Tesla’s Next Electric Car: A Four-Door Sedan

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Silicon Valley automotive company Tesla Motors has been making a name for itself with the Tesla Roadster which essentially takes the basic chassis, dashboard, and front wishbone from a Lotus Elise and wraps it around a high-performance, battery-powered electric car. And the Roadster does perform as befits a car that looks like a Lotus Elise: it’ll rev up to 14,000 rpm and push from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds. And it runs on the same battery technology that powers notebook computers: it might take 16 hours to charge, but drivers can get up to 244 miles out of a single charge. And because Tesla is located in Silicon Valley—and is effect

Of course, snazzy as the Roadster is, it’s not exactly family friendly. To that end, Tesla ha unveiled its next vehicle: the Model S, a four-door sedan. Tesla promises the Model S will feature a range of up to 300 miles on a single charge, a QuickCharge feature that can get the car up and running again in as little as 45 minutes, and the car will still pack a punch, going from 0 to 60 in about 5.6 seconds. But unlike the Roadster, the Model S will be able to seat up to seven people (with side-facing seats in the rear), will feature more cargo space than many station wagons, and sport a 17-inch “infotainment system” built right into the dash.

Tesla is taking “reservations” for the Model S now, and says it plans to build the cars in southern California, although they haven’t announced a facility yet. Model S pricing will start at $49,900, after a $7,500 federal tax credit…and Tesla plans to start getting them into customers’ hands in 2011, with manufacturing fully ramping up in 2012.