Blog: Dave LeggettTesla's second model

Dave Leggett | 27 March 2009

Tesla has released some pictures and a few more details about its second model-line - the Model S sedan. It certainly sounds quite tantalising and looks the part. There are some interesting claims and design details, too. The easy battery pack swap is something that might reassure some customers new to EVs. And a 300 mile range on a full charge is going some on a car of this size an.

There is one rather pressing fly in the ointment: funding. Tesla has spent quite a bit on developing the car. But putting it into production will cost a whole lot more - hundreds of millions of dollars - and rasing finance is certainly no cake walk. In fact, Tesla is still awaiting US federal funds.

I'm sure Tesla people have experienced a steep learning curve with the Roadster in terms of what needs to be done to put a car - and especially one with new technology - into production. And that will undoubtedly stand Tesla in good stead with the S.

But, if anything, the bar just gets raised much higher with the Model S. It will be very hard work ahead to deliver on a car like that which is aimed at a much bigger market. Technical problems (eg like the transmission issues - in development - on the Roadster) that cause delays will be less easily forgiven by potential customers who are less driven by the fervour, passion and excitement factor that governed the Roadster sign-ups.

Model S orders will be more mainstream and potential customers will be comparing the Model S with other non-EV saloons on the market and in the same price bracket. There's no room for sliding on the claimed performance metrics or indeed bad press of any sort. 

And for all the faith Elon Musk has in the car, it is by no means a sure bet that it will make it into production. Good luck to Tesla though.

US: Wraps come off Tesla's Model S


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