Tesla follows up on its electric roadster with a sleek-looking electric sedan. The new car should go into production by 2011 and cost about $50,000.
Tesla Motors unveiled its Model S sedan prototype today at a rocket factory in Southern California. The four-door will seat seven and start at a base price of $57,400 ($49,900 after a $7,500 federal tax credit).
The standard battery pack on the Model S will have an estimated 160-mile range. A bigger, optional battery pack will offer a range of up to 300 miles. Tesla also promises the sedan will feature a 45-minute "fast charge" and the ability to swap battery packs quickly.
Tesla hopes the Model S will become the first mass-produced electric sedan. The company anticipates a release date in the third quarter of 2011, and an expected annual production of 20,000 units by mid-2012.
The body panels and much of the core chassis of the Model S are made from aluminum, which helps to compensate for the 1200-pound battery pack. The total weight of the car is expected to be slightly more than 4,000 pounds.
With a second trunk under the hood, cargo space in the Model S will reportedly be better than any midsize sedan on the market. Tesla claims a mountain bike with the front wheel attached, a surfboard, and a 50-inch television can all fit simultaneously.
The interior features two touch-screen control interfaces. The Model S will be fitted with wireless Internet capability, and Tesla claims it will be able to remotely diagnose and even fix any problems that might arise with the car.