Tesla has revealed the Tesla Model S is at the Alpha stage of development – about 80% production-ready – with launch in 2012.
It would seem that Tesla is still very much a Silicon Valley Company at heart, rather than a car maker. Can you imagine any other car company revealing an ‘Alpha’ car? That’s Alpha in the sense of ‘Not quite Beta’, rather than ‘Alpha – I’m the best’.
Which makes the Tesla Model S development seem more like the shakedown of a bit of software rather than a car. And this is the Tesla Model S Alpha. Next stop, Tesla Model S Beta.
That said, it’s nice to see a different way and a bit of feedback, rather than just spy shots of mules, or swirly black and white graphics on a car yet to arrive. But we do feel Tesla are a long way from telling us where things really are with the Model S. The claims for the Model S still seem far-fetched.
We still hear that – depending on which model you opt for – you will get a range of up to 300 miles. Which with a price point of $50k – and with all the toys the Model S is due to have – still seems like a cuckoo-land dream. As do plans for producing 20,000 Model S every year.
And we’re not just being cynics on this – although we are cynical about the claims. Tesla are on record as saying that the batteries in the Tesla Roadster cost $36,000. Assuming they need at least as many laptop batteries to make the much bigger Model S work, then they’re building the whole Model S – and making a profit – for $20k. Hmmm.
But despite our (huge) reservations Tesla do seem to be on track for a launch in 2012 for the Model S. In terms of development the Model S is said to be around 80% there, with stuff like the suspension practically production-ready.
At $50k that’s around £32k. Add in import duty and vat and you still only get to a figure of £42.5k. Let’s round that up to nearer £50k to be realistic and you have a car that costs a bit more than a top end Jaguar XF Diesel S. But with the Inland Revenue offering a 100% writing down allowance and no BIK on electric cars it would be rather appealing as a second car. Or just as a toy.
It also look half decent.