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Tesla promises the world with new Model S. Image by Tesla.

Tesla promises the world with new Model S
Tesla's Model S's capabilities include a 300-mile range, seats for seven and 0-60mph in less than five seconds.
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Newer articles featuring 2011 Tesla Model S

2011-06-07: Tesla reveals S sports saloon
2009-08-24: Tesla Model S on the move

With deliveries of the Tesla Roadster already exceeding 300 (and another 1,000 orders taken), the innovative US company has decided it's time to reveal the next step in its plans for the electrification of the car: behold the 2011 Model S.

We'd be happy to see a conventional saloon as gorgeous looking as the Model S hit production (despite obvious inspiration taken from the Jaguar XF), but it's what's underneath the new Tesla's slinky skin that's getting everyone so hot and bothered. Consider the claimed stats: it's all electric with a 300-mile range and a 45-minute recharge time; the Model S seats seven yet hits 0-60mph is less than five seconds on the way to a 130mph top speed. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?

Yet Tesla reckons that it can have the Model S on sale in just two years' time. That timeline is based on the assumption that the company receives $350 million in US federal loans (about 242 million) from the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program - to build the new saloon in California.

Tesla brags that the Model S is all the car anyone needs. The standard version will hit 60mph from rest in 'under six seconds' (a Sport model will be faster again), yet thanks to the packaging of the batteries under the floor there is room for seven seats. The rear seats may all be folded too, allowing masses of luggage space to complement the area under the bonnet at the front.

Though Tesla quotes a starting price in the US of just $49,900 (about 34,500), the small print reveals that the customer will have to pay more to have a car with the headline range of 300-miles; Tesla will offer 160-, 230- and 300-mile battery pack options. Unlike the Roadster, the Model S incorporates its charging pack onboard, which can take its power from any 120-480V outlet. Recharging can be as quick as 45-minutes if using an outlet with the highest voltage, while Tesla also points out that the battery pack can be changed in less time than it takes to fill a fuel tank - raising the possibility of battery-pack swapping at fuel stations.

Given the execution and sales success of the Roadster, we're optimistic that Tesla can deliver on some of its staggering promises, though the projected launch date of late 2011 seems optimistic. However, Tesla is already taking reservations and has plans to open new dealers in five US cities this year, along with London and Munich.

Shane O' Donoghue - 27 Mar 2009

Earlier articles featuring 2011 Tesla Model S

2009-02-18: Tesla Model S teaser

2011 Tesla Model S. Image by Tesla.2011 Tesla Model S. Image by Tesla.2011 Tesla Model S. Image by Tesla.2011 Tesla Model S. Image by Tesla.2011 Tesla Model S. Image by Tesla.

2011 Tesla Model S. Image by United Pictures.2011 Tesla Model S. Image by United Pictures.2011 Tesla Model S. Image by United Pictures.2011 Tesla Model S. Image by United Pictures.2011 Tesla Model S. Image by United Pictures.    - Tesla road tests
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