Tesla's new base Model S costs more, but adds features and power
By Paul Lienert
DETROIT (Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O: Quote) began taking orders on Wednesday for a new base version of its Model S electric sedan that is $5,000 more expensive than its predecessor, but offers better performance, longer range and more features, including all-wheel drive.
The Model S 70D is priced from $76,070 and will begin shipping to customers in late May.
The 70D is so named because it has a 70kWh battery pack and dual electric motors rated at a combined 514 horsepower. Driving range between charges is 240 miles.
All are improvements over the outgoing Model S 60, which was priced from $71,070 and was equipped with a single 380hp electric motor and a 60kWh battery pack with a range of 208 miles.
The Model S 70D gets "a slight price increase, but it's a huge value increase," Tesla's chief executive, Elon Musk, said in an interview. "Customers wanted something that had more range and they really wanted all-wheel drive."
Demand for the two single-motor cars - the Model S 60 and the $81,070 Model S 80 - has declined since Tesla last year introduced the dual-motor 85D and its high-performance sibling, the P85D, whose sticker price starts at $105,670 and ranges up to $135,000.
Musk said fewer than 10 percent of Tesla buyers opted for the rear-wheel-drive Model S 60. For now, the company will continue selling the single-engine Model S 80, even though the lower-priced 70D has more power, quicker acceleration and a higher top speed.
"But we think that all-wheel drive is what most customers want so that's our focus," Musk said. Continued...