As the Tesla Model S prepares to go on sale later next year, the car company has reaffirmed its previous pricing strategy . The sedan will start at $57,400, though the first models available will be the Model S Signature trim, which will start at $95,400. All models are eligible for a maximum $7,500 tax credit if you meet a tax liability of at least that amount.
While all vehicles are powered by the same electric motor, the battery capacity will vary depending on what you’re willing to pay. The standard 40-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery allows the Model S to go 160 miles when traveling at average speeds of 55 mph. There are also 60-kWh and 85-kWh batteries with ranges of 230 and 300 miles, respectively. Each increase in battery size increases the price by $10,000 — so $67,400 and $77,400, respectively.Each bump in battery capacity also leads to a slight increase in performance. For instance, the 40-kWh battery accelerates the Model S from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, while the 85-kWh battery shaves the time to 5.6 seconds.
Each battery also gets a slightly longer battery warranty. The 40-kWh battery has an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty; the 60 kWh gets an eight-year, 125,000-mile warranty; and the 85-kWh battery has an eight-year warranty with unlimited miles.
All Model S trims come with standard features that include a 17-inch touch-screen, 200-watt seven-speaker stereo, USB ports, eight-way power driver’s seat and a cloth and leatherette interior. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels are also standard. Available options include a navigation system, panoramic sunroof, Dolby Pro Logic stereo, active air suspension and rear-facing jump seats (making seating for seven).
A Model S Performance trim is also available, with the 85-kWh battery only. A high-performance drive inverter, active sport-tuned suspension, high-performance tires and Nappa leather come standard on the Performance trim. Tesla says the Performance model will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
The first 1,000 Model S vehicles will come in a special Signature series. Those vehicles will have the 300-mile-range battery, an active air suspension and Nappa leather. A range-topping Signature Performance trim will have an eye-watering price tag of $105,400.
If you plan on being first in line to buy the Model S, be prepared to pay a hefty premium since the Signature trims will be the first to go on sale next summer. The 60-kWh battery will come three months afterward, with the base 40 kWh landing before the end of 2012. Tesla plans to build 5,000 models in 2012.
You can reserve a Model S now for $5,000 or $40,000 for the Signature trims. The reservation payment is fully refundable if you change your mind.
Continue to Tesla’s website for more trim details.