2012 Tesla Model S: Electric Luxury Sedan Ultimate Guide

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Tesla Model S Alpha build

Tesla Model S Alpha build

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Finally, after several years of teaser images, videos, clips, auto show appearances and more, there are finally production examples of the 2012 Tesla Model S driving around on the streets

Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] has been working tirelessly to put the Model S on the market, and CEO Elon Musk even won his $1,000 bet with journalist Dan Neil for keeping promises he made about the car way back in 2009--impressive, given the struggles young companies normally face.

But what lies beneath the Silicon Valley hype? What is the Model S like to drive, what goes on behind the scenes and what can you do to buy one?

Before you get any further, read our first drive review of the 2012 Tesla Model S, and then check out our brief drive video. Were we glad to finally get behind the wheel? You bet.


The basics

If you've been following Tesla's progress as closely as we have here at GreenCarReports, you'll be able to relay Model S details without a moment's thought.

That includes details like its EPA-rated 89 MPGe efficiency and 265-mile range (with the largest battery), with a projected range of up to 300 miles on the highway. Elon is even thinking up a prize for the first verified 400-mile run on one charge. When you're not conserving range, a 0-60mph run of under 4.5 seconds is for the taking.

2012 Tesla Model S display screen [Photo: Flickr user jurvetson]

2012 Tesla Model S display screen [Photo: Flickr user jurvetson]

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The technology 

This is a car that's selling on the back of its technology. The whole car is something of a gadget, but with a crystal-clear display screen in the center of the car and support for third-party apps, the spec list reads like a wheeled iPod. Even the manufacturing process is suitably advanced.

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Comments (16)
  1. Broken link: Tesla Using Dodge Magnum Bodies To Disguise Model S Test Mules?

  2. @Brody: Thanks, fixed that one.

  3. High Gear Media, like most places, used my photo without attribution.

  4. @Doug: Just saw this comment. We're happy to rectify. Please drop me a note with details and which photo you're referring to, at john (at) highgearmedia (dot) com. SOrry for the delay.

  5. FAIL!! Because of packaging differences, The Model S internals could not fit into -->"any"

  6. FAIL!! Because of packaging differences, The Model S internals could not fit into any other car in the world.

    For example: Model S does not have a drive shaft.

  7. Some of those links harken back to 09 and have very wrong information.

  8. They're not wrong they're just based on early information.

  9. Hi Nikki,

    I greatly enjoy your coverage of the Model S and took your advice and bookmarked this web page.

    I thought that you would like to know that the second link, to the "2012 Tesla Model S: Reader Asks Why It's Different, We Reply" article is bad.

    Keep up the good work and I'm glad you didn't listen to that remark on the Tesla Motors Club forum suggesting it would be a waste of resources to fly over here. ;-)


  10. @Lawrence: Thanks, we fixed that link as well (and a third one we found), so they should all work fine now. Appreciate the eagle eye.

  11. My only concern with the Model S now is that odd new plug Tesla designed. There are only 4 places with public electric car chargers in my area and they are the J1772. And most of the surrounding cities in my state also use J1772. I've been waiting to get a Model S but I'm starting to lean toward the BMW i3.

  12. @CDspeed

    From the Tesla website:

    "Plug In Anywhere

    Model S comes standard with everything you need to plug into the most common 240-volt outlet, standard 120-volt wall outlets and public stations. Using a high-amperage 240-volt outlet, Model S can be recharged at the rate of 62 miles range per hour."

    This seems to suggest that they will be providing the necessary adapter to connect to J1772 chargers.

  13. Thank you for the info, I haven't been on the Tesla website in a while. I guess that the little space behind the cargo net in the front trunk is where you are supposed to stow your adaptors and spare charging cables.
    Thanks Again.

  14. Don't know why I can't find the Rawlinson engineering walkthru videos on the list - those are the best explanation of what the important components of the Model S are. Whether the touchscreen shows Google maps falls under the heading - who cares?

  15. I have to update my comment left on 10/13 at 4:43. When I posted that there were only 4 public charging spots in my area, that has now increased to 39 charging spots. And I'm now seeing plug-in cars on the road on a daily basis. The plug-in market is getting bigger every day.

  16. 0-60 in 4.35s. According to Insideline.

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