Tesla’s Model S Betas revealed [photos, video]

Customer rides of the Model S Beta

Customer rides of the Model S Beta

Electric car maker Tesla Motors took the wraps off of its electric Model S sedan Betas at a customer event this weekend, allowing interested customers the opportunity to participate in short drives of three of the company’s Model S beta cars. Beta cars are essentially a fully-completed car before the car goes into final production, and you can see the differences in styling between Tesla’s alpha Model S cars (photos here), and this close-to-commercial beta.

Tesla’s VP of Worldwide Sales and Experience, George Blankenship, told me that close to 3,000 people attended the Model S Customer event on Saturday night at Tesla’s Fremont plant, and the event included tours of the factory, food and drinks, and the opportunity to buy more Tesla merch like t-shirts. As you can see from my photos, at least a dozen customers that already own Tesla’s first car the Roadster, attended and lined up their Roadsters outside of the event. I also saw two Nissan electric LEAFs, and a lot of really high-end cars in the parking lot.

The Tesla’s Model S is supposed to be available to the public in mid-2012 and will cost $57,400 (or $49,900 after the U.S. federal tax credit) for the 160-mile version. The 230-mile Model S starts at about $10,000 higher and the 300-mile Model S starts at about $20,000 higher than the base. Tesla says it has 6,000 reservations for the car.

Here’s a video I took of one of the test rides (It was just with my cell phone video, so excuse the shaky hand. We’ll have more detailed videos coming up):

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n_Z1dBPN64]

Here’s my photos of the event:

 
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