Currently reading: Tesla Model S saloon revealed
Electric seven-seater shown in California; 0-60mph in 5.5sec, up to 300 miles range
2 mins read
26 March 2009

These are the first official images of Tesla's Model S electric saloon, which was unveiled at the firm's California headquarters this afternoon.

The Model S is a crucial car for the fledgling car manufacturer, since it has been conceived to open up mainstream markets - and to offer more mainstream affordability than the firm's Roadster, the price of which crept up to $109,000 (£75,000).

The Model S is a large liftback that's longer than a BMW 5-series but shorter than a 7-series. It can seat five adults, and two children in rear-facing seats (its main luggage area is under the bonnet).

The car's styling looks like a neat blend of European influences, most notably the rear end, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Jaguar XF, and its front wings, which feature Maserati Quattroporte-style vents. It also features a full-length glass roof.

See more pictures of the Tesla Model S

Inside, the Model S's most striking feature is likely to be a 17in TFT touchscreen display that dominates the centre console and allows control of most of the car's systems. It also features 3G internet connectivity.

Tesla claims that the 1730kg Model S can crack 0-60mph in 5.5sec, and reach a top speed of 120mph. Three specs of battery pack will be available; the base model has a range of 160 miles, the mid-range version can last for 230 miles and the top-spec Model S has a range of 300 miles. Tesla claims that the floor-mounted, removable battery can be at least partially recharged in 45 minutes.

Tesla is making bold claims for the price of the Model S. The entry-level car is expected to cost $57,400 (£39,300), but a federal tax credit will bring the final bill for US customers down to just under $50,000 (£34,500).

Financial restructuring has resulted in delays to the Model S's development; the car was originally due in late 2010, but Tesla expects to start production in autumn 2011, with first deliveries in early 2012.


Find an Autocar review

Read our review

Car review

In theory, this all-electric luxury car looks a hit. So is it in practice?

Add a comment…

Find an Autocar car review