Tesla Model S Starts At $57,400 But Actually Starts At $77,400

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Tesla has made much of the fact that its next model, the Model S sports sedan, will be half the price of its $110k Roadster and be built in far greater volume… but it turns out that both of these goals are going to take just a little bit longer than Tesla thought. Though the Model S will be offered at a base price of $57,400 with a 160 mile range, that version won’t be built until after the firm produces its first 1,000 units. Those first thousand models of the 5,000 unit 2012 production run will be loaded “Signature Series” models that will cost at least $77,400 (the base price for all Model S versions with 300 miles of range). According to Tesla, versions with a 230 mile range will start at around $67,400.

And with 20k units of production planned for 2013, Tesla had better not run into any delays as it won’t build its firs “production intent” (known internally as “Beta”) models until late this year. That gives the firm only about 6 months to validate the production-intent version, tool up and build the thing for its mid-2012 launch. And with a first run of expensive, loaded models planned, customers will definitely expect the kinks to have been worked out. This is going to be interesting…

Join the conversation
5 of 19 comments
  • Stuki Stuki on Mar 08, 2011

    They'll never be a "real" car company as long as they keep relying on these kinds of antics to survive. If their investors, who presumably have more insight than most, can't even be persuaded to front the extra $20 mill required for them to at least pretend to be taken seriously when they announce prices and volumes, I can't imagine why anyone else would bother. I was originally intrigued by Tesla, having spent enough time immersed in the Silicon Valley culture to kind of fall for the "anything not from the Valley is hopelessly outdated, and anyone with a brain has moved here already, leaving only the reactionary dunces behind" mantra. But after looking a bit closer into what Tesla is doing, meh! Nice cars, sure, but at least from what I'm seeing, nothing like the kind of breakthrough required to threaten established players with decades upon decades of IP related to building, selling and servicing cars for people who actually need them for something other than showing off for Al Gore. Assuming battery powered electrics really is the future, I would be much more comfortable handing my savings to a startup focusing on a much narrower niche of that coming ecosystem, than building the whole car; given that even all electric cars are still 80% regular cars, 20% novel power trains. Tesla's path basically have them trying to make up for a century worth of refinement of that 80%, just to show off their possibly slightly ahead of others mastery of the remaining 20. Not my kind of cup of tea, that's for sure. Nice toys for what they are, though. And, at least in LA, showed and sold by some impressive in both looks and brains Tesla Girls, as well :)

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Mar 08, 2011

    Electric cars will remain play toys for the wealthy or working rich for some time. Or in the LEAF's case, someone who doesn't mind limited range. As they become more ubiquitous, I wonder how many green folks' heads will explode trying to figure out where the electricity to power these 'green' cars will come from. I'm looking at you, West Virginia.

  • Mpresley Mpresley on Mar 08, 2011

    Telsa is proof that insanity can be relatively mainstream--at least where the government is concerned. I give them another year or two...three at most, then it's good bye Charlie. And I bet the taxpayer never gets their half billion dollar loan back, either.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 09, 2011

    Would the criticism here be any different if Tesla first offered the $57k version, followed by the $77k long-range version? Their basic strategy is sound - they are offering several ranges at several price points, just like any manufacturer. How is this any different from Chrysler's offering of a panel van long after their mainstream Caravan is available? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/dont-call-me-caravan/

    • Charly Charly on Mar 09, 2011

      It is also normal to first introduce the expensive model and later the cheaper ones