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Tesla’s Model S electric car is finally here

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Customer rides of the Model S Beta

Tesla Motors (s TSLA) investor, and DBL Investor Partner, Nancy Pfund has been waiting about three years to get her Model S electric sedan. Her model is one of the elite Signature series, with a unique red paint job, and the largest battery range available at 300 miles. Pfund is one of a group of customers that will receive their Model S cars during a big media event at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. on Friday.

Pfund and her firm backed Tesla back in 2006 and has seen the company’s ups and downs over the past six years. So it’s pretty exciting for her that the cars are finally here and are reaching customers. She plans to drive her Model S off the factory floor for the first time on Friday, and potentially up North to the Napa Valley area with her family. “It’s amazing how Tesla has really captured the imagination,” says Pfund in an interview in her San Francisco office this week.

The Model S is a crucial car for Tesla. It represents the company’s chance at profitability as well as its goal to be a more mainstream auto maker.

The basic Model S costs $50,000 (after federal tax incentives) and has a 160 mile range, while the higher-end Model S can cost $100,000 for a close to 300 mile range. Tesla plans to ship 5,000 Model S cars this year and 20,000 in 2013, and the company has 10,000 reservations for it. Just 8,000 Model S cars sold by 2013, could lead to the company turning a profit for the first time.

As an investor, Pfund wanted to support Tesla early on and was interested in buying Tesla’s first car the Roadster. However, Pfund says her husband is 6 foot 7 and just didn’t fit comfortably in the Roadster, and in addition, she says the $100,000 sports car just wasn’t practical for her family and two children.

But Pfund knew she wanted to put a reservation down for one of the first Model S cars early on. She tells me: the Model S is “a pivotal icon,” for the electric car industry.

If you’re interested to know peoples’ impressions of the Model S, Tesla and electric cars in general, check out our GigaOM Pro research report (subscription required), including results from a survey of GigaOM readers.

5 Responses to “Tesla’s Model S electric car is finally here”

  1. TehGoldenRule

    It’s funny how they have different models with battery life being a big selling point for the higher priced models. Reminds me of the current state of computing. What if electric vehicles and innovation in them took off like smartphones or innovation in computers? Everyone had them and you started seeing all different kinds of makers. People who like technology should commit to electric cars as the way of the future and purchase one. Jobs will be created everywhere like they are in Fremont. Profitable and not-for-profit green electrical energy generation, the batteries they charge, and the devices they power should progress just the same. Grow organic food. Get the best LEARNING MATERIAL for our schools, LEARNING MATERIAL that is powerful enough to withstand possibly having a shitty teacher. Protect our own borders, secure our own ports and cargo, and bring the military home from everywhere overseas. Have them defend our borders and secure our ports. Know what foreigners are here and stop SPYING on Americans. Have the Golden Rule as our foreign policy and stop playing the servant game from the warring earth devastating last millenia and start being smarter than this dumb shit we’re doing now. Go from being a corrupt country to having representatives with nothing but honor and work to do, having been elected in a factual and respectful way.

    That is what electric cars mean to me. Moving toward a future where technology, living in peace, doing right by others, and treating nature with respect and care are ubiquitous. Where people are decent and hardworking and cared for those who needed it. It’s funny how a few major shifts could produce major paradigm changes to our whole outlook and sense of what’s messed up in the world. Life wouldn’t suck so much. Apathy would lessen.

    • Steve K

      You get all this from a story about an early adopter VC getting a photo op delivery? This is business people leveraging their position to pimp up their investments. I’m all for more efficient transportation and electric vehicles have the potential to improve short haul people movement and reduce air pollution in the valley. But this is still in the infancy stages. And it won’t grow past that unless it can be framed such that a lot of situationally ethical business people see a profit in it. Which sort of runs counter to your Utopian ideals, but is a hump that has to be gotten over before that sort of progress can be made. The “gotta get all I can, while I can” types need to feel like they won’t be left stranded or behind before they can relax and let things settle down. It’s a small step, and I’m glad Katie has been pushing the positive. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.