Tesla Model S: More New Versions Coming, Says CEO Elon Musk

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2012 Tesla Model S Signature

2012 Tesla Model S Signature

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Tesla being what it is--a venture-funded startup battery-electric automaker in Silicon Valley--every utterance from its CEO Elon Musk becomes newsworthy.

So a generalized hint at future development of its main product, the 2012 Tesla Model S electric sport sedan, becomes fodder for news stories.

In this case, the brief mention came during Monday's earning call covering the third-quarter financial results of Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA].

As noted by AutoblogGreen, CEO Musk said, "There are a few other variants of the Model S that we'll come out with next year that I think are going to be pretty exciting."

He also then mentioned ongoing work on the company's next new vehicle, the 2014 Tesla Model X electric crossover, as well as the start of work on the third-generation car it hopes to launch later in the decade.

Frankly, we suspect that Musk may have been talking about an upcoming handling package for the Model S, already widely discussed as an option on the Performance model.

But speculation runs rampant around any Tesla news, so a few other possibilities might include:

  • An all-wheel drive version of the Model S, using the optional AWD being developed for the Model X
  • An even higher-capacity battery pack, to take the highest-range Model S above its current 265-mile EPA range estimate
  • Additional electronic features, some of which could be retroactively downloaded into existing Model S cars.

If we had to guess, we'd put our money on all-wheel drive.

It's become a necessity in the high-end luxury market, included on more than 80 percent of Mercedes-Benz S Class sedans ordered in snowy markets.

And Jaguar's addition of an all-wheel drive option to its XF mid-size and XJ full-size luxury sedans shows just how important it is.

To retrofit AWD into existing cars, much less those already two to four years into their model cycle, is no small task--but Jaguar says the sales gain will be well worth it.

So let's start the guessing games here: How much should Tesla charge for an AWD option on, say, the high-end 2014 Model S electric sport sedan?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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Comments (11)
  1. a more expensive version? ok, whatever. i guess we just gonna have to wait for Model Z in 2015

  2. If Car and Driver got 3.9 seconds in their acceleration tests on the performance Model S, anyone care to speculate on how it will do with AWD?

  3. Hard to get excited about a new version when so many of us are still waiting for the current one.

  4. Would be nice to get a simple scaled down electric car , doesn't have to have all the bells and whistles. Don't need the flat screen council , GPS , electric windows or mirrors. Simplify these vehicles and they will be appealing and more affordable .

  5. Although I agree with you, but I think Tesla is doing it correctly. Tesla is NOT a major car maker. It doesn't have the capacity or the technology to mass produce cars in per minute basis. So having a high volume model is NOT going to help Tesla until it has enough manufacturing capacity to meet those demand. Currently, Tesla is making a healthy revenue from those $100k sedans. It will expand down when it finally figures out the manufacturing part.

    Consumer in the sub $30k class is NOT going to wait 10 months for their cars...

  6. Ditching the flatscreen and replacing it with physical controls will make the care more expensive. Touchscreens are very cheap, and the software they have developed already, so the marginal cost of that is zero.

  7. Ill take parking sensors, tire pressure monitors, and adaptive cruise control, along with ALL LEATHER INTERIOR OPTIONS. Those microfiber seats are little to be desired for a $100K pricetag automobile.

  8. Do you remember in the movie Independence Day when Will Smith is flying the alien spaceship for the first time and he said "I have got to get me me of these!"? How do you think he felt about the seats?

  9. I don't get it, the Model S is not a $100 k car and it has all leather option.

  10. I heard Tesla was working with Mclaren to tweak the suspension for improved handling. I heard with the ultra low center of gravity it could be possible to get as much as 1 g in lateral aceleration. AWD would be relatively easy to do on an electric since the motor is small and it could be easily fitted to tthe Model S front suspension. Also Telas Model X borrows heavily from th eModel S and the AWD system could most likly be bolt in between the vehicals.

  11. As my current car is a Subaru Outback, my two main concerns about the S are the lack of AWD, and the seats not folding flat. I can probably live with the latter if the car comes with AWD. Definitely!

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