Tesla Model S

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Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S 02 2013.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Tesla Motors
Also called Code name: WhiteStar[1][2][3]
Production 2012–present
Model years 2013–present
Assembly United States: Fremont, California (Tesla Factory)
Europe: Tilburg, The Netherlands (all parts)
Designer Franz von Holzhausen
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Body style 5-door liftback
Layout Rear-motor, rear-wheel drive
Powertrain
Electric motor 310 kW (416 bhp), 600 N·m (443 ft·lb), Three-phase AC induction motor
Transmission 1-speed fixed gear (9.73:1)
Battery 60 or 85 kW·h lithium ion[4]
Electric range
  • 85 kW·h
    265 mi (426 km)  (EPA)
    300 mi (480 km) (Tesla Motors)
    310 mi (500 km) (NEDC)
  • 60 kW·h
    208 mi (335 km) (EPA)
    230 mi (370 km) (Tesla Motors)
    233 mi (375 km) (NEDC)
Plug-in charging
  • 11 kW 85-265 V onboard charger for 1ϕ 40A or 3ϕ 16A [5] on IEC Type 2 inlet[6]
  • Optional "Twin Charger" for 22 kW for 1ϕ 80A or 3ϕ 32A[5]
  • Optional Supercharger for 100 kW DC offboard charging, adapters for domestic AC sockets (110-240V)
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,959 mm (116.5 in)
Length 4,976 mm (195.9 in)
Width 1,963 mm (77.3 in)
Height 1,435 mm (56.5 in)
Curb weight 2,108 kg (4,647.3 lb)

The Tesla Model S is a full-sized electric five-door, luxury liftback, produced by Tesla Motors. Since its introduction in June 2012[7] it has achieved rapidly growing sales, particularly in Norway and California. It scored a perfect 5.0 NHTSA safety rating. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official range for the Model S Performance model equipped with an 85 kW·h battery pack is 265 miles (426 km), topping the Tesla Roadster to lead the electric car market.[8][9][10] EPA rates its energy consumption at 237.5 W·h per kilometre (38 kW·h/100 mi) for a combined fuel economy of 89 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (2.64 L/100 km).[8][11]

Global cumulative sales of the Model S passed the 25,000 unit mark in December 2013.[12] The Model S became the first electric car to top the monthly new car sales ranking in any country, twice leading in Norway, in September and again in December 2013.[13][14][15][16]

The Tesla Model S won awards such as the 2013 World Green Car of the Year, 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year, Automobile Magazine's 2013 Car of the Year, Time Magazine Best 25 Inventions of the Year 2012 award and Consumer Reports' top-scoring car ever.

History[edit]

The Model S was styled by Franz von Holzhausen, who previously worked for Mazda North American Operations.[17] The car was codenamed WhiteStar during research and preliminary development.[1][2][3]

Tesla Model S prototype at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show

The Model S was announced in a press release on June 30, 2008.[18][19] The prototype vehicle was displayed at a press conference on March 26, 2009.[20]

In February 2008 it was reported that Tesla Motors was planning to offer a range-extended version of its Model S. This version would have included a gasoline engine to extend the driving range of the vehicle,[21] but it was removed in later revisions. At the GoingGreen conference in September 2008, Musk announced that Tesla was developing only electric cars.[22]

Construction of an assembly factory in Albuquerque, New Mexico (a central location for shipping) was supposed to begin in April 2007, but was cancelled.[23] A factory to be built in San Jose, California was also announced.[24][25][26] In May 2010 Tesla announced it would produce the Model S at the former NUMMI assembly plant in Fremont, California,[27] now known as the Tesla Factory. This third plan was implemented.

Production[edit]

A Tesla Model S being manufactured at the Tesla Factory

Tesla manufactures the Model S at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California. For the European market, Tesla assembles and distributes from its European Distribution Center in Tilburg, the Netherlands.[28] Cars are built and tested in Fremont, California. The battery pack, the electric motor and parts are disassembled and shipped separately to Tilburg, where the cars are reassembled.[29] The center occupies a 18,900 m2 (203,000 sq ft) industrial building that also serves as a workshop and spare parts warehouse.

The first ten customers received their cars at the Fremont factory on June 22, 2012 at the official launch.[30] Production grew from 15-20 cars completed/week (August),[30] to over 200 by November 5.[31] and 400 by late December.[32][33]

In late December Tesla revised their 2012 delivery projections down to 2,500 cars.[34]

Deliveries reached 6,892 units in the last three months of 2013.[35] In December 2013, California announced it would give Tesla a US$34.7 million tax break to expand production by an estimated 35,000 vehicles annually from its Fremont, California plant.[36]

Tesla announced that production was expected to climb from 600 cars per week in early 2014 to about 1,000 units per week by year-end.[37] Tesla produced 7,535 units during the first quarter of 2014, and expected to produce 8,500 to 9,000 cars in the second quarter of 2014. As of early May 2014, the production rate is 700 cars per week.[38] In May 2014 the company confirmed its goal to deliver over 35,000 units in 2014.[38][39]

Specifications[edit]

Model S chassis, on display at Santana Row in San Jose, California

Powertrain[edit]

Cutaway view of a Tesla Model S drive motor

The 2012 Tesla Model S Performance model has a 416 hp (310 kW) and 443 ft·lb (600 N·m) rear-mounted electric motor. The base model uses a 362 hp (270 kW) and 325 ft·lb (440 N·m) motor. The company claimed a drag coefficient of Cd=0.24,[40] lower than any car when released. Models of Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class (released later) appeared to surpass the Model S[4][41] however, independent measurement by Car And Driver Magazine in May 2014 bore out Tesla's claim by exactly confirming a drag coefficient of Cd=0.24, but in the same test, measured the Mercedes CLA at Cd=0.30, putting Mercedes' claim into question.[42]

Under its five-cycle testing protocol, the EPA rated the 85 kW·h Model S model with a combined fuel economy equivalent of 89 MPGe (2.64 L/100 km), with an equivalent 88 mpg-US (2.7 L/100 km; 106 mpg-imp) in city driving and 90 mpg-US (2.6 L/100 km; 110 mpg-imp) on highways.[8]

The following table shows the EPA's official ratings for fuel economy in miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPGe) and EPA's estimated out-of-pocket fuel costs for the two versions of the Model S rated by December 2012 as displayed in the Monroney label.

2012-14 Tesla Model S fuel economy and operating costs
Model Model
year
Combined MPGe City MPGe Highway MPGe Cost to drive
25 miles
Annual
Fuel Cost(1)
(15,000 mi)
Tesla Model S
(60 kW·h)[43]
2013-14 95
(35 kW·h/100 mi)
94 97 $1.05 $650
Tesla Model S
(85 kW·h)[44]
2012–14 89 MPGe
(38 kW·h/100 mi)
88
(38 kW·h/100 mi)
90
(37 kW·h/100 mi)
$1.14 $700
Notes: (1) Based on 45% highway and 55% city driving. Values rounded to the nearest US$50. Electricity cost of US$0.12/kW·h, as of November 30, 2012). 1 gal. gasoline = 33.7 kW·h.

The 85 kW·h Signature's top speed is 125 mph (201 km/h) and it accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour (0 to 97 km/h) in 5.4 seconds.[8] The Signature Performance model reaches 130 mph (210 km/h) and goes 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds, while the 60 kW·h base model's top speed is 120 mph (190 km/h), and it reaches 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.[45]

Battery[edit]

The 60 kW·h battery was rated to deliver 230 miles (370 km), while an 85 kW·h battery was rated at 320 miles (510 km), assuming a constant speed of 55 mph (89 km/h).[45] The EPA range for the 60 kW·h battery pack model is 208 mi (335 km)[46] and the 85 kW·h battery is 265 miles (426 km).[8][47]

Tesla Model S showing the front trunk where the engine would be in a typical car. Tesla Motors calls this a 'frunk'.[48]

The energy-saving "sleep" state powers off the display and other vehicle electronics, after the car goes to sleep. This increases the time it takes the touchscreen and instrument panel to become usable. This mode can decrease the loss of the car's range when not being used (currently 8 mi (13 km) per day).[49]

The 85 kW·h battery pack contains 7,104 lithium-ion battery cells in 16 modules[50] wired in series (14 in the flat section and two stacked on the front).[51] Each module contains six groups[52] of 74 cells[53] wired in parallel; the six groups are then wired in series within the module.[53][54][55][56] As of June 2012 the battery pack uses Panasonic cells with nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathodes.[4] Placing the battery pack underneath the cabin floor lowers the vehicle's center of gravity.[57]

The battery is guaranteed for eight years or 125,000 mi (201,000 km) for the base model with the 60 kW·h battery pack. The 85 kW·h battery pack is guaranteed for eight years and unlimited miles.[58]

A separate battery replacement guarantee takes effect after the eighth year at a cost of US$10,000 for the 60 kW·h battery and US$12,000 for the 85 kW·h battery.[59]

In 2013, Tesla canceled a 40 kW·h version of the car due to lack of demand, stating that only 4% of pre-orders were for the 40 kW·h battery option. Customers who ordered this option instead received the 60 kW·h pack, with charge software-limited to 40 kW·h (142 miles). It has the improved acceleration and top speed of the bigger pack and can be upgraded to use the full 60 kW·h for US$11,000.[60]

Charger[edit]

The Model S charge port is located in front of the left rear taillight.

The charger accepts 120 or 240-volt sources at up to 10 kW. An optional US$2,700 upgrade supports 20 kW charging from a 100 amp wall-mounted charger.[4] The charge port is behind the left rear taillight. The port is circled in LED lights that blink more rapidly as the battery approaches full charge.[57] The socket is smaller than the SAE J1772 North American standard, but adapters are provided for 120 and 240 volt outlets and for public charging stations. Tesla built 120 kW[61] "Supercharger" stations to allow travel between key US cities.[62] A Supercharger can add up to 200 miles (320 km) of range in 30 minutes and a full charge in approximately one hour assuming an 85 kW·h battery.[4][63] Supercharging is free for all 85 kW·h units and is an extra cost option for 60 kW·h models.

Charging times vary depending on the battery pack's state-of-charge, its overall capacity, the available voltage, and the available circuit breaker amperage. From a 120 volt/15 amp household outlet, the range increases by 5 miles (8 km) for every hour of charging. From a 10 kW, NEMA 14-50 240 V/50 A outlet (like those used by RVs), the charge rate is 31 miles (50 km) per hour. Using Tesla's 20 kW, 240 V High Power Wall Connector increases the rate to 62 miles (100 km) per hour if the car is configured with twin chargers (20 kW).[63] Supercharging hardware is included with the 85 kW·h battery pack. Supercharging the 60 kW·h battery is optional and is software-controlled.[58][63][64]

Instrument panel[edit]

Production dashboard with main dashboard digital display (left) and central 17-inch (430 mm) touchscreen control panel (right)

The instrument panel is a 12.3 in (31 cm) LCD display that indicates speed, power usage, charge level, estimated range and active gear. The gearbox can be set to Drive, Neutral, Reverse and Park.

The infotainment control touchscreen is a 17 in (43 cm) multi-touch panel divided into four areas. A top line displays status symbols and provides shortcuts to Charging, HomeLink, Driver Profiles, vehicle information (software version and the VIN) and Bluetooth. The second line provides access to several apps including Media, Nav (driven by Google Maps), Energy, Web, Camera and Phone. The central main viewing area displays the (two) active apps, subdivided into upper and lower areas. (Most apps can be expanded to take up the entire area). At the bottom is access to various controls and settings for the vehicle such as doors, locks and lights as well as temperature controls and a secondary volume control.

The instrument cluster and the infotainment panel are driven by separate NVIDIA Tegra 3D Visual Computing Modules.[65] Tesla was the first company to ship this technology. (Audi later delivered this technology in its 2013 model year in Europe, and in North America in 2014.)[66] The Tegra system-on-a-chip (SoC) integrates eight specialized processors, including a multi-core ARM CPU, a GPU, and dedicated audio, video and image processors. Nvidia claimed that it consumes 2% of the energy of a typical CPU.[67]

The navigation system uses GPS and Google Maps. The map display requires a constant Internet connection, so maps are unavailable in areas without mobile network coverage.[68]

Features[edit]

Model S features
Standard Performance
60 kW·h 85 kW·h
Range 230 mi (370 km)
(Tesla Motors)
208 mi (335 km)
(EPA)
300 mi (480 km)
(Tesla Motors)
265 mi (426 km)
(EPA)
Max. power 225 kW (302 hp)
@ 5000-8000 rpm
270 kW (362 hp)
@ 6000-9500 rpm
310 kW (416 hp)
@ 5000-8600 rpm
Max. torque 317 lb·ft (430 N·m)
@ 0-5000 rpm
325 lb·ft (440 N·m)
@ 0-5800 rpm
443 lb·ft (600 N·m)
@ 0-5100 rpm
0-60 mph
(0–97 km/h)
5.9 sec 5.4 sec 4.2 sec
Top speed 120 mph/193 km/h 125 mph/200 km/h 130 mph/210 km/h
Supercharging Optional1 (US$2,500) Included
Note: 1 After purchase, Supercharging can be enabled via a software update for US$2,500.
The Model S has an optional folding third row with rear-facing seats for two children secured with a racing-style five-point harness.

All versions of the Model S have the same body and normally seat five passengers. An optional folding third row for US$1,500 becomes a rear-facing two-place child seat. The option includes a stronger rear bumper. Each seat has a racing-style five-point harness for passengers over 37 in (0.94 m) tall and weighing between 35 to 77 lb (16 to 35 kg). Cargo space is available under the front hood (which Tesla called a "frunk," a portmanteau of "front trunk.") The optional third row gives the greatest passenger capacity of any electric vehicle.[69]

Vehicle warranty and maintenance[edit]

The Model S is covered by a 4-year, 50,000 mi (80,000 km) limited warranty,[70] that includes all standard equipment, the transmission and the complete powertrain (excluding tires).[71] The warranty can be extended an additional 4 years or 50,000 miles (80,000 km) beyond the original terms for US$4,000.[71] Warranty coverage includes a complementary loaner car—a Performance 85 or Tesla Roadster—when service is required.[72] In April, 2013, Tesla announced that a previously mandatory US$600 annual vehicle inspection and maintenance fee would be made optional, and would not be required to maintain warranty coverage.[72] If chosen, the fee covers a complete inspection, tire alignment, new brake pads, hardware upgrades and miscellaneous other maintenance items as needed.

The battery is covered for eight years or 125,000 mi (201,000 km) for the 60 kW·h base model, or eight years and unlimited miles for all 85 kW·h models.[58] The unconditional battery warranty covers everything except deliberate damage, even including user error.[73]

However, loss of battery capacity over time or usage is not covered under warranty.[74]

Environmental footprint[edit]

In February 2014, the Automotive Science Group (ASG) published the result of a study conducted to assess the life-cycle of over 1,300 automobiles across nine categories sold in North America. The study ranked the Model S as the best environmental performer in the 2014 full-size cars category.[75] Based on the assessment of life-cycle environmental footprint, the study concluded that the increased environmental impacts of manufacturing the vehicle are more than offset with increased environmental performance during operation. For the assessment, the study used the average electricity mix of the U.S. grid in 2014. The Nissan Leaf had the smallest life-cycle environmental footprint of any model year 2014 automobile available in the North American market [76]

Tesla stations[edit]

Main article: Tesla station

In 2012, Tesla began building a network of 480-volt charging stations to facilitate long-distance travel. In June 2013 Tesla announced that existing and future stations would become Tesla stations, with facilities to support under-two-minute battery pack swaps. As of mid January 2014, 65 stations were operating in the United States and 14 in Europe.[77] The Tesla network is usable only by Tesla vehicles, which are engineered for compatibility.

Tesla Model S charging at the Supercharger network station in Delaware

The first Supercharger corridor opened in October 2012 with six stations placed along routes connecting San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.[78][79] A second corridor opened in December 2012 connecting Washington, D.C., New York City, and Boston; it includes three stations located in highway rest areas in Delaware and Connecticut.[80]

The first Tesla stations in Europe opened in Norway in August 2013.[81] Tesla next focused on Germany and the Netherlands, with plans to cover both countries by mid-2014. Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Denmark and Luxembourg were to be covered by the end of 2014. Stations were to be within 320 km (200 mi) for about 90% of the population in France, England, Wales and Sweden by the end of 2014.[82]

Supercharger[edit]

The Supercharger is a proprietary DC rapid-charging station that provides almost 100 kW of power, giving 85 kW·h vehicles an additional 150 mi (240 km) of range in about 30 minutes. In the West Coast corridor the Superchargers are powered by a solar carport system provided by SolarCity. Eventually, all Tesla stations will be solar powered.

Supercharging hardware is standard on 85 kW·h vehicles and optional on 60 kW·h vehicles. The Roadster is not compatible.[78][79][80] In early November 2013, Tesla reported that 90% of its customers had opted for supercharging capability.[82]

Battery swapping[edit]

Panoramic view of Tesla Supercharger rapid charging station in Tejon Ranch, California.

Tesla designed its Model S to allow fast battery swapping, which also facilitated vehicle assembly.[83] In June 2013, Tesla announced their goal to deploy a battery swapping station in Tesla stations. At a demonstration Tesla showed a battery swap operation taking just over 90 seconds, about half the time it takes to refill an empty gas tank.[84][85]

Battery swapping was to be deployed along Interstate 5 in California to allow travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles. These were to be followed by the Washington, DC to Boston corridor. Each swapping station cost US$500,000 and stock about 50 batteries. The service would be offered for the price of about 15 US gallons (57 l; 12 imp gal) of gasoline at the current local rate, around US$60 to US$80 at June 2013 prices. Owners can pick up their original battery pack fully charged on the return trip, which is included in the swap fee. Tesla would also offer the option to keep the swapped battery for a fee or to receive the original pack from Tesla for a fee. Pricing has not been determined.[84]

As of June 2014, there are no battery swapping stations available.

Editions[edit]

Tesla allocated the first 1,000 units to its Signature and Signature Performance limited edition configurations, equipped with the 85 kW·h battery pack, and priced in the U.S. at US$95,400 and US$105,400 respectively, not including any applicable U.S. federal and local government tax credits and incentives.[86][87] The base Model S starts at US$69,900 with a 60 kW·h battery pack up to US$79,900 with the 85 kW·h pack before any government subsidies.[8][86]

Sales and markets[edit]

Global[edit]

Tesla Motors reported 520 reservations for the Model S during the first week they were available[88] and as of 31 December 2012 over 15,000 net reservations (after deliveries and cancellations) had been received by year-end.[89] The special edition Model S Signature model was sold out before deliveries began in June 2012, and according to Tesla Motors all models were sold out for that year shortly after. A car ordered in May 2012 would be delivered in early to mid-2013.[90][91]

Model S first retail deliveries ceremony at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California, held on June 22, 2012.

Tesla expects global sales of 35,000 units in 2014, a 55% increase over 2013,[35][39] with combined sales in Europe and Asia expected to be almost twice that of North America by the end of 2014.[92] Tesla expects to deliver about 7,500 cars during the second quarter of 2014.[39]

2012

US deliveries began June 2012.[7] Deliveries of the 60 kW·h model were rescheduled from November 2012 to January/February 2013.[93] A total of 2,650 cars were delivered in North America.[32]

2013

During the first six months of 2013, 10,050 were delivered.[94][95] The Model S was released in Europe in early August 2013, and the first deliveries took place in Norway, Switzerland and the Netherlands.[96] As of early November 2013, the Model S was sold in 20 countries.[82]

Sales totaled 6,892 units during the fourth quarter of 2013,[35] for a year's total of about 22,477 units sold in North America and Europe,[37] surpassing Tesla's annual sales target of 21,500 units.[12] Global cumulative sales passed the 25,000 unit milestone in December 2013.[12]

2014

A total of 6,457 units were sold in North America and Europe during the first quarter of 2014.[39] As of March 2014, the United States is the leading market with over 23,800 units sold,[77][89][97] followed by Norway with 4,042 units,[98][99][100] and the Netherlands with 1,399 units.[101][102] Retail deliveries in China began in April 2014.[103] The right-hand-drive model was released in the UK in June 2014 and in Hong Kong in July 2014,[104] and it will be followed by Hong Kong and Japan.[105] Deliveries in Australia were slated for the second quarter of 2014.[106]

The following table shows sales by year for the top selling countries through March 2014:

Tesla Model S sales/registrations by top national markets
(2012 - March 2014)
Country Cumulative
Sales
% of global
sales(1)
Sales
1Q 2014
Sales
2013
Sales
2012
 United States[77][89][97] ~23,800 ~75.3% ~3,300 ~18,000 ~2,555
 Norway[98][100] 4,042 12.8% 2,056 1,986  
 Netherlands[101][102] 1,399 4.4% 207 1,192  
 Canada[107][108][109] 891 2.8% 158 638 95
 Germany[110][111][112] 430 1.4% 239 191  
  Switzerland[113] 346 1.1% 133 213  
 Belgium[114][115] 284 0.9% 136 148  
 Denmark[116] 223 0.7% 111 112  
 France[117][118][119][120] 93 0.3% 58 35  
 Austria[121][122] 88 0.3% 38 50  
 Sweden[123][124] 36 0.1% 31 5  
 Italy[125][126] 28 0.1% 20 8  
Global sales 31,584 6,457[39] 22,477[37] ~2,650[89]
Note: (1) Percentage of global sales by country, inception through March 2014.

United States[edit]

The first delivery took place on June 1, 2012.[127] Deliveries for retail customers in the United States started on June 22, at a special event held at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California.[7] The first 1,000 production units were Signature and Signature Performance limited editions equipped with an 85 kW·h battery pack. A total of about 2,650 units were sold during 2012 in North America.[89]

Personalized delivery of a Tesla Model S in the U.S.

In March 2013, Tesla reported the delivery of the 3,000th Model S in California, representing around 50% of US sales to that date.[128][129] During the first quarter of 2013 the Model S ranked as the top selling plug-in electric vehicle in the U.S. with about 4,900 units delivered, followed by the Chevrolet Volt with 4,244 units.[94][130][131] According to Edmunds.com, between January and August 2013 the Model S achieved a high market share of new car sales among the U.S. most expensive ZIP codes, as rated by Forbes, led by California. Atherton ranked first with a 15.4% share, followed by Los Altos Hills with 11.9%, and Portola Valley with 11.2%. During this period the Model S had the highest number of new passenger car registrations in 8 of the 25 most expensive American ZIP codes.[132] With 8,347 units sold in 2013, it was the third-best selling luxury car in California (after the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series sedans),[133] with a 9.8% share of the Californian luxury and sports segment.[134] As of November 2013, the Model S was available nationwide with California leading sales with a 48% share of national sales.[135]

American sales totaled about 18,000 units in 2013,[77] placing the Model S as the third selling plug-in electric car after the Chevrolet Volt at 23,094 and the Nissan Leaf at 22,610.[136] Also in 2013, the Model S was the top seller in the full-size luxury sedan category, (ahead of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class at 13,303). During the first quarter of 2014 about 3,300 units were delivered.[97] As of May 2014, around 25,900 units have been delivered in the US.[77][89][137]

Sales model

Tesla Motors has sought to sell its cars directly to consumers without creating a dealer network, as other manufacturers have done and as many states require by legislation. In support of its approach, the company has fought legal and legislative battles in Ohio, New Jersey, New York and other states.[138][139] As of December 2013, Texas law requires Model S buyers to take multiple unusual actions in order to buy and maintain their cars.[140][141] As of August 2013, Tesla-related legislation was pending in North Carolina, Colorado, and Virginia.[140][dated info]

Pricing

In June 2012, the Model S Signature model was priced at US$95,400 and the Signature Performance model at US$105,400.[86] On November 29, 2012, Tesla announced an all model price increase of US$2,500 for new reservations, starting January 1, 2013. The price of a pre-paid 60 kW·h replacement pack was US$10,000, while the 85 kW·h pack was priced at US$12,000, in 2013.[142] As of June 2014, the model with the 60 kW·h pack begins at US$69,900, the base model with the 85 kW·h pack starts at US$79,900, and the P85 performance model at US$93,400. These prices do not reflect U.S. federal and local government tax credits or purchase incentives.[58]

Europe[edit]

The first European deliveries took place at Tesla's store in Oslo in August 2013.

Retail deliveries began in Europe in early August 2013, in Norway, Switzerland and the Netherlands.[96] The Model S ended 2013 as the third-best selling all-electric car in Europe after the Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe, at about 3,900 units.[143][144] About 3,000 were sold in Europe during the first quarter of 2014, ranking second after the Leaf, amounting to a 24% of the region's all-electric market share.[145][146]

Pricing

American and European standard equipment and options packages are the same. European prices are higher, due to exchange rates, the value added tax (VAT), plus transport costs, import duties and other country-specific costs. In most countries where the Model S is sold base prices for the 60 kW·h start at €72,600 (around US$95,800), and €83,150 (about US$109,700) for the 85 kW·h battery car. The 85 kW·h Performance, Signature, and Signature Performance trim levels are listed at €97,550 (around US$128,700), €101,400 (about US$133,800), and €110,950 (around US$146,400) respectively. Tesla offered a deduction of €1,700 (around US$2,250) to buyers who held a reservation by the end of December 2012.[147][148]

Denmark

During its first full month in the Danish market, the Model S was the top selling electric vehicle with 42 units sold.[149] Since August 2013 a total of 112 units were sold in 2013.[116] Cumulative sales reached 270 units in May 2014.[116]

Germany

Model S customers in Germany are offered a free optional high speed tuning for Autobahn driving. The company announced that by November 2013 the first Tesla stations would open between Munich and Stuttgart, Munich and Zurich, Switzerland, and Cologne and Frankfurt. Tesla Motors planned to cover more than 50% of Germany by the end of March 2014, and 100% by the end of 2014. Germany would then have the most Superchargers per capita of any country. German stations would support 135 kW charging.[150] Tesla announced a goal to sell 10,000 Model S in Germany in 2015.[151]

A total of 191 units were registered in the country during 2013.[110][111] Registrations totaled 344 units during the first five months of 2014, for cumulative registrations of 535 units through May 2014.[152]

Netherlands
Tesla Model S charging in Zoutelande, the Netherlands.

The first deliveries in the country occurred on August 22, 2013, at Tesla's European Distribution Center in Tilburg.[29] A total of 1,192 units were sold in 2013.[101] After the end of the registration tax exemption, sales fell significantly, and only 262 units were sold during the first four months of 2014.[153] As of May 2014, the Model S is the top-selling all-electric car in the country with 1,578 units registered, followed by the Nissan Leaf (945 units).[154]

Norway

The first delivery of a Model S in Europe took place in Oslo on 7 August 2013.[155] By the end of August 2013, Europe's first six charging stations were opened, in Lyngdal, Aurland, Dombås, Gol, Sundebru and Lillehammer.[81] That month 186 units were delivered, ranking second among all-electric cars behind the Nissan Leaf (448 units).[156] Sales surged in September totaling 616 units, beating the Leaf and achieving an overall new car market share of 5.1%.[13][14][15]

In 2013 a five-month waiting list emerged creating a used market, with US$10,000 to US$20,000 premiums for a used model.[157][158] Sales dropped to 98 units in October,[159] before jumping back to 527 units in November, ranking it number two in new car registrations after the Volkswagen Golf.[160] In December sales of 553 units made it the top-selling new car again and capturing a 4.9% market share of new car sales.[16] With less than five months of sales, the Model S ranked 20th for the year with a market share of 1.4% of Norwegian new car sales, Tesla's largest in Europe.[161][162]

The Model S topped the monthly sales ranking for a third time in March 2014, with 1,493 units sold, breaking the 28 year-old monthly sales record, surpassing the Ford Sierra, which sold 1,454 units in May 1986.[100][163] Sales totaled 2,056 Model S cars during the first quarter of 2014, making the Model S the best selling new car in Norway during this quarter. The Model S captured a 5.6% market share of new car sales and 38.8% of the new plug-in electric car segment during this quarter.[100][164][165] Since its introduction, a total of 4,581 Model S cars have sold in Norway through May 2014.[98][166]

Switzerland

Retail deliveries began in August 2013,[96] and a total of 213 units were registered in 2013.[113] Cumulative sales reached 404 units through May 2014. Registrations include units sold in Liechtenstein.[167] The Model S is the top best selling plug-in electric car in the country during 2014.[168]

Canada[edit]

A total of 95 Model S were delivered in Canada during 2012,[107] and 638 units in 2013.[108] Cumulative sales reached 962 units up to April 2014.[107][108][109][169]

China[edit]

The first deliveries took place on 22 April 2014.[103] The Model S has the same standard equipment as the continental European version, but was adapted to provide larger back seats because the car was expected to be driven by a chauffeur.[170] Only two versions with an 85 kW·h battery pack will be available in the Chinese market, standard and performance.[171]

Pricing

Pricing starts at CN¥ 734,000 (~US$121,200),[171] similar to the US, adding only taxes and transportation costs. Comparable luxury cars cost more than US$180,000 in the Chinese market.[172][173]

Safety[edit]

NHTSA ratings[edit]

2013 Tesla Model S NHTSA[174]
Overall: 5/5 stars
Frontal Driver: 5/5 stars
Frontal Passenger: 5/5 stars
Side Driver: 5/5 stars
Side Passenger: 5/5 stars
Side Pole Driver: 5/5 stars
Rollover: 5/5 stars / 5.7%

First crash with battery fire[edit]

The first widely reported Model S fire occurred several minutes after the vehicle hit metal debris on the Washington State Route 167 highway in Kent, Washington on October 1, 2013.[175] The driver "was able to exit the highway as instructed by the onboard alert system, bring the car to a stop and depart the vehicle without injury."[176] He then contacted authorities and, while awaiting their arrival, smoke began coming out the front of the vehicle. The driver stated that he hit something while exiting the HOV lane.[175][177][178] Tesla stated that the fire was caused by the "direct impact of a large metallic object to one of the 16 [battery] modules." and that by design, the modules were separated by firewalls, limiting the fire to "a small section in the front of the vehicle".[175]

The module was evidently punctured by a "curved section" that fell off a truck and was recovered near the accident. Tesla stated that the debris punched a 3-inch (76 mm) diameter hole through the .25-inch (6.4 mm) armor plate under the vehicle, applying force of some 25 tons. Built-in vents directed the flames away from the vehicle so that the fire did not enter the passenger compartment. According to Tesla, the firefighters followed standard procedure; using large amounts of water to extinguish the fire was correct,[179] however, puncturing the metal firewall to gain access to the fire also allowed the flames to spread to the front trunk.[176] Tesla also stated that because the battery pack contains "only about 10% of the energy contained in a gasoline tank", the effective combustion potential of a single module is only about 1% that of a conventional vehicle.[176]

Notable subsequent crashes with battery fires[edit]

On November 6 another fire broke out after a Model S struck a tow hitch on the roadway, causing damage beneath the vehicle.[180] The incidents led Tesla to extend its vehicle warranty to cover fire damage and to apply a software update to increase ground clearance when operating at highway speed.[181][182]

Another fire incident took place in Toronto, Canada, in early February 2014. The Model S was parked in a garage and was not charging when the fire started. The origin of the fire is undetermined.[183] According to Tesla “in this particular case, we don’t yet know the precise cause, but have definitively determined that it did not originate in the battery, the charging system, the adapter or the electrical receptacle, as these components were untouched by the fire.”[184]

Starting with vehicle bodies manufactured as of 6 March 2014, all units were outfitted with a triple underbody shield. Existing cars were retrofitted upon request or as part of a normally scheduled service.[185][186]

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration evaluaton[edit]

On October 24, 2013, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced, "After reviewing all available data, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not found evidence at this time that would indicate the recent battery fire involving a Tesla Model S was the result of a vehicle safety defect or noncompliance with federal safety standards."[187] But the following month, the NHTSA opened a preliminary evaluation to determine "the potential risks associated with undercarriage strikes on model year 2013 Tesla Model S vehicles".[182][188] On March 28, 2014, NHTSA closed its investigation, claiming that the new titanium underbody shield and aluminum deflector plates, along with increased ground clearance, “should reduce both the frequency of underbody strikes and the resultant fire risk.”[189]

Recognition[edit]

  • Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year, also a unanimous decision and the first winner in the award's history to not be powered by an internal combustion engine.[192]
  • Green Car Reports' Best Car To Buy 2013[197]
  • 2013 AutoGuide.com Reader's Choice Car of the Year[198]
  • Consumer Reports gave the Model S a score of 99 out of 100, its highest ever. The score would have been higher except that it does need to stop to recharge during long-distance drives. "If it could recharge in any gas station in three minutes, this car would score about 110," said Jake Fisher, head of auto testing for Consumer Reports. Fisher called the car's performance in the magazine's performance tests "off the charts."[200][201]
  • Consumer Reports survey of owner satisfaction produced a score of 99 out of 100, "the highest the magazine has seen in years."[202]
  • Consumer Reports found the Model S to be 'Best Overall’ across all 10 categories of cars, light trucks and SUVs, chosen from more than 260 vehicles the organization has recently tested. The magazine considers the Model S a "technological tour de force, while pricey, is brimming with innovation."[203]

Controversies[edit]

Range limitation[edit]

On 8 February 2013, the The New York Times published a review by John M. Broder about a trip between Washington, D.C. and Boston using Tesla's Supercharger network. At the time it included only two stations on the East Coast. Broder made a variety of critical claims about the battery's performance in cold weather and the distance between charging stations. The trip ended with the Model S carried by a flatbed truck to the Milford, Connecticut station.[204]

Tesla responded by publishing logs of the vehicle's charge levels and driving speed that contradicted Broder's account on several factual details.[205] Tesla implied that Broder's behavior forced the car to fail. Broder replied to the criticism in a blog post and suggested that the speed discrepancies may have been because the car had been equipped with 19 inch wheels rather than the specified 21 inch wheels.[206] In the midst of the controversy, a CNN reporter recreated Broder's trip without exhausting the battery. However, two key differences distinguished the two journeys. The weather was about 10 °F (6 °C) warmer and CNN did the trip in one day; the Times let the car sit overnight without being plugged in.[207] A reporter from CNBC also recreated the trip in one day without incidents.[208] One week later, a group of Tesla owners recreated Broder's trip without problems. One owner was delayed because his car failed to charge and required two firmware updates.[209][210]

On February 18, 2013, New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan published an editorial stating that Broder took "casual and imprecise notes" of his test drive and did not use good judgment, but she maintained that the article was done in good faith. She also claimed that Broder's vehicle logs were "sometimes quite misleading."[211][212][213]

NHTSA safest car[edit]

On August 19, 2013, based on NHTSA safety ratings, a Tesla press release claimed that the Model S had achieved the best safety rating of any car ever tested. Tesla stated, "NHTSA does not publish a star rating above 5, however safety levels better than 5 stars are captured in the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) provided to manufacturers, where the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars."[214][215][216][217][218] However, a few days later NHTSA rebutted Tesla's claim, explaining that the rating for the Model S was equal to any other car receiving 5-stars, and claiming that the carmaker did not follow its advertising guidelines.[219][220][221]

Power dissipation when not in use[edit]

System software v5.8 reduced overnight power loss substantially, to 1.1 kW·h per night, or around 3 miles.[222] In January 2014, Bjorn Nyland, a Model S owner in Norway, recorded a range loss of approximately 20% during a 27-day extended vacation, an indicated range loss of 63 miles (101 km), or 2.3 miles (3.7 km) per day, while stored in frigid temperatures.[223]

See also[edit]

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