The high price of Tesla’s Model S luxury sedan is the only reason why the demand for this “first-rate car” is limited, AutoNation Inc. CEO Mike Jackson said in a speech given to the Rotary Club of Atlanta. In fact, Jackson thinks that the Model S is "the best electric car” that he has ever driven. Jackson took the car for a test drive last August 15 at a showroom located near the company’s base.
The Model S is actually Tesla’s most affordable model. Nevertheless, Jackson believes that it’s still very expensive and that economics would be a limiting factor. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is relying on the Model S, which is priced from $57,400, to push sales so that it could finally have a profitable quarter.
The production of the battery-powered Model S at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, Calif., is being expanded. It is targeting the delivery of 5,000 units this year and 20,000 in 2013.
Tesla, which is named after inventor Nikola Tesla, is expected to post its first profitable quarters next year. Jackson said that the Model S design is “very good” and also rates as “good” its driving dynamics, fit and finish.
The base version is priced at $57,400 and has a range of 160 miles (257 kilometers). It could be priced by up to $105,400 for a "Signature" edition, which has a 300-mile range, before a federal tax credit of $7,500.
He said that the demand will be restricted because of the cost of this technology. He estimated that three years from now, all electric vehicles would comprise less than 1% of the market. [source: Automotive News - sub. required]