Tesla begins selling lower-priced versions of Model S

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Tesla Motors Inc. on Thursday started selling a new entry-level version of its Model S sedan that is $5,500 less than the model it’s replacing.

The new version, called the Model S 60, starts at $66,000. An all-wheel drive version will start at $71,000. The Model S 70, which the S 60 replaces, started at $71,500. Prices are before federal and state tax incentives offered for electric vehicles.

The model numbers at the end of each version of the car refer to the battery’s kilowatts. Tesla previously offered the 60 kWh at $69,900 but it was discontinued in early 2015.

Tesla said the decision to offer the Model S 60 was a result of customers being interested in the Model S, but couldn’t necessarily afford it at the previous price.

Tesla will offer a 75 kWh over-the-air upgrade for the Model S 60 that increases range by about 19 percent for $9,000. It can do this because the Model S 60 is uses a 75 kWh battery pack. The choice “gives customers more flexibility and cost savings,” the company said.

The Model S 60 can travel 200 miles on a charge and has a top speed of 130 mph, according to the Palo Alto, California-based electric car manufacturer’s website. It’s 0-60 mph is 5.5 seconds.

The company will continue to offer its Model S 90 that starts at $89,500. A performance variant also is available.

Tesla’s three battery options are 60 kWh, 75 kWh and 90 kWh.

Matt DeLorenzo, managing editor of Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com, said it will be interesting to see how many customers buy the new Model S 60 compared to its more expensive sibling.

“Once that market has been satisfied, it’s time to move down market to push up volumes,” he said. “Tesla did have the lower-priced models at the beginning, but demand was so high they naturally preferred to sell a premium model over a standard model, and eventually just dropped the lower-priced model.”

The Model 60 comes months after the company introduced the $35,000 Model 3, which is expected to go on sale by the end of next year.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

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