HAWTHORNE, CA --- Tesla Motors unveiled a pair of prototype Model S all-electric-power five-door sedans on March 26, telling reporters that one version of the upcoming vehicle will travel 300 miles on a single charge.
During the media event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk got behind the wheel of a gray model with a sunroof and drove it out of the building to demonstrate it could actually run. The company hopes to begin producing the cars in California by the final quarter of 2011.
"What we're hoping this car will do is show the car industry that it's possible to create a very compelling electric car and a very compelling price," Musk told reporters. Musk added that he's confident Tesla will secure $250 million to $350 million in federal loans to begin production.
The company said it hasn't yet determined the price it will charge for the top-of-the-line Model S that will go 300 miles on a single charge. Neither is there a price set for the version with a 230-mile-per-charge battery. But the Model S with a range of 160 miles per charge will be priced at $57,400 --$49,900 after an electric-car rebate from the government.
The Model S can seat five adults, with two children in the back, just like an old-style station wagon. Without passengers, the rear of the car can be used for storage.
Based in San Carlos, CA, Tesla currently makes the $109,000 all-electric two-seat Roadster. Only about 300 Roadsters have been delivered to date. But the company hopes to build 20,000 of the Model S sedans per year by mid-2012. Musk said the company is now negotiating a deal to build a manufacturing factory in southern California.
Musk co-founded PayPal and is also CEO of rocket ship maker SpaceX.