The Tesla Model S Beta electric vehicle has been unveiled in the US this week, continuing the software-inspired naming of its development programme.
The Beta represents the second and final evolution in the Model S sedan's development, with a production debut scheduled for early in 2012.
Joining the Model S line-up when it hits showrooms will be a Sport version. While the regular model will hit 100km/h in an already impressive 5.5 seconds, the Sport will catapult to the ton in around 4.4 seconds, Tesla says.
“That’s quicker than a 911. Not bad for an electric luxury sedan," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at the unveiling.
Helping the Sport variant achieve its rocket-quick performance is a larger 85kWh battery pack - giving it the added benefit of a 480 kilometre driving range. That's a significant boost over the regular model's 255km range.
Tesla says that buyers of the Model S will be able to option a quick-charge system that will bring the car's battery pack to a full charge in just 45 minutes. On a conventional connection, the batteries will be charged in five to 12 hours.
A second battery can also be purchased, with a quick swap taking no more than five minutes, the American carmaker says.
At the Model S Beta's unveiling, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that the carmaker's new Model X electric SUV will make its debut later this year, with a motorshow debut to follow at Detroit in January.
“The time is right to unveil the car,” Musk said. “I’ve seen the latest design for it and I’m very happy with it.”
Little else is known about the Model X, although Tesla has confirmed that it expects to produce around 15,000 units each year from 2013 - with an ultimate goal of 500,000 vehicles across the range - Model S, Model X and next-gen Roadster.
Model S In Australia
Tesla has confirmed that Australian deliveries of its all-new and all-electric Model S sedan will begin in 2013, with more than 50 'reservations' already taken.
Australian pricing for the Model S has yet to be revealed, although Tesla has confirmed that its new sedan will sell for around US$57,000 in the North American market.