Tesla says it will raise Model S prices, but won’t say how much

Tesla Model S sedanHaving just won Automobile Magazine’s Automobile of the Year and Motor Trend’s Car of the Year awards, Tesla couldn’t have picked a better time for a Model S price hike. The company recently confirmed that it will be raising the price of its all-electric luxury sedan, but did not say how much sticker shock buyers should expect.

Tesla said specifics will be released within two to three weeks, and that the changes would also affect option packages. Some items that are currently standard on the Model S will become extra cost options, the company said.

The increase in price will not affect customers who have already ordered a Model S, although Tesla says they will need to finalize their orders (i.e., choose paint and options) within a specified timeframe. Tesla will also give customers who deferred their orders a chance to pay the current price before the to-be-determined deadline.

As it stands now, a base Model S with a 40-kWh battery pack and 160-mile range costs $57,400. Buyers can opt for a 60-kWh battery, which increases range to 230 miles, for $67,400, and an 85-kWh model with a 265-mile range starts at $77,400.

On top of the biggest batter, buyers can order a Performance package that lowers the Model S’ 0 to 60 mph time from 5.6 seconds to 4.4 seconds. A fully loaded Model S Signature Performance currently stickers for $105,400. All models are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Tesla has at least 12,000 names on its waiting list, although only a handful of cars have been delivered so far. It hopes to sell 20,000 cars in 2013.

Although Model S buyers are getting a lot for their money, raising the price seems like an odd way to increase sales. Tesla did not say why it is doing so, but it may be in response to unexpected demand, which would give Tesla an opportunity to increase its profits, or a desire to increase profits regardless of whether more people are signing up for its EVs.

It’s hard to know exactly what is going through Elon Musk’s mind, we will know the specifics of the Model S’ revised pricing in a few weeks.