Tesla Unveils New Model S03.30.09   |   Posted in: Tech   |   By: Kellis Landrum
Tags: Alternative Transport, Automotive, Green Design, Model S, Tesla
Tesla officially unveiled it’s new Model S electric luxury sedan yesterday and it has all the makings of a winner. This new model scheduled to be released in 2011 is set to compete against hybrid and EV offerings from Mercedes Benz and BMW with an MSRP of $49,900 after a $7,500 tax credit. The Model S is slated to be available with 160, 220, and 300 mile battery packs, but still no word on how pricing varies between options.
Provided this edition is actually released as scheduled and is widely available (a problem for Tesla’s ground breaking Roadster) the model S is certainly competitive. The Model S gets high marks for looks and seeing as it’s coming down the line from the Roadster we would expect it to handle well.
Where we think the Model S may shine most brightly is the “Environmentalist Status Symbol” area. While driving a Prius announces to your friends “I’m putting my money where my mouth is when it comes to saving the planet”, it looks like you’re doing it in your mom’s car. If the Prius didn’t have a hybrid engine, it would just be a slightly more sophisticated Yaris.
Honda has experienced the flip side of this problem with the Accord hybrid, because it looks just like a regular Accord. With out the status symbol value it’s hard to justify the extra cost (which currently out weighs the gas savings) unless you just like the personal satisfaction of saving the planet anonymously.
While it’s very possible that Mercedes and BMW could suffer this same problem, Tesla’s are born and bred electric vehicles.Â The fact that Tesla is a relative unknown works to its advantage in the sense that the Model S will catch eyes and prompt questions, giving users a casual opening to announce their environmental awareness. Currently, owning a Prius is the way to show off your enlightenment without really trying. But we have a feeling that once there’s an alternative available with leather seats and 22 inch rims, there will be a few takers.