2013 Tesla Model SEnlarge Photo
Loaners cars are now routinely provided by luxury carmakers when their customers have cars in for servicing.
Now Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] is joining the crowd, providing Model S luxury sports sedans to its Model S (and Roadster) owners while their cars are in the shop.
But according to CEO Elon Musk, these aren't just any Model S: All the loaners will be the top-end, most luxurious Model S Performance version with the 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack and punchier acceleration than lesser models.
Road testers have logged the Tesla Model S Performance accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds (the original factory quote was 4.6 seconds).
That's a number that exceeds most luxury sedans on the market today, although to be fair, repeated use of that acceleration is likely to have a negative effect on the car's EPA-rated range of 265 miles.
Musk discussed the loaner plan in an interview with USA Today, in which he also promised that Tesla employees would drop the temporary Model S cars wherever the customer requested--rather than requiring the owner to bring the car in to a Tesla service center.
Initially, the loaner fleet will number about 80 vehicles spread among Tesla's 21 current service centers.
The fleet will expand as Tesla opens more stores and service centers across the country; the company lists another 13 service centers as "coming soon."
Musk noted that the idea for luxury loaners hadn't originated with Tesla. He attributed it, instead, to Toyota's luxury brand Lexus.
But a top-of-the-line loaner--nicer, in many cases, than the Model S that's in for service--is certainly a step up from hearing the service guy yell, "Hey, Manny, whadda we got in the back for this guy?"