Published August 23, 2012
By Jeff Cobb
Is this, as Tesla says barring none, the best sedan in the world?
Although Tesla Motors does not officially release monthly sales numbers, the company has been giving regular progress updates just the same.
It has now announced crossing the 100-unit production threshold, said Canadian deliveries are on the radar, and posted a few videos, including one verifying Model S quickness, handling and braking, and more videos sent in by fans.
On Tuesday this week, George Blankenship, vice president, Worldwide Sales and Ownership Experience, said 74 of 100 Model S cars produced so far are for customer deliveries.
Tesla has maintained it will build 5,000 by the end of this calendar year, but has been deliberate and careful in its first units, and production this quarter will reportedly be only 500.
Its assembly line will have to accelerate as surprisingly quickly as the cars it is producing to maintain the confidence among some watchers and investors.
As announced Wednesday Aug. 15, the base 40 kwh Model S starts at $64,500 Canadian dollars (CAD) before provincial tax rebates, as may be available. The 60-kwh Model S model will start at $75,200 and the 85-kwh model will start at $85,900 CAD.
Blankenship further addressed this week questions he'd received about surcharges on Canadian pricing by clarifying the fact that the North American content of the Model S “falls slightly below” a minimum required percentage to go to Canada duty free.
“Pricing in foreign markets can be very complex, so we have taken a very straightforward, transparent approach to pricing Model S,” Blankenship had initially said last week. “Canadian base prices start with U.S. pricing, plus 6.1 percent for import duties and an additional 1.5 to 2 percent, depending upon the model, for incremental transportation costs and country specific business expenses. The total is then adjusted using the current mid-term currency exchange rate.”
Tesla also released a video from Edmunds whose editors were given a day to confirm Model S acceleration and handling claims.
Even with ballast in the form of extra equipment including rear-facing seats, second on-board charger, and premium sound system, the car beat Tesla’s claims much to the start-up's credit.
Zero-to-60 mph was measured in 4.3 seconds – beating Tesla’s 4.5-second claim – and the quarter mile was run in 12.6 seconds at 108.3 mph. Braking was measured from 60 to 0 mph in 108 feet. Handling was described as firm at the beginning, getting a bit sift deeper into the suspension travel, but in control.
Edmunds said it looks forward to a longer term test, as have others, but commended Tesla for what has initially presented itself as a well-executed first sedan.
And aside from more demanding reviewers, Tesla continues to inspire fans who have sent it their own videos from good to near professional to an adoringly put together spoof by serious Tesla fans who no doubt anticipate upgrading from their '84 Honda Civic to CDN Model S #111.
Linked here is one video by Signature reservation holder 001 that Tesla passed along, and below are one we've seen, and the copycat version put together kind of as a lighthearted parody with the Civic.
Naturally, you can decide how you like them, but these are more indicators of how deeply Tesla has affected its fan base is in some respects. Tesla stands for a new U.S. electric car company, and no doubt some fans are already convinced, and rooting for its ultimate success.
Others Tesla fans have shared a broader sentiment saying such things as they are watching history in the making. To be sure, Tesla presents an optimistic paradigm-altering story this country could surely benefit from as long as it indeed comes fully true in years to come.
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