| HAWTHORNE, Calif., March 26
HAWTHORNE, Calif., March 26 Electric car
start-up Tesla Motors Inc unveiled its newest, cheapest vehicle
on Thursday, a four-door sedan that can carry five adults and
could travel up to 300 miles per charge.
The Model S will cost $49,900, after a U.S. government tax
credit of $7,500, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said at the
car's unveiling. It is slated to go into production in 2011 and
will be manufactured in Southern California.
In his remarks, Musk billed the Model S as the first
mass-market, highway-ready electric vehicle. And, he said, the
price is comparable to that of a $35,000 gasoline-powered car
such as a Ford Taurus, assuming gas prices of about $4 a
"Would you rather have this car, or would you rather have a
Ford Taurus?" Musk asked the crowd of journalists.
Tesla plans to produce 20,000 Model S sedans a year. The
company expects to receive funding from the Department of
Energy this year to support the Model S program.
Tesla, which ran into a series of cost overruns and
production delays with its Roadster sports car that forced it
to cut 24 percent of its staff, said last month that it should
be profitable by the middle of this year.
The more than $100,000 Roadster is well beyond the reach of
most car buyers, with owners including Hollywood celebrities
and corporate titans such as actor and California Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger and Google Inc (GOOG.O) founders Sergey Brin and
With the Model S, Tesla is aiming for a broader range of
customers, Musk said, saying the company was making the car "as
affordable as possible." He expects the car to appeal to buyers
of mid-range to premium sedans.
The Model S base price will include a battery with a
160-mile range, Musk said. Customers will have the option to
upgrade to a battery with a 300-mile range.
The Model S has a top speed of 130 mph and can get to 60
mph in 5.5 to 6 seconds.
(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Gary Hill)