Tesla Motors are calling 2012 “The Year of Model S”. If you doubt their resolve, then they would be more than happy for you to speak with any one of the 8500 plus clients that have already put down a sizeable deposit on their upcoming Model S.
Tesla’s 2012 production capacity for the Model S is literally sold out, and that means the order book for 2013 has already started to fill up.
While pricing for the Model S variants was released in the United States just before Christmas, Australian pricing and specification will be announced around mid 2012. Deliveries will commence in 2013 for this market.
The Model S is the world’s first premium electric sedan, and the first to be engineered from the ground up as an all- electric car. It’s also beautifully designed and entirely practical as four-door sportback design with five adult seats, and two optional rear-facing pews for children.
It’s quick too, with a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.6 seconds, or 4.4 seconds for the Performance Model. The Model S develops 415 Nm of instant (from 0 rpm) and 270 kW of power – all from its electric propulsion system.
To power-up the Tesla sedan, Australian owners will simply plug into any standard 240v power outlet to charge, or the car can be quick charged in less than 45 minutes providing an 80 per cent battery capacity.
The actual driving range of the model S will depend on which battery pack customers decide on. The 40 kWh battery pack will provide a range of 260km, while the 60 kWh pack is good for 370km, and the 85 kWh will provide a 480km driving range. Tesla also plans to offer a Performance Model with an increased range of 480km plus.
Initial availability will be a limited production run of just 1000 Model S Signature cars with 415 Nm of torque from a grin-inducing 0-7000 rpm and 270 kW of power.
Top speed for this Signature model will be 201km/h, while 0-100km/h will take 5.6 seconds. The Performance Model that will come later in the production cycle will need just 4.4 seconds for the same run, but still using an 85kWh battery system.
The Tesla Model S is rear-wheel drive and uses a ‘fixed gear’ gearbox.
Once production is in full swing at Tesla’s California production facility, customers will be able to choose between the three battery grades (40 kWh/ 60 kWh/ 85 kWh) and be able to configure their own cars three months prior to production.
Battery warranty will be 8 years or 160,000 km.
The standard model S will ride on 19-inch alloys, with an optional upgrade to 21-inch rims although the Signature Series cars will come with the larger wheels as standard kit.
Front suspension for the Model S uses an aluminium intensive independent tall spindle double ball joint unequal length wishbone suspension with solid Stabiliser bar, while the rear suspension is an independent aluminium intensive virtual steer-axis double wishbone set-up with solid stabiliser bar mounted on an isolated aluminium sub-frame.
The Model S uses a variable ratio rack and pinion set up, with speed sensitive assist.
Brakes are sizeable 355 mm ventilated rotors up front and 365 mm at the rear, each with four pots.
All Tesla Model S customers who have put down a deposit flew to California late last year to test drive the prototype car and are now waiting for delivery, which of course is some time away.