Tesla Model S

If immitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Jaguar must be grinning ear to ear now. The above is not a facelifted Jaguar XF but is in fact the eagerly awaited Tesla Model S electric car, which has been unveiled to world press today.

Tesla claims a maximum 300 mile (483 km) range, but the baseline model will come with a battery pack capable of 160 miles and there is also a 230 mile version. These battery storage systems range from 42kWh to 70kWh and greater, made out of 8,000 cells. These batteries are housed in the car’s floor. Power from the batteries are channeled to the road via a 9-inch liquid-cooled electric through a single-speed transaxle gearbox.

Tesla Model S

The 9 inch motor can take the Tesla Model S from 0 to 100km/h in under 6 seconds, and will have an electronically limited top speed of 210km/h. Stopping power is provided by Brembo Monobloc calipers with 6 pistons and 4 pistons for the front and rear respectively. The front discs are floating slotted 405x34mm 2-piece discs while the rear are 380x28mm slotted discs.

The batteries can be charged via either a 120V, 240V or 480V power outlet, with the 480V taking only 45 minutes to a full charge. There is of course no country in the world with a 480V system, so this requires a special QuickCharger.

Tesla Model S

Unlike many electric sedan cars which batteries take up the bootspace, because the Tesla Model S was designed ground up to be electric-powered, there is a proper boot space. Tesla claims a 50 inch LCD TV, a mountain bike and a surfboard can fit in the car all at once.

The in-car entertainment system centers around a 17 inch touchscreen in the center dash area which also shows various vehicle information. You can also surf the internet via the built-in 3G data system and access HD and satellite radio.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the Model S is priced at US$49,000 (nearly RM180,000) after a US tax credit of US$7,500 for the baseline model. 160 miles would cost only US$5 in terms of electricity! The company also claims the car’s floor-installed battery packs can be swapped out in less than the time it takes to fill a full tank of petrol, so in the future you could actually go to “battery stations” and swap out your batteries for a freshly fully charged new set instead of stopping and waiting for a full charge.

Tesla Model S

While now we’ve seen photos and read the details, there is still quite some time to go before the first Model S rolls off the production lines in late 2011. Looking at the gloom and doom in the US, Will Tesla still be around? Their press release says the company “believes” it is close to receiving US$350 million in federal loans to build the Model S assembly plant.

Future production models will come with an all-wheel drive option. One good thing is that right hand drive models will be available, so those with money (and refuse to drive an electric Persona) can start looking at the AP dealers in 2012!

Look after the jump for a full gallery of the Model S.

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