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Tesla shows off Model S to future owners

The company, which builds highly sought after vehicles, showed off its Model S prototype, the first sedan from the company, which produces electric vehicles.

The Tesla Model S.
The Tesla Model S. Tesla

The excitement surrounding Tesla's Model S sedan is palpable, and in an attempt to stir up even more demand for the vehicle, the company Saturday night flung open its doors to show off its upcoming car.

At the event, Tesla let those who preordered the vehicle take a tour of the company's facilities and ride around in a prototype. In addition, according to Reuters, which was at the event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk asked attendees to promote the car to friends to help build more demand.

Tesla has a lot riding on the Model S. Unlike the Roadster, which started at $109,000, the Model S comes in at a cost that should be more appealing to would-be owners: $57,400. What's more, the Model S is eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit that helps bring the cost down to $49,900.

Aside from its price, the Model S is also notable because it's the first sedan to come from the electric-vehicle maker. The move is part of Tesla's strategy to become more than just an automaker for the super-rich, and help the company enter the mainstream.

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• Tesla Model S Alpha shows off for the camera

But for Tesla, the appeal of the Model S is about more than just price. According to ZDNet's Eric Lai, who was in attendance at the event, the Model S comes with a huge 17-inch LCD display that handles everything from navigation to the vehicle's in-car entertainment. In addition, Tesla has added a 12.3-inch screen in front of the driver to provide information on speed, fuel levels, and more. However, according to Lai, Tesla revealed that the displays do not support multitouch, so users will be forced to tap around with a single finger.

On the navigation front, drivers will be able to find directions via Google Maps or a GPS application licensed from Navigon, Lai says. Music-streaming service Slacker will be supported in the car, as well.

Although folks were able to take the Model S for a spin over the weekend, it's still a ways away from launch. Tesla currently expects to start producing (and selling) the car next year.

CNET's Car Tech folks will have more on the Tesla Model S later today, so stay tuned.