Poll: Tesla Model S Buyers Willing To Spend Big for Extra Range

By · January 13, 2012

Tesla Model S and Tesla Roadster

Tesla sets a new trend by offering its Model S with varying degrees of range. Meanwhile, "encore" versions of the Tesla Roadster will be offered with new features.

According to a poll of potential buyers at TeslaMotorsClub.com, more than 51 percent will opt for the performance version of the 2012 Tesla Model S with an 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack. This version boasts a driving range of 300 miles, and can carry a price tag exceeding $92,000. In contrast, only 16 percent would opt for the least expensive 40-kWh version of the Model S. When equipped with the 40-kWh battery pack, the Model S's range dips to 160 miles. What about the middle ground? Nearly 20 percent of potential Model S buyers would opt for the mid-level, 60-kWh version of Tesla's electric sedan.

Base pricing for the Model S depends on range, with the 160-mile (40-kWh) Model S starting at $57,400; the 230-mile (60-kWh) version coming in at $67,400; and the 300-mile (85-kWh) electric sedan starting at $77,400. Then, there's the Model S Performance version—which features an 85-kWh lithium-ion battery and rips from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds and comes equipped with $5,000 in additional standard equipment. The Model S Performance version starts at $92,400. All prices exclude the federal government's $7,500 tax credit.

Performance specs also vary. For example, the 40-kWh Model S scoots from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and hits a top speed of 110 mph, whereas the 85-kWh Model S (non-Performance version) moves from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and hits a top speed of 125 mph.

The results of this informal poll seem to indicate that most potential buyers are willing to shell out additional cash for a bump in range and performance. By offering customers the option of multiple pack sizes—giving the chance to buy more driving range—Tesla is once again establishing its role as an EV innovator. Earlier this week, Coda announced that its electric sedan would be available at a lower price, but with less range. We expect other electric car companies to make their EVs available in a range of driving ranges.

More Tesla News: Roadster Updates

Tesla announced this week that it will update its iconic Roadster for 2012—as the limited-production electric sports car enters its final year of availability. The 2012 Roadster—only available in Europe, Asia and Australia—features these updates:

  • Exclusive encore colors - Cosmic Black, Galactic Gray and Magma Orange
  • A rear snow cover and improved motor and inverter systems for even better performance in snow and ice
  • Improved air conditioning for driver comfort in the hottest months
  • Xenon headlamps
  • Enhanced front windscreen seals to make the cabin even quieter
  • Two Mobile Connectors available for charging in Europe and Japan; the Tesla IEC Type 2 (Mennekes) Mobile Connector and the J1772 Mobile Connector, which enables the Roadster to charge at public stations in Europe and Japan

"The Tesla Roadster is the first and only of its kind, an electric sports car with exhilarating performance, zero emissions and gorgeous looks,” said Ricardo Reyes, Tesla vice-president of communications. “This latest version embodies Tesla's commitment to constant improvement. These Roadsters are our best ever." More than 2,100 Roadsters are on the road, with owners in 31 countries logging 18-plus million electric miles.

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