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This article is from the In-Depth Report Under the Hood: Building a Better Engine

Tesla Motors debuts the Model S

After providing some teaser shots, Tesla Motors yesterday let everyone get an eyeful of the new Model S, the company’s $57,400 all-electric new prototype vehicle. Like its sports car cousin, the $109,000 Roadster, the Model S relies on lithium ion batteries for its juice, giving the auto a top range of 300 miles (482 kilometers) after a 45-minute charge, the company says. The need for speed has not been neglected: The Model S reportedly revs up from zero to 60 in 5.5 seconds.

It’s heady days for electric and hybrid car manufacturers and consumers. Last week, President Obama announced $2.4 billion in research grants for the next generation of plug-in electric cars, with funding going to battery work and electric car repair technician training, as well as to efforts such as the development of truck stop charging stations, according to a Department of Energy press release.  

With the Model S, Tesla hopes to have hit on a winning formula to make it the first mass-produced electric vehicle in the world. The Roadster will remain as the company’s high-end way of offering auto owners a way to flex a little green muscle.

Tesla is not alone in working the luxury electric vehicle market. Fisker, which Tesla Motors unsuccessfully sued for allegedly stealing tech secrets last year, plans to have its signature vehicle, the Karma, in 40 showrooms across the country by the end of June. The plug-in hybrid Karma sells for $88,000 and may yet give Tesla Motors a run for its (and consumers’) money. Tesla is on a roll, however, having recently sold its 250th Roadster and is opening its first non-California dealership in Chicago this spring.

 

The Model S. Image Credit: Tesla Motors

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