You can feel the anticipation around automaker Tesla as it rolls out its first completely in-house-designed car, the 2013 Model S. The automaker had ambitious plans to get the car on the road by June 22—tomorrow—come hell, high water, or not even having the dies available to make the car’s body panels.
To get the Tesla Model S approved for sale, it had to be crash-tested—company founder Elon Musk says it has earned five stars despite the lack of an official statement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—and it had to have its mileage certified by the EPA.
This week, the EPA announced the 2013 Tesla Model S will have fuel economy rating of 88 mpg-e in the city and 90 mpg-e on the highway, combining for 89 mpg-e. The top-range 85-kilowatt-hour model will boast a range of 265 miles to a charge. Those numbers bode well for the automaker, as it has finally overcome the limited driving range problem often associated with electric cars.
What that means in the real world is that according to national electricity price averages, it will cost just $1.14 to travel 25 miles in the Model S.
While it certainly has the range of most any other electric car topped, the Tesla Model S falls short of the cheaper Chevrolet Volt (94 mpg-e), Nissan Leaf (99 mpg-e), and Ford Focus Electric (105 mpg-e) for general cost of ownership. Tesla promises a sportier, more luxurious driving experience akin to that of a BMW 5 Series with Porsche 911-shaming acceleration, but it hasn’t let anyone take the new sedan on an extended test drive yet to evaluate the validity of those claims.
The 2013 Tesla model S will come in three battery sizes—40-, 60-, and 85-kilowatt-hours—starting at $57,400, not including destination and handling or the available $7,500 government tax credit available. After all options, it will tip just north of $100,000.
When those cars become available, we’ll let you know how they stack up in the real world.
By Jacob Brown