Revealing Model S Beta

Tesla recently unveiled the Model S Beta and opened the Tesla Factory to about 3,000 reservation holders and guests. Closely approximating the fit, finish and performance of the production Model S coming out next year, the Betas showed off the vehicle’s special features, from the 17” touchscreen to the massive panoramic roof to the voice-command audio system and more. 

Co-Founder and CEO Elon Musk debuted the Beta vehicle to the world on October 1, driving on stage with a car packed with passengers, including the child seats and an extra surprise. He also announced that a performance-tuned Model S will launch at the start of production, traveling from 0 to 60 mph in an incredible 4.5 seconds. With Aero wheels, Model S will be able to travel up to 320 miles.

Enthusiastic customers got to experience their future car for the first time and were thrilled by the acceleration, handling (through a slalom and around curves), and premium interior. The factory was in full swing, with press, welding and final assembly robots demonstration what full-scale production will look like.

Watch Elon's full presentation of the Model S Beta vehicle below, and check out first ride responses from reservation holders.

Beta Reveal Pt. 1: Intro & Safety

Beta Reveal Pt. 2: Performance

Beta Reveal Pt. 3: Interior & Touchscreen

Customer First Ride Responses




Model S Beta in the News

"The car's acceleration -- claimed to be 5.6 seconds to 60 mph -- is a continuous press-the-seat-back surge that only a single-speed, big electric motor can provide."

-- Motor Trend, First Ride: 2012 Tesla Model S

‎"Tesla claims the Model S achieves zero-to-60 mph acceleration in 5.6 seconds. On the banked track, it quickly reached 105 mph and did so quietly, due to the electric drivetrain that produces a fraction of the vibration of a gasoline- or diesel-powered engine."

-- Edmunds AutoObserver, Tesla Wows with Model S Rides, Factory Tour

"We haven't felt a ride this smooth since driving the Rolls Royce Ghost, a car that starts at nearly $250,000."

-- AOL Translogic, Exclusive: First Ride in the Tesla Model S


Event Photos

Post-ride Tesla grin.


Tesla Factory dressed up for the Beta Reveal.


Banana Leaf interior and touchscreen.


Signature Red Model S Beta.


Shasta Pearl White Model S Beta.


Rear-facing child seats in the back.

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Ten Miles Is a Long, Long Way!

Vision and Innovation was the cornerstone of "anything Tesla." Nikola Tesla had vision of solar energy possibilities and the power of the sea. Tesla prognostications also had firm foundations in interplanetary communications and satellites. Not bad for a hundred year old scratchpad, huh?

Well, car manufacturing is slippery, as people always hang their hats on the pluses and minuses of it all (tastes great, less filling).

HOWEVER, just include the option to get nice reds, etc. and all classy upgrades as "extra options" so that a $55k consideration doesn't become a $95k offering!

Tesla Motors enjoys a few pluses with the sophisticated power plant innovations that provide the joy of "plenty of power" without the "choke of the smoke" (near zero emissions). The bonus is its "adaptive platform" capable of delivering that kind of performance with ease of (or at least quick) refinement and reproduction, making it a "quick to market" darling. More than 200 patents await approval, to join the ranks of the near fifty (maybe more) already issued.

Another plus that helps to curb costs, I noticed the Tesla Motors website features a build your own "design studio" similar to sleekness of (an Apple store) one or two I experienced when "looking" for a 2013 Mercedes Benz AMG S63 and also a Range Rover Supercharged, again the key word was "looking."

I remember George Clooney bought one of the first 100 Tesla's and we remember Justin Bieber's 18th birthday Karma (by Fisker), the gift of the highly publicized competitor automaker that's not quite as fast nor near the drive distance capability.

I guess "plus" number three would be...Model S, the world's first premium electric sedan, was chosen (last month) as winner of AUTOMOBILE Magazine's most prestigious award, "Automobile of the Year." This year it required beating an incredibly impressive field of competitors, including the Porsche 911, Subaru BRZ, Cadillac ATS, and BMW M5. Four days of track testing, road testing and close examination proved that Model S excels on all fronts -- design, performance, technology and range. (read more in... Press Release: Tesla Motors, Inc. – Thu, Nov 1, 2012 9:07 AM EDT "Tesla Model S Blows Away the Competition and Wins AUTOMOBILE Magazine's "Automobile of the Year")

Tesla Motors' well-publicized struggle with growing pains is something of a soap opera. There's divorce, bankruptcy, plane crashes, sports cars, and lots of uncertainty--and the longer we watch, the more complicated things seem to get.

Its growing pains may be many but its minuses seem to cluster in threes. Firstly, losses are penned in red for Tesla Roadster the first few quarters, but sales on newly released sedan Model S and the Model X will paint Tesla's future picture very clear.

Secondly, there is a tidal wave of "fiscal cliff" economy that swept over the 100k Roadster, ending its production and is teetering on the cliff's edge as we speak threatening the Model S sedan. After all, figures show in the last two months food stamp usage has skyrocketed by over 1,000,000, with 600,000 in the last month! (Keep in mind to qualify you have to carefully demonstrate that you are earning very little and technically are classified as being in poverty.)

Thirdly, Tesla faces significant competition from GM's Volt, Nissan's Leaf, etc. but also important is the fact that it is in a product category still considered "experimental".

With all the pressure of finding success as an automaker, it becomes awfuly hard to sleep very fast...let's see is Tesla will need to reach from the grave and energize customers like he energized his Tesla Coil magnifying transmitter...when it was energized it created sparks 30 feet long, and could be seen from a distance of ten miles!

You have to be a lot closer than ten miles to a Tesla dealership, to see a customer!

Judith and Alan


Paul Koning

It's too bad the S only comes in dull boring colors. Even the red of the limited edition Signature is rather dull. The "very orange" of the roadster would be overdoing it, but surely something a little brighter should be in the palette?

I just want to add my voice to the overwhelming chorus of complaints about the cheap interior of the Model S beta - and particularly, the lack of a centre console.

I drive a Jaguar, and just love its intimate, cockpit design. I hate the "open plan" interior of the Model S. This just isn't driver focused - it strikes me that it was designed by someone who doesn't actually enjoy driving. Now that the Model X is revealed, Tesla have their "minivan", so why not leave the open plan interior to that model, and get back to the sleek, limousine design of the Model S alpha?

This may seem strange, but to me, the interior could well be the deal breaker. And, heresy it may be, I'm starting to consider the Fisker Karma (gorgeous interior) - or even letting my 8-year-old Jag lumber along a bit longer, in the hope that Jaguar get their act together and build their Limo Green concept.