Tesla goes retro, reintroduces cheaper Model S 60 and new 60D
Want a Model S but can't quite swing the price? Tesla has a new, lower-cost version.
Tim StevensFormer editor at large for CNET Cars
Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to video game development to automotive technology.
When Tesla launched the Model S in 2012, it was available in three configurations: 40, 60 and 85. These referred to the size of the battery pack in kilowatt-hours, with a higher number meaning more range. All three of those configurations have been summarily discontinued since then, but one is making a comeback, with Tesla announcing this morning that the Model S 60 is available again. There's a new, all-wheel-drive 60D option, too.
Until recently, the cheapest Model S available was the 70 kWh option, offering 234 miles of range and a 5.5-second 0 - 60 time for $71,500. Now, you'll be able to save $5,500 over that by going with the new $66,000 Model S 60, which offers the same performance but drops the maximum range down to 210 miles.
That actually compares quite favorably to the old Model S 60, which cost $69,900 at the time. Despite being more expensive, that model isn't compatible with Tesla's Autopilot system that I found to be quite compelling in the Model X, and lacks the interior and exterior upgrades that Tesla recently introduced.
Meanwhile, those who want some all-wheel-drive performance can step up to the new 60D, which costs $71,000. That compares to the previous cheapest AWD Tesla, the 70D at $76,500.
Interestingly, the battery packs in these new Teslas are not actually 60 kWh units. Like the former 70 and 70D, they're actually 75 kWh units software-capped to pretend to be smaller. This means owners can request a software update to unlock the full battery pack size. The cost for that upgrade? $9,000 -- plus a $500 service fee, which frankly seems a bit dear for someone applying a patch. However, choose a 75 kWh pack when ordering the car and the upgrade cost is $8,500.
As ever, you can fully configure yours Model S over at the Model S design studio and, with deliveries expected within a month on most configurations, you'll have plenty of time to get familiar with your new ride before the Model 3 rolls around.
Watch this: Tesla's Model X impresses with speed and smarts