At the end of 2011, Tesla released its final specification, options and price list for the 2012 Model S sedan.
Depending on the choice of battery pack, the 2012 Tesla Model S should travel 160, 230, or 300 miles per charge.
For Tesla Model S owners who have purchased cars with the 230 or 300-mile battery pack, specially built Superchargers -- Tesla’s propriety 90-kilowatt quick charge system -- will be available to add as much as 150 miles of range in just 30 minutes.
But buy the base-level $57,400 car, and your car will only be capable of adding 40 miles per 30 minutes of charging.
That’s because Tesla has made the decision to not offer quick charging capabilities on its base-level Model S.
2012 Tesla Model S Charging Connector
Although Tesla hasn’t given an official reason for its decision, we suspect it has something to do with maintaining the health of the 2012 Tesla Model S battery pack.
Due to its size, the 40-kilowatt-hour battery pack in the base-level Model S will undergo more charge/discharge cycles during regular use than the 60- (230-mile) and 85-kilowatt-hour (300-mile) battery pack options.
But while the base-level 2012 Model S won’t include quick charging capability, we should note that it still offers a range-per-charge larger than any other electric car on the market today.
And thanks to the standard 10- and optional 20-kilowatt charging packages, the base level Model S can still recharge from a 240-volt AC charging station faster than any other electric car available today.
2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011
If you’re buying a 2012 Model S to use as your daily driver and primary family car, the limitations of the smaller battery pack shouldn’t bother you too much if you travel under 160 miles a day.
But if you plan on making regular long-distance drives in your 2012 Model S from one major city to the other, you may want to consider spending a little extra to buy the 60-kilowatt-hour model with optional rapid charger access.
Either that, or be prepared to wait a little longer every time you stop to recharge.