Tesla Model S Alpha build

Tesla Model S Alpha build

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Finally, after several years of teaser images, videos, clips, auto show appearances and more, there are finally production examples of the 2012 Tesla Model S driving around on the streets

Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] has been working tirelessly to put the Model S on the market, and CEO Elon Musk even won his $1,000 bet with journalist Dan Neil for keeping promises he made about the car way back in 2009–impressive, given the struggles young companies normally face.

But what lies beneath the Silicon Valley hype? What is the Model S like to drive, what goes on behind the scenes and what can you do to buy one?

Before you get any further, read our first drive review of the 2012 Tesla Model S, and then check out our brief drive video. Were we glad to finally get behind the wheel? You bet.

 

The basics

If you’ve been following Tesla’s progress as closely as we have here at GreenCarReports, you’ll be able to relay Model S details without a moment’s thought.

That includes details like its EPA-rated 89 MPGe efficiency and 265-mile range (with the largest battery), with a projected range of up to 300 miles on the highway. Elon is even thinking up a prize for the first verified 400-mile run on one charge. When you’re not conserving range, a 0-60mph run of under 4.5 seconds is for the taking.

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2012 Tesla Model S display screen [Photo: Flickr user jurvetson]

2012 Tesla Model S display screen [Photo: Flickr user jurvetson]

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The technology 

This is a car that’s selling on the back of its technology. The whole car is something of a gadget, but with a crystal-clear display screen in the center of the car and support for third-party apps, the spec list reads like a wheeled iPod. Even the manufacturing process is suitably advanced.

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2012 Tesla Model S body-in-white

2012 Tesla Model S body-in-white

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The history

We’ve been running stories on the Model S since 2008, and each new morsel of information has whetted our appetite for more. Here, you can read about Tesla’s $42 million investment in its Fremont plant, information from the first running of its Model S Alpha prototype, and catch Toyota CEO and gearhead Akio Toyoda checking out the Model S at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show.

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Buying a Model S

Some buyers are lucky enough to already have their Model S, but for those that don’t, there’s plenty of information available. Some buyers are still waiting on their cars, but already finding out little things they’d change. Others are listing plenty of things they love about their new Model S.

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2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

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Social media and marketing

While much of the goings-on inside Tesla have been kept relatively quiet, the Model S has still been on the news on occasion, with everything from appearances on Letterman to in-house videos of the sleek sedan and its sports car parent ripping up the asphalt.

Of course, Mr Musk has kept himself in the news too. Are predictions like “half of all new cars will be electric in 15-20 years” clever pieces of marketing by the Tesla CEO? Perhaps, but after Dan Neil lost that $1,000 bet, we’re not willing to do likewise with Mr Musk…

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By Antony Ingram