Tesla announces final pricing and options on Model S


December 25, 2011

Who said electric cars had to be boring, slow or limited in range? photo: Tesla Motors

Who said electric cars had to be boring, slow or limited in range? photo: Tesla Motors

Image Gallery (8 images)

Earlier this week, Tesla announced the final pricing and options on its Model S sedan, which will hit the US market next summer. Unlike Tesla's first vehicle - the Roadster, the Model S is a practical family car that seats five or seven. It's also about half the price of the sporty, performance-oriented Roadster.

The Tesla's starting price remains the same as announced earlier this year: US$49,900. That price is after a $7,500 US federal tax credit, as are all the prices listed below.

The entry level Model S comes with a 40 kWh battery pack that provides up to 160 miles (257 km) of range. It also comes standard with a 17-inch touchscreen display, Universal Mobile Connector with three adapters and 19-inch wheels.

The base Model S will also be available with a 60 kWh battery that provides up to 230 miles (370 km) of range for $59,900 and an 85 kWh battery with 300 miles (483 km) of range for $69,900.

The Model S Performance edition will start at $79,900. That model comes equipped with the 85 kWh battery as well as an upgraded standard equipment package that includes high-performance drive inverter, exterior carbon fiber accents, Nappa leather interior, performance wheels and tires, sport-tuned traction control, and active air suspension. The Model S Performance hits 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, an increase of 1.1 seconds over the base Model S equipped with the 85 kWh battery.

The first 1,000 Model S variants to hit the market will be the limited edition Signature Series. The $87,900 Model S Signature is basically an upgraded version of the 85 kWh standard Model S. It features a Nappa perforated leather interior and unique color options but shares its performance specs with the base Model S. The $97,900 Model S Signature Performance has the Model S Performance's upgraded equipment and the Signature Series color options. The Signature models also come with other upgrades like a Tech Package and Sound Studio Package.

Tesla will begin production on the Signature models in the summer. In the fall, it will begin production on the 60 kWh Model S, with the 40 kWh version to follow by winter 2012. It does not have pricing information for markets outside the United States but will announce those prices closer to market launch dates.

While much attention has been paid to the Model S' combination of style, luxury and performance (and for good reason), an equally compelling story is the car's practicality. The car costs less than half the starting price of the Roadster, offers the option of seating for seven and provides up to 300 miles of range. Three hundred miles is unheard of throughout the rest of the mainstream EV market, and other EVs like the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric get about a third of that.

You can find more information about specs and options at Tesla's newly launched Model S webpage.

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Finally an affordable, decent looking and fast electric car. But what about charging times and battery life cycle?


Given the same performance for a fourth or a third the price, I\'d be interested. as is, it\'s still a rich man\'s toy.

William Lanteigne

tesla will be bankrupt within 3 years. i do applaud them for trying, but they were too far ahead of the curve.

i would have placed my own money on them if they got into the elctric scooter market.

the entire third world market of people who buy motorcycles and scooter ---- a truly massive market ---would be open to them.

instead theyre focussing on the narrowest portion of rich people , and only those in the u.s. and canada. if i were super rich, i\'d want a ariel atom or soemthing awesome, not this non-race car, non utility car.

this is an expensive toy.


It don\'t have a radiator so why the fake, why not take advantage of the design options afforded by not having a radiator.

XJohn Doex

I really doubt it would go up to 230 miles. These kind of figures are misleading just like the mpg that automobile companies use solely as marketing spiel. These figures are applicable under certain driving conditions, but if you drive over hills, or use climate control on a hot summer day and/or stuff the car with screaming hyperactive kids with cargo this optimistic figure will drop dramatically.

A friend of mine owns a Nissan Leaf and it OFTEN doesn\'t even go HALF of the purpoted range under REAL world driving conditions it\'s not even funny. Wait it\'s funny because the Leaf has this little software that often reminds you constantly how the range is actually a joke.

Stick a small ICE in the back and run it as a generator to extend the range to dispel the \'range anxiety\', then we\'re talking. It doesn\'t have to run on petroleum to save all the little fishies and birds but instead on ethanol or methanol derived from renewable resources.

As long as a car is tied by a leash that is the electrical battery, which would be the bane of freedom in \'car culture\', the transition to an utopian electric future seems bleak IMO.


@ Zevulon - Elon Musk wants to help the US continue to be the best country in the world...he wants to take on our biggest problems...not build electric scooters for Indians & the Chinese. He is trying to get the US off of oil, and he isn\'t sitting around blogging about it...He started a company which now employs thousands of people, he is the modern day Nikola Tesla & Werner Von Braun rolled into one. This car isn\'t just for the \"rich\", the base model after the tax credit is 50k, that\'s starting to creep into the upper middle class area, and he has said that by 2015 he wants to have a sub 30k electric car available for the masses.

@SpaceBagels - actually the top tier one would be able to do 300 miles on one charge. Which is based on a 55mph cruising speed. As for still having a engine...GM\'s Volt is doing just that, because people have range anxiety. I\'m a fan of electric only, which means people will complain about range & charge times, which will further push the automakers at advancing those areas. Level 3 quick charge seems to be roughly (depends on battery size) around 45 minutes...which is fast, but not when your competing against a 5 minute gas fill-up. But I don\'t worry about it, as long as electric vehicles keep their collective foot on the pedal, by 2020 the range will be above 400 miles, and charge times will be 10-15 minutes.

As for your last paragraph...,Oil is the leash...not battery driven vehicles. I hope for a day when my car & house is powered by wind and solar, then nobody will have power over my energy, I can use as much of it as I want, and the price doesn\'t fluctuate because of unstable countries. I\'m no tree-huggin hippy, I drive a truck & I like to hunt, but I would love to see the future I described come true, and people like Elon Musk will make that future become a reality.

Derek Howe

Until I drive one, I\'ll take their claims as honest.

We seldom pillory ICE manufacturers about their MPG claims, do we?

I once owned a couple of Citroen Berlingo commercial electric vans.

The van\'s modern design was a sleek factory produced stock vehicle- powered solely by its onboard battery pack. It was visually identical to its noisy smelly diesel brethren.

Payload was a little less due to the battery weight.

Sure, range was always a worry, but the sheer delight from driving this silent flying carpet-like van far exceeded the somewhat irksome features like short range. Believe me, the thrill of its pure, instant acceleration and generally silky smooth drive feeling was addictive. Particularly attractive was the cheap plug-and-play recharging facility: no huge fuel bills . Combined with a 2.5kw domestic wind turbine in our rural setting, this package was pretty clean n green.

Sadly, Citroen discontinued production of the vehicle. This was irritating, as due to public interest whilst driving them, I had secured orders for new ones:- this in a real-world highly competetive vans market. No official reason for production cessation could be extracted from Citroen HQ, but we assume from semi-official gossiping that the battery packs\' ongoing disposal costs became prohibitive under EU environmental legislation.

I do hope Tesla have better success and continue to offer their cars to us all :-they must be a HUGE thrill to drive!


Electric cars will be great for most (shorter) journeys, but for longer trips and greater range please consider the EV pusher - an engine / generator / trasnmission trailer that allows long distance travel (and if built to a standard can act as portable emergancy power unit for winter storm / hurricane / etc.

EV pusher trailers are also the kind of thing you could rent as required, like a Uhaul trailer, instead of having to own /maintain / insure something thats only needed a couple of times a year.

Google - EV pusher to find an example or three.

ps: Greenies seem to like diesel power ones burning recyced used vegetable oil :)


Its not a bad deal and the ranges are sufficient for most drivers. Clearly the price of the batteries is the key factor and one that needs to be addressed. Whether Tesla will be around in a couple of years to honor the warranty is probably a good question but one could argue that this is true of most car companies (in one fashion or another).

A pretty amazing team of people is behind this vehicle and I would bet on its structural and mechanical integrity. I would expect slightly less range in the Vancouver to Whistler area but, in all honesty, I\'ll take my truck to the mountains regardless.


Love the way they list the price after the $7500 tax payer assisted welfare. At least it is less burden on the taxpayer than GM and that flop, Chevy Volt.


Considering the Ford Focus Electric is going to start around $39,000, Tesla is going to give the rest of the electric car market a run for the money. I applaud them, and wish the best for them. May they make the rest of the BEV market lower their prices.


This may not be the family trip driver (ie. drive for 10+ hrs around 600 miles) but most people who would buy this car will fly that far anyway. Where I live (Buffalo, NY), even 200 miles would get me back and forth to work plus extra driving around for about 5 days without a charge. I can\'t imagine most people needing more than 120 miles on a regular day\'s driving. This car would probably be more than adequate for 95% of America\'s current drivers and just think what an impact it would have on national security if we didn\'t need to coddle our relationship with Saudi Arabia anymore? (or have a war in Iraq) Go look up the story about Mohammed Atta staying with friends of the Saudi Royal family in Sarasota, FL a week before the attacks and tell me that we don\'t need to get off oil in this country.


300 MPG at 55 miles ... start to take this company serious, especially as they envisage to get a standard GBP30k car ready for sale by 2015!

Harpal Sahota

I do wish \'journalists\' would stop quoting the price with the tax credit added. When you go to buy the base car the price will be north of $60k after taxes. The tax credit IS NOT a rebate or price cut. It\'s still a great price though. What\'s amazing here is the pessimistic commentary. Here are people reading Gizmag about future tech, and when future tech arrives they poo poo it.!.! Is it also a coincidence that the critics can\'t spell?


All my driving life (55 years) I have only needed or wanted an economic 2-seat coup which looks sexy, but is practical, not for racing. I will wait until I see an EV which fills the bill.

Aptera, what happened? What was that X-Prize all about, if not production?

If Tesla can build a family sedan for $50K why can\'t they build an economy coup for 35K?

Post a Comment

Login with your Gizmag account:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our articles