Tesla's much awaited Model S will finally hit showrooms in mid-2012 and the first production version of the all-electric car will be the high-end Signature series, priced at $77,400. The Model S Signature will have a driving range of 300 miles, the company said.
The base version of the Model S, with a driving range of 160 miles, will cost about $57400 and the company will also market a mid-level edition, with a range of 230 miles and a price tag of around $67,400. All prices, though, are before any federal, state or local tax credits are applied.
The cheaper models, however, won't be available until later in 2012.
Only about 5,000 will be produced in 2012, though that number is expected to rise to about 20,000 by 2013. Debunking any myths that electric cars are slow and can't compete with their gasoline-powered counterparts, the Model S will go from zero to 60 miles per hour in about 5.6 seconds and has a top speed of about 125 miles per hour.
The car is large enough to seat around seven people, and rumor has it that we will soon see a crossover sedan -- the Model X -- based on the Model S platform.
Currently, Tesla's only available car, the Roadster, which has been in the market since early 2008, costs about $109,000 before tax credits, though the car is about to go out of production by the end of the year. Tesla is pinning much of its future successes based on the Model S.
The Model S will be charge overnight from a 220-volt outlet, or in about 45 minutes from a commercial fast-charging station.
Car manufacturers across the board are launching electric vehicles on a monthly basis and the Model S will have its competition cut out for it. However, with a significantly higher range than the 87-mile Nissan LEAF, Tesla's Model S knows that it's got a huge advantage.