Electric car pioneer Tesla has released technical details of the advanced engineering and technology of it's Model S at the Detroit motor show today.
Ahead of the press conference in Detroit, however, Tesla published three videos via its official blog, which explained a few of the Model S’s hitherto unknown features.
As the videos show, the Model S - planned for production in mid-2012 - has a state-of-the-art, lightweight, high-strength aluminium architecture combining castings, stampings and extrusions, that promises class-leading body stiffness, with all the benefits in terms of ride, handling, refinement and crash performance implied.
Octagon-shaped aluminium chassis rail extrusions should give the car a particularly strong crumple zone in front-end collisions. Also, because there’s no piston engine to clear under the bonnet, Tesla’s had space to fit extra bracing between the Model S’ suspension turrets and front bulkhead, again bolstering overall rigidity.
Elsewhere on the new Tesla, an all-aluminium chassis has the potential to provide excellent vehicle dynamics, and body control should be minimised by an unusually low centre of roll.
Contributing to that low centre of roll are an electric motor, gearbox and electric inverter all packaged between the car’s rear wheels, and an ultra-slim, full body width underfloor battery pack that not only concentrates the Model S’ weight as low as possible, but also contributes to its overall rigidity.
Tesla claims the Model S will be good for up to 300 miles on a charge (assuming you pay for the biggest battery on offer), and of recharging in 45 minutes via a three-phase power outlet. It should also do 60mph in 5.6sec, 120mph flat out, seat seven, and be priced from around £45,000 in the UK. Its maker is anticipating sales of 20,000 units a year.