Tesla Model S Sedan

Tesla Model S Sedan

Back in April, GreenCarReports.com was lucky enough to get a ride in the world's only running version of the 2012 Tesla Model S electric sedan.

It happened at the car's New York City preview, the first time since its unveiling in an LA rocket factory that it was seen in public. Now, a prototype of the all-electric luxury sports sedan from the Silicon Valley startup is doing time on roads and test tracks.

And Tesla, seeking to expand its buyer base beyond owners of the $109,000 two-seat 2009 Tesla Roadster, has just released a series of photos of a Model S test vehicle, sans any camouflage, on a series of scenic public roads.

Limited edition for first carsAs it did with the first Tesla Roadster, the company announced a limited edition that will comprise the very first Model S cars off the production line. The Signature Edition will be a run of 2,000 cars, to be split evenly between U.S. and European customers.

The Tesla Model S Signature Edition will come with various unique interior and exterior features. But reserving one will cost you slightly more than the standard $5,000 deposit: $40,000, in fact.

Government loans, consumer demand

In June, Tesla was granted $365 million in Advanced-Technology Vehicle Loans, which it will use to refit a factory in San Jose, California, to manufacture the Model S starting in 2011 or 2012.

More than 1,000 people have put down deposits for the car, surprising even Tesla, which logged 520 reservations in just seven days. "Frankly, the number of cars reserved in the first week has exceeded our optimistic internal projections," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Tax credit: $7,500

The Model S's technical specs and performance are impressive: 5.5 seconds to 60 mph, a 300-mile range and a price of $57,400 before $7,500 in tax credits.

Those credits are available only to Tesla's first 60,000 buyers, but considering that the company just recently delivered its 500th Roadster, they'll be around for a few years yet.

[Motor Authority]