Tesla CEO says Model S is on track for 2012 launch

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 1, 2011

Tesla CEO Elon Musk talked about how he envisions making use of the full capacity of the former New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant acquired from Toyota at the first annual shareholders’ meeting since it went public last July. In addition, he discussed the production of a series of electric vehicles and the likelihood of building a chain of company-owned charging stations and battery-swap facilities.

Musk also managed to discuss its progress with the former NUMMI plant during this meeting, which lasted one hour.

He said that Tesla recently completed installing a Schuler SMG hydraulic stamping press that Tesla got from "a company in Detroit" for $6 million. This installation cost $50 million and took eight months to complete. This includes the cost of shipping 70 trucks loaded with the tooling.

Musk described it as the “largest hydraulic stamping press in North America." The former NUMMI plant was valued at $1 billion before Tesla acquired it after paying $42 million. Musk described the plant as "an alien dreadnought."

He said that Tesla’s long-term plans include using the plant's 500,000-unit annual capacity. In the nearer-term, Tesla wants to begin making production prototypes of the Model S sedan in the third quarter. The Model S can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in six seconds and it boasts of having a 300-mile range. This car’s retail launch is slated to take place in the middle of 2012.

There are two important things to know about the Tesla Model S. The first is that it is premium sedan that was designed from scratch with the second being that it is the first such sedan to make full use of the electric vehicle architecture. The first group of customers was able to get their hands on this premium electric sedan through an invitation-only event that occurred on June 22, 2012 at the Tesla Factory located in Fremont, California.

For the Asian market, delivery is expected to start by mid-2013 with customers in the European market expected to receive deliveries by early-2013. Though the powertrain is one of a kind, it was placed under the floor; thus giving the Model S a lower center of gravity. This is then complemented with an aluminum body that was designed to deliver superior handling. The Model S is therefore expected by Tesla to be the vehicle that will increase the standard when it comes to efficiency and handling while still being able to meet the highest of safety regulations.

Since there is no transmission tunnel or even an internal combustion engine, the interior is able to offer more space compared to sedan models in its segment. There is even a second trunk that is just under its hood. Overall, the Model S allows 5 adults to be seated with the addition of 2 children especially with the rear-facing child seats, though the latter is offered as an option. Its interior also has the in-dash 17-inch touchscreen that has internet connectivity and that enables navigation, web browsing, and streaming music.

Due to its advanced electric powertrain, the instant torque enables acceleration form 0 to 7 km/h in 4.4 seconds. It also has what can be considered as the most energy dense battery pack in the auto industry. In addition, it is known for having the best aerodynamics in its segment. Indeed, when compared to the different electric cars, the Model S has possibly the longest range as it can reach as far as 480 km on a single charge. The Model S with 85-kWh output has a US fuel economy rating of 89 MPGe while the EPA-rate range is 265 miles.

Equipped with Tesla's advanced electric powertrain, Tesla Model S provides instant torque and smooth acceleration from 0-97 km/h in 4.4 seconds. The aluminum body is engineered for superior handling, safety and efficiency. With the most energy dense battery pack in the industry, and best-in-class aerodynamics, Tesla Model S has the longest range of any electric car in the world, up to 480 km on a single charge. However since the Model S has three choices for its battery, it can meet the demands of any driver.

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