SINCE THE TESLA MODEL S had its unveiling at CEO Elon Musk's SpaceX headquarters earlier this year, over 1000 people have paid the minimum US$5000 deposit to buy a Model S of their own.
To build anticipation for its newest offering, Tesla has today released new photos of the stylish Model S four-door coupe, driven by the car's designer, Franz von Holzhausen.
The base Model S will be available in America for US$49,900 after a government rebate of US$7500. Tesla expects to sell 20,000 units annually by the end of the first year of production.
The 0-100km/h sprint can be covered in around 5.5 to 6 seconds with its single-speed transmission ? but probably not with a full complement of passengers and luggage (see below).
The quarter mile can be covered in 14 seconds, on its way to a 120mph top speed.
The Tesla Model S seats an amazing seven occupants, specifically five adults and two children. Thanks to its electric-drive system and no need for conventional mechanics, seating extends just about to the very rear of the vehicle, while luggage is stowed in the up-front boot.
If you?re travelling alone, Tesla says the Model S will accommodate a mountain bike with its wheels on, a surfboard and a 50-inch television ? at the same time.
The base model Model S features a 255km (160miles) range, and a higher-capacity battery pack will be available, offering 482km (300miles) from one charge. The larger battery pack can also be rented for occasional long trips.
The dashboard controls are entirely screen-based, with a screen behind the steering wheel and a huge 17-inch internet-ready (3G) touch-screen in the centre.
The car?s batteries can be charged in just four hours at a 220V power outlet, thanks to new battery technology more advanced even than that used in the Tesla Roadster.
The body panels of the Model S will be mainly aluminium, and total weight should be no more than 1735kg (3825lb). About 545 (1200lb) of that weight is in the batteries.
Tesla is working with a government-affiliated group to setup infrastructure and battery-charging stations, where an optimised power output will allow the car to be charged in five to eight minutes.
Will we see the Model S - or its Roadster sibling - in Australia? Speaking with the press recently, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that, aside from the UK, Tesla considers other right-hand-drive countries such as Japan, India and Australia as significant markets for the electric car manufacturer.
At this stage, that morsel may be all Australian fans can hope for.
At a Glance: Production Model S
With a 300-mile range and 45-minute QuickCharge, the $49,900 Model S can carry five adults and two children in quiet comfort ? and you can charge it from any outlet, without ever stopping for gas. World's first mass-produced electric vehicle offers performance, efficiency and unrivaled utility with twice the energy-efficiency of hybrids, making Model S the only car you'll ever need.
Convenience and utility bullet points:
? Up to 300-mile range
? 45-minute QuickCharge
? 5-minute battery swap
? Charges from 110V, 220V or 440V
? Seating for 5 adults + 2 child seats
? Unique hatch for oversized items
? 60/40 flat-folding rear seat
? 2nd trunk under hood
? EPA Roominess Index 121.6
? More room than station wagons
? 17-inch infotainment touchscreen
? 3G wireless connectivity
Model S powertrain includes a liquid-cooled 9-inch motor, floor-mounted battery pack and a single-speed gearbox, delivering effortless acceleration, responsive handling and quiet simplicity -- no fancy clutchwork or gear-shifting required. Model S costs as little as $4 to fully charge ? a bargain even if gasoline dropped to $1 per gallon. You can have affordable fun while being socially responsible.
? 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds
? ? mile in 14 seconds
? 120 mph top speed
? Braking 60-0 mph 135 feet
? 42 kWh battery storage system standard
? 70 kWh and greater battery storage systems optional
? 9- inch liquid cooled electric motor
? Single-speed transaxle gearbox
? Curb Weight 3825 lbs
? Overall Length 196"
? Wheelbase 116.5"
? All-wheel-drive available (option available in future production models)
? Right hand drive available
At a Glance: Model S Show Car
The Model S Show Car is a drivable vehicle that exemplifies Tesla's "no compromises" philosophy ? an elegantly refined luxury sedan delivering optimal performance without sacrificing efficiency. Designed by Franz von Holzhausen, the car's aggressive stance gives way to a modern silhouette, with minimal front and rear overhangs for maximum space efficiency.
The car's mature face defines the future of the Tesla brand and incorporates the touches from the Tesla Roadster. Environmentally friendly materials are incorporated throughout, including water-based paint for the exterior, chrome-free vegetable tanned Italian leather on interior, and 100 percent recycled PET carpeting from Futuris.
? Panoramic roof with sliding moon roof
? Retracting door handles for improved aerodynamics
? Full-time 3G connectivity with Internet, HD and satellite radio
? Push button "gear" selector
? Brembo brakes
? Automatic rear lift gate
? 21-inch wheels, Front Tires 245/35ZR21, Rear Tires 285/30ZR21
? 17-inch haptic touchscreen and customizable vehicle information display
? Fully digital instrument cluster
? LED and neon headlight and taillights, with xenon Hella low beams
? Smart-key power and push button gear selector
? Brembo brake system with new one-piece monobloc calipers and integral stiffening bridge to optimize performance
Front brake system:
? Brembo Gran Turismo
? Brembo 6-piston Monobloc Calipers
? Brembo 405x34mm 2-Piece Floating Slotted Discs with Billet Aluminum Hats
Rear brake system:
? Brembo Gran Turismo
? Brembo 4-piston Monobloc Calipers
? Brembo 380x28mm 2-Piece Slotted Discs with Billet Aluminum Hats