Upstart electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors says it is still on track for a mid-2012 retail launch of its Model S sedan. The zero emissions sports sedan will be produced at the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) production facility Tesla acquired from Toyota.
Speaking at the company’s annual shareholders meeting, Tesla head Elon Musk confirmed the Model S was still on pace for a mid-2012 market launch. Musk added that initial production of the Model S would begin during the third quarter of this year. Tesla has already received 4 600 orders for the all-electric four-door, which should account for all of 2012’s production. Tesla will add a crossover to the mix, called the Model X, later in 2013.
Although initial production will be limited, Tesla expects to sell 20 000 units of the Model S and Model X annually in just a few short years. Tesla has even bigger plans for the former NUMMI plant, with Musk planning to fully utilize the plant’s 500 000 unit capacity in the long-term.
In order to reach that production level, however, Americans will have to embrace limited range EVs, which is currently the technology’s biggest stumbling point and which Musk plans to address with company-funded charging stations. Thanks to a 480-kilometer range, Musk says a Tesla can get across the country with just 13 charging stations, which would cost about US$25 000 each. Add another eight to ten on both coasts and Musk says “for a couple million dollars you have covered the country.”