2012 Tesla S

2012 Tesla S Credit: Tesla Motors

We haven't heard much from Tesla Motors since its successful initial public offering last summer. The electric car company has gone quiet, focusing on its Model S sedan. According to recent comments from CEO and co-founder Elon Musk, retail production for the EV is set to begin within the next year and a half.

Deliveries should begin in mid-2012, Musk said, with the previously stated target base price of $57,400 ($49,900 with tax credits) for a Model S with a 160-mile range. A battery pack with a range of 230 miles will cost about $67,000, and a 300-mile option will top out at $77,000. If the figures stay put, the Model S will be a competitively priced full-size luxury sedan. It's slightly larger than the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6, according to Tesla.

The first 1,000 Model S vehicles will be dubbed the Signature Series. Those vehicles will have the 300-mile-range batteries, which means they'll cost nearly $80,000 or possibly more. You can reserve a Model S now for $5,000 or $40,000 for the Signature trim. The reservation payment is fully refundable if you change your mind.

If you reserve a Model S, Tesla will contact you three months before production of your vehicle to select options. Production-intent Beta models will go into production in late 2011. Buyers who reserve the model will be able to test drive the EV in early 2012.

For 2012, Tesla plans to build 5,000 to 7,000 Model S vehicles, stepping up production to 20,000 annually thereafter.

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