2013 Tesla Model S Overview

Justin Cupler
Automotive Editor - March 1, 2013

When Tesla's Model S debuted in 2012, it was what every electric car strives to be: performance-oriented, stylish and with a massive range that allowed customers to use it as a daily driver.

Coming into 2013, Tesla had some bad news: a $5,000 price hike. Fortunately, though, the Model S still seems like a relative bargain when compared to a variety of competitors.

The 2013 Tesla Model S comes in two variants—Base and Performance—and offers several drivetrain options within those trim levels. The Base model starts out with a 40 kWh battery system and an electric drive system that pumps out 235 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. This standard setup allows up to 160 miles of range with a full charge, a 6.5-second sprint to 60 mph and a 110 mph top speed.

The 60 kWh battery system has an expanded range of up to 230 miles—the EPA certifies 208 miles—and produces 302 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. So equipped, the Model S hits 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and has a top speed of 120 mph.

The top Base configuration uses a 85 kWh system with up to 300 miles of range—or an EPA-certified 265 miles—while producing 362 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of twist. This enables the Model S to reach 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, and to go on to a 125 mph top speed.

When you jump up to the Performance trim, you get an 85 kWh system with a 300-mile maximum range, 416 horsepower, 443 pound-feet of torque and a 4.4-second dash to 60 mph. Top speed rises to 130 mph.

Sexy and efficient, the Tesla Model S has a price that puts it out of reach for many middle class buyers, even with tax credits. There have also been mixed reviews regarding the claimed range of each model, but Tesla has steadily argued that these claims are untrue.

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