Tesla Model S at Newport Fashion Island

Fashion Island is a premier retail mall located in the hills above Newport Beach. Known for high-end stores catering to wealthy locals, it is not surprising to see cars with six-figure pricetags displayed in some of the outdoor open areas. What is surprising is the very flashy Tesla indoor showroom occupying a prime corner location, displaying their incredible Roadster and the intriguing Model S. The Tesla staff was very knowledgeable, and graciously allowed me to take photos for this post.

Tesla Fashion Island, Newport Beach, California USA
Tesla Fashion Island, Newport Beach, California USA


For the uninitiated, Tesla is an automobile company started by Uber-entrepreneur Elon Musk, the founder of Paypal, Tesla, and SpaceX (whose endeavors I have discussed here). Tesla cars are not only beautiful to look at, but are completely electric, with batteries that can be charged from a standard electrical outlet. For most LA residents, who care about the environment and want to have a greener footprint, these are very desirable zero emissions vehicles.

Tesla's first model, the Roadster, is sold out. That's what the Tesla staff told me: every car that is planned for production through 2013 has been spoken for with buyers who have already paid substantial deposits. The roadster without frills retails for $110,000.

Tesla Roadster 2.5
Tesla Roadster 2.5

For car afficionados, the Tesla Roadster accelerates from 0-60mph in a mere 3.7 seconds. There are no gears to shift, no loud exhaust notes, and a top speed of 125mph. What this means is that this car can accelerate like the Aerosmith Rock n' Roll coaster at Disney World! Loosely based on the Lotus Elise, this must be an amazingly fun car to drive.

What does Tesla have in store for the rest of us?  There is the upcoming 2012 Tesla Model S, a very sporty-looking sedan. With a federal tax credit of $7500 for electric vehicles, this car is a mere $49,000. With gas prices in Los Angeles zooming up every year, I think I could be spending a conservative average of $8000 per year on gasoline for the next 5 years. Compared with other cars, that makes the price of a Tesla Model S a mere $9000 compared to its gas-powered competitors.

Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
The Tesla S model is head-turning for its uncommon good looks, but also its performance: it blazes to 60mph in 4.4 seconds if you spend $30,000 for the high-output battery, which will also provide a range of 300 miles. How quickly does the battery charge? According to Tesla, you can recover 60 miles' worth of charge (20% of the battery) every hour. The dashboard and controls are completely ultra-modern LCD touchscreens.

The chassis of the Model S looks deceptively simple, and allows for both forward and rear trunk space. It is incredibly well-balanced with a 50-50 weight distribution between the front and rear axles, which means that it will handle like a sports car. The battery forms the underbelly of the car, and the electric motor is the cylindrical object near the rear.

Tesla Model S Chassis and Battery
Tesla Model S Chassis and Battery
For me, this car seems like a bargain. If I were in the market for a unique luxury sedan, the Tesla Model S would be in serious contention. The performance numbers are off the charts, and it redefines the concept of a green automobile with its green emissions. Plus, I would save SO much money by not having to pay at the pump. Do you agree that this company has a bright future?

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