Tesla Model S Electric Sport Sedan: Video From Detroit Auto Show

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With production of its ground-breaking electric Roadster now complete--despite a recent offering of some 2012 models--Tesla Motors is fully focused on bringing its Model S electric sport sedan to market and delivering the first cars to paying customers.

At this year's Detroit Auto Show, the company showed a prototype 2012 Model S sedan, along with a complete rolling chassis for the car.

The completed car and bare chassis followed the body-in-white that Tesla [NSDQ:TSLA] showed at last year's Detroit Show.

That display may have quieted some of the critics who didn't believe the startup company was capable of designing and engineering an entire car on its own.

The body shell was pored over last year by engineers from all over the globe, including Akio Toyoda, the CEO of Toyota Motor Co.

2012 Tesla Model S body-in-white

2012 Tesla Model S body-in-white

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Last month, Tesla released specifications and prices for the three different versions of the Model S.

The least expensive version, at $57,400, will have a range up to 160 miles, while the priciest variation--the Model S Performance, at $87,400--could cross $100,000 if every option is added.

Those options include a set of aerodynamic 19-inch wheels--for $1,500 extra--that Tesla says could add as much as 20 additional miles to the highest-range version.

The company has said it will deliver Model S Signature Series cars to its first customers this summer, meaning it has to do so by September 21.

That's just a bit more than nine months away, and it's clear that the eyes of the world will be on Tesla's Fremont plant to see whether the cars roll out as planned.

Check out the video above showing the Tesla Model S chassis and battery pack, as well as our Detroit Auto Show page.

On that summary page, we cover all the production cars and concepts occupying the greener aisles of the country's largest and most influential auto show.


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Comments (12)
  1. Thanks for the report, I wasn't even sure if Tesla was at the Detroit auto show because I hadn't heard anything. Tesla seems like the only electric car maker that is trying to change the general publics perception of electric cars. Instead of starting with a sub-compact hatchback they started with a sports car, their second car which is a mid-sized luxury sedan is on its way, and we are less then a month away from the premier of their third car a crossover SUV. They may still be considered a startup but I think the impact they've made is huge.

  2. The word "visionary" comes to mind.

  3. Tesla has changed the preception that an electric car has to be inferior to a ICE vehicle. I hope they are able to ramp up production so they can manufacture 20,000 Model S the first year. I am also looking forward to the Model X debut which will be in a little over a month. Come 2015 and they will if all things go well be making a $25,000 Bluestar midsize vehicle that hopefully will have at least 160 mile range. If they can do all this they will totally change the preception of what and electric car is and could be a real contender for car of the year even. I would like to see our country get off dependance on crude oil since without a solution we may have to go to war to secure our rights to oil and this is a solution to move beyond oil

  4. This claim about how difficult is has been to create a new automaker in America misses the obvious point - automakers have sprung up all over the world over the past 40 years - the reason none ever started in this country should be obvious to anyone claiming knowledge of the business - the UAW. The other illogical part of these claims is that they fail to understand that anyone can buy a drive train and batteries, which means that neither a ton of capital nor a battalion of engineers is required to start an EV company. Skepticism about Tesla can be characterized as kneejerk reaction, based on the performance of all those bankrupt EV startups. Those who knows cars (Toyota, Daimler) recognize the capabilities of Tesla Motors.

  5. @Ramon: Actually, none of the automakers that have started and failed over the past few decades have had UAW workers. So the UAW has nothing to do with it. If you have data / proof / expert commentary to the contrary, please provide it.

    As for "anyone can buy a drive train and batteries" and start a car company overlooks the huge expense of homologating a car for sale in different markets with different regulatory regimes.

    Undercapitalization and inferior products are generally what doom startup car companies.

  6. Agreed. Despite the myth that Silicon Valley would be able to develop cars at a fraction of the usual cost, Tesla found out the hard way that developing a serious electric car eventually runs in the hundreds of millions, which is precisely why all start-ups fail in this business.

    Tesla was lucky to find a rich sugar uncle in Elon Musk who came into some serious cash after selling his Paypal concept and was willing to gamble it all on a new high risk adventure. This is what made it possible for Tesla to survive the lack of commercial success of their first product, the Roadster and use the technology for a second much more promising product, the Model S.

  7. I agree Chris O and more. Elon Musk's deep pocket friends in Silicon Valley and their common search for transport with less impact on the planet/less reliance on gas is critical. Did I say friends with deep pockets. If I didn't then - - FRIENDS WITHDEEPPOCKETS.

  8. More cutaways and less talking head, Mr. videographer. What's the interior look like, in detail? Seats, controls, screens, trunk?

  9. Great looking design, that Model S (SEXY)! The big problem with e-cars is recharging, or lack thereof. Let's say I want to take a 600 mile trip. I run out of juice after 300 miles, and have to find an AVAILABLE recharging hookup somewhere along the route. Now what if all ten stations are being used simultaneously and there are others in line ahead of me? I could be waiting for days for a spot. Maybe I could bring a long cord and plug in to my Holiday Inn room, but then I have to leave the door ajar and hope nobody trips on or vandalizes the cord. Or do I just rent a gas vehicle for the trip?

  10. Actually what little charging infrastructure there is at this point is rarely used since almost everybody charges at home, so it's unlikely you will have to wait in line. Also the Model S will have 45 minutes fast charge capability.

    Ideally EV's will have to be able to take about 150 miles worth of kilowatts in about 15 minutes to fit a 2 hours drive/15 minutes rest schedule for them to have convenient long range capability. The Model S/300 may come pretty close to that since charging tends to go a lot faster for the first 50% of the battery's capacity than for the rest.

  11. A what's to prevents somebody from hooking up the EV car for a charge and picking it up the next day, or coming back three hours after the car was fully charged. Or from some jerk disconnecting the plug while you're away? Or from a gas car parking in an EV space? Lots of potential public charging headaches out there!

  12. Wow...that's an EV...a little too pricey still.


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