Tesla says UK is considering Model S for transporting officials

Article by Andrew Christian, on July 21, 2014

Tesla Motors Inc. disclosed that its Model S is one of the cars being considered by the government of the United Kingdom is for transporting officials. The Government Car Service, which provides vehicles for UK ministers, will initially buy over 150 ultra-low emission vehicles under a GBP5-million ($8.6 million) program.

Tesla spokesman Simon Sproule said the Model S will be under evaluation for inclusion in the program. In fact, the Model is one of the displays at a press conference. Sproule said "it would be great to see California-built Teslas” transporting UK ministers on official business across London. Tesla is expanding overseas as part of its plan to hike output by over 50 percent this year.

The carmaker started deliveries of right-hand-drive Teslas to the UK in June. Musk also inaugurated the commencement of shipments to China in April. Sproule said buyers in Hong Kong will start receiving their units next week.

The prospect of having the UK government as one of its customers comes as China recently established a target to have account for at least 30 percent of government vehicle purchases by 2016.

Karl Brauer, senior industry analyst for Kelley Blue Book, noted that since London streets are cramped, drivers can't go fast, adding that there limitations and fees for gasoline-powered vehicles.

He said that people seeing government officials using Tesla cars could have some halo effect for the brand. The Model S, with a range of around 250 miles or more per charge, has the best range among vehicles being considered by the UK program, Sproule said.

The UK government is already offering consumer incentives for electric car purchases and is bound to install charging infrastructure. On the other hand, Tesla announced that that its third electric vehicle will be dubbed as the “Model 3” and will be rolled out in 2017.

The Model 3 will be developed to travel at least 200 miles (322 kilometers) per charge and will come at a starting price about half that of Model S ($71,000). Tesla will commence the rollout of its second model, the Model X SUV, next year.

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