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Tesla Model S Tears Up Electric Performance Vehicle Market

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Trading performance for economy is a thing of the past, thanks to Tesla's (NASDAQ: TSLA) Model S, which possesses Lamborghini-like performance starting at mid-size luxury sedan prices.

The Wall Street Journal reported that stupidity can be hidden while enjoying the immensely powerful 416 horsepower AC synchronous electric motor with 443 pound-feet of torque (on Performance models), because the car won't make a peep aside from screeching tires.

0-to-60 times for the 85 kW-h battery models run below four and a half seconds and about 12.5 seconds for a quarter mile. Center of gravity is said to be on point with the "Ferrari-killing" Ford GT, showing that despite the concentrated mass of low-slung, coffee-table sized battery packs, performance need not be sacrificed for the sake of running on a rechargeable source.

Pricing for the base Model S starts around $49,900 (after $7,500 in federal EV tax credits) with the 40 kW-h battery pack, $59,900 for the 60 kW-h battery and $69,900 for the 85 kW-h. Performance Model S starts at $84,900 with upgrades to the interior, suspension and wheels. The Signature Model S ranges from $87,900 to $97,900, with a high capacity drive inverter and twin 10-kilowatt-hour charging inverters for rapid four hour recharging.

Maxing out at 4,647 pounds, the Model S gets the equivalent of 89 miles per gallon with a driving range of 265 miles, making it the greatest range available in the electric vehicle market. The base Model S (40- and 60-kW-h battery models) has a range of 160 miles. Smaller battery pack models are slated for the fourth-quarter of 2012, while the first civilian 85 kW-h model order was expected to be delivered June 22, 2012.

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