battery pack choices will offer a range of 160, 230 or 300 miles per charge. Tesla said driving the Model S costs roughly $5.
A 17-inch touchscreen with in-car 3G connectivity allows passengers to
listen to Pandora Radio or consult Google Maps, or check their state of
charge remotely from their iPhone or laptop.
Tesla said by recharging the car during stops to eat, drivers can go from LA to New York in approximately the same time as a gasoline car. Also, the floor-mounted battery pack is designed to be changed out, allowing for the possibility of battery-pack swap stations.
The company said it expects to receive $350 million in federal loans soon to build the Model S assembly plant in California.
Tesla is already selling its first production vehicle, a sports car called the Roadster that goes 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds and costs about $100,000.
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Toyota Motor Co. (NYSE: TM) announced that it is developing a low-cost hybrid version of its Yaris model to compete with Honda Motor Company‘s (NYSE: HMC) Insight hybrid.
The Yaris is expected to be priced under $20,000. Honda aimed to undercut the success of the Toyota Prius, by offering its Insight at just under $20,000 beginning next month.
However, the Yaris hybrid isn’t expected to hit the streets until 2011.