Tesla to deliver Model S ahead of schedule

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Tesla Model S

The striking Tesla Model S. Image: Al Abut/Flickr/CC BY-SA

Tesla, the luxury electric automaker based in Palo Alto, Calif., says it is poised to roll out its first mass-produced model — the Model S sedan — a month ahead of its scheduled delivery.

To deliver after testing

Tesla announced on its blog that the Model S will start delivering on June 22, after it has finished being crash-tested.

The company’s co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk, said to Tesla shareholders:

“Once we complete and document the tests, we will be able to sell our vehicles in the United States.”

However, so many of the vehicles have been pre-ordered that Tesla will not be able to deliver them all in 2012. According to Tesla, more than 10,000 cars have been ordered already.

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Customizable features abound

The new model will come with many features that can be personalized. For instance, many drivers have difficulty adapting to the abrupt feel of the regenerative braking systems in electric cars,  designed to create power while the driver brakes. The Model S will allow motorist to customize the feel of the brake. However, the automaker is also warning that the adjustments may also reduce the range of the car.

There will also be customizable features for the steering, suspension and height of the car off the ground. It will seat five adults, plus two children in some model configurations. Tesla boasts it will go from zero-to-60 in under six seconds.

Not cheap

Depending on the options and range of the vehicle, the Model S can run you from $49,900 to $97,900. That is a huge range, but even at bare bones, it ain’t cheap. And that is only after collecting the $7,500 EV federal tax credit. However, it is about half of what a Tesla Roadster would have cost.

A risky phase

Tesla has already reported a net loss of $89.9 million for the first-quarter. It projects that 90 percent of its income for the next year will come from selling the Model S. Plus $188 million of its federal loans still remain. Musk told investors:

“Our relationship with the DOE remains strong and we plan to draw down all remaining funds over the next two quarters. We continue to believe that we have adequate liquidity to reach profitability in 2013, based on our current plans.”

Adam Jonas, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, said:

“Tesla is entering one of the riskiest moments of its company’s history, so anything that supports an on-time launch should be viewed with some relief.”

The automaker also draws income from its partnerships, building electric powertrains for Daimler AG and Toyota Motor Co.

Another launch

And speaking of launches, always on the cutting edge, Tesla’s CEO Musk watched his commercial space venture, SpaceX, take off on its maiden mission to the International Space Station the very same day that Tesla’s web blog made the announcement of the Model S’s early roll-out.


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