2012 Tesla Model S prototype

2012 Tesla Model S prototype

Most EV enthusiasts are excited about the sleek Tesla Model S electric sedan, but a recent report suggests we might need to temper our enthusiasm. It is after all a concept and sometimes the difference between concept cars and their production counterparts are miles away. Take the design of the Chevy Volt for example.

So how far is the Model S concept from the final product? According to the designer of the Model S, Franz von Holzhausen, "the car is only about 90 percent there on the outside and about 40 percent there on the inside."

The concept Model S has fixed windows, power steering that "groans" and "seating position and visibility make a Lamborghini feel spacious."

One of Tesla's most intriguing promises for the car, a 440V charge in 45 minutes, has already been retracted as not possible.

Another thing that appears unlikely to make it is the large touch screen LCD display that replaces the center console. Other overly ambitious claims include the ability to seat 7 in the car, and a coefficient of drag of 0.25.

Perhaps the most important milestone upon which Tesla is likely to fail to deliver is its delivery date in late 2011. CEO Elon Musk has said if Tesla receives $350 million in government loans to build an assembly plant later this year, then the car would go into production 24 to 30 months later. This remarkable feat even makes Tesla's own engineers rolls their eyes. "Elon likes to portray all this as extraordinarily easy," said J.B. Straubel, Tesla's chief technical officer. "But there is certainly a lot of hard work between now and launch."

Indeed Tesla has already learned a considerable lesson along these lines with its 2-seat Roadster. Despite $50 or so million of Musk's personal investment and an external design, the company was nearly 2 years behind initial production delivery date, and has so far only delivered 300 vehicles with several hundred on the waiting list still waiting.

Model S to fail? Seems like we'll be waiting a long time to find out.

Source (Chicago Tribune)