Friday will be a big day for startup electric carmaker Tesla Motors.

On that day, it will deliver its first 2012 Model S luxury sport sedans to retail customers in a big webcast event at its Fremont, California, assembly plant.

But a couple of days beforehand, the EPA has issued the eagerly awaited range and efficiency numbers for the high-end Model S version with the 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack.

The car has a rated range of 265 miles, and an efficiency of 89 miles-per-gallon-equivalent, a measure based on the distance the car can travel on the amount of energy contained in one gallon of gasoline.

That gives that model of the 2012 Tesla Model S the greatest range by far of any battery electric vehicle on the market.

As for efficiency, it puts the Model S behind the tiny Mitsubishi 'i' (112 MPGe), the Ford Focus Electric (105 MPGe), and the Nissan Leaf (99 MPGe), but comfortably ahead of the Coda Sedan (73 MPGe).

With seating for five, plus two optional jump seats for kids in the back, the Model S is a somewhat larger vehicle than any of those competitors. The EPA rates its interior volume at 94 cubic feet (versus 90 cu ft for the Leaf) and cargo space at 26 cubic feet (versus 23 cu ft for the Leaf).

With a 260-kilowatt (350-horsepower) motor powering the rear wheels, It's also likely to be faster; the Leaf comes in at 80 kW (107 hp) and even the Focus Electric, the comparative hot rod of the compact electric set, has only 107 kW (143 hp).

We look forward to learning more about the Tesla Model S, which certainly has a strong fan base among both electric car advocates and fans of fast, sleek, luxury sport sedans.

Meanwhile, now you have officially certified data with which to compare the Model S to any other large all-electric luxury sedan.

Oh. Wait. There are no others. Hmmmmmmmm....


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