2012 Tesla Model SEnlarge Photo
Tesla motors has announced that it is on schedule to deliver the first examples of its Model S electric sedan by June.
The company is also set to use all of its $465 million Department of Energy loan within the next six months, though Elon Musk says Tesla is still on target to turn a profit in 2013.
The next few years will be all about the hotly-anticipated Model S, as Tesla plans to sell 5,000 units of the $70,000 electric sedan. The first cars will be delivered in June, a month ahead of schedule, and Detroit News reports that Tesla expects the S to achieve a full five-star crash test rating from the NHTSA.
Tesla is releasing more details on the S all the time, and though the first customers will get to drive their cars before the motoring press is able to test the car, the company has set high standards for its performance and efficiency.
With the 85 kWh battery pack, Tesla has drawn up graphs showing the expected range at different speeds. The outlook is more positive than before, with as much as 200 miles still possible at a constant 80 mph on the freeway, almost 250 miles at 70 mph and over 300 miles at 55 mph. Using the new EPA 5-cycle test, the Model S should achieve a 265-mile range.
Hypermilers might manage even more, and Tesla suspects that a range of over 400 miles is possible. The company hasn't verified that claim, but is promising a special prize for the first owner to travel more than 400 miles on a charge.
Tesla also reveals that despite being heavier, larger and more practical than the Tesla Roadster, the Model S uses only 10 percent more energy at a constant speed, no doubt due in part to the incredibly low drag coefficient of 0.24--the best of any car in the luxury sedan market.
Tesla goes into more detail, suggesting that in very hot or cold climates and using the car's climate control, you could expect between 10-15 percent reduction in range at 55 mph.
Naturally, not all Tesla Model S owners will benefit from the same long range, as smaller battery pack options will be available--but for those who choose the top pack, the range should match many internal combustion vehicles.
Meanwhile, Tesla has confirmed it has also started delivering components for Toyota's RAV4 EV ahead of schedule. Toyota plans to sell 2,600 RAV4 EVs over the next three years, and Musk says the Toyota's city range will top 170 miles.