The most advanced electric car in the world, the Tesla Model S, will cost under $100,000 when it arrives in Australia later this year.
A $96,208 price tag ($91,400 base price plus $4808 luxury car tax) applies to the entry-level Tesla Model S 60 – the variant name relates to the car’s battery capacity in kilowatt-hours (kWh) – while the Model S 85 costs from $111,807 and the flagship Model S P85 from $133,257.
The Tesla Model S 60 is powered by a rear-mounted three-phase AC induction electric motor that produces 225kW between 5000-8000rpm and 430Nm from idle to 5000rpm. A single-speed transmission sends drive to the rear wheels. Tesla claims a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 190km/h.
Its 60kWh lithium-ion battery’s range is rated at 390km according to the European test cycle.
Both the Tesla Model S 85 and P85 (for ‘Performance’) variants upgrade to a higher-capacity 85kWh battery, which provides a longer 502km range.
The Model S 85 gets a more powerful electric motor with 270kW (between 6000-9500rpm) and 440Nm (from 0-5800rpm), which helps it from 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds and on to a 200km/h top speed.
The Model S P85 offers a big output boost and supercar-rivalling performance claims. Power from the electric motor rises to 310kW, produced between 5000-8600rpm, and torque jumps to 600Nm, delivered from rest to 5100rpm. Triple figures can be reached from rest in 4.4 seconds on the way to the P85’s 210km/h top speed.
The Model S comes standard with an on-board charger and a 40-amp single-phase wall connector. The standard connection is also compatible with public charging stations. Tesla says charge rates of up to 55km of range per hour are possible, depending on the power source.
An $1800 dual charger option (available from early 2015) will effectively double the car’s recharge potential to 110km of range per hour.
The $2700 Supercharger enabled option (standard in P85) sees the Model S fitted with hardware compatible with Tesla’s planned ultra-fast supercharger network, which promises to replenish more than half the battery’s range in as little as 20 minutes.
Standard across all grades are 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED tail-lights, and rain-sensing wipers.
Interior highlights include keyless entry and push-button start, power-adjustable steering column, climate control with dual-zone climate control, 12-way-adjustable heated front seats, black microfibre and synthetic leather upholstery and piano black accents.
The infotainment system features a mammoth 17.0-inch touchscreen for all media, communication, cabin and vehicle controls. A high-definition reverse-view camera is standard, while the seven-speaker audio system includes HD radio, dual front USB ports, 500-song memory storage, and Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming.
Tesla charges $4600 for a Tech package that adds satellite navigation, LED cornering lights, automatic keyless entry, illuminated door handles, electrochromatic mirrors, power folding and heated side mirrors, power tailgate, and memory settings for the driver’s seat and mirrors.
Air suspension ($2800), front and rear parking sensors ($600) and LED fog lights ($600) can be added on top of the Tech pack.
Other options include a $3100 12-speaker ultra high fidelity sound system, $3100 extended Nappa leather trim, $1800 Alcantara headliner (standard on P85) and matching dashboard trim, and $1200 premium LED interior lighting.
A $7900 Performance Plus package is available exclusively with the Model S P85 when equipped with the Tech pack, air suspension and 21-inch wheels. The Performance Plus pack brings upgraded dampers, bushings and stabiliser bars, and 20mm-wider rear tyres.
The Model S P85 is also available with a carbonfibre spoiler and red brake calipers at no extra cost.
At 4978mm long, 1964mm wide, 1435mm tall and riding on a 2959mm wheelbase, the Tesla Model S is 79mm longer and 104mm wider than a BMW 5 Series sedan, though has a 9mm-shorter wheelbase and a 29mm-lower roofline.
The Tesla’s liftback body contributes to its 745-litre rear cargo capacity, which grows to 1645L with the 60:40 split-fold rear seats pushed forwards. Two rear-facing seats can be raised from the boot floor to expand its seating capacity to seven. There’s also an extra 150L of storage space under the bonnet, dubbed the ‘frunk’ by Tesla.
All Tesla Model S vehicles sold in Australia will be covered by a four-year/80,000km warranty, while the batteries will be assured for the first eight years or 200,000km.
Pre-order customers – who had to pay $6000 to secure their car – are set to take delivery of their cars from September.
The Model S arrives on our shores a little more than two years after it originally launched in the US in June 2012.
Tesla Model S range
Model S 60 $96,208
Model S 85 $111,807
Model S P85 $133,257