Tesla Motors Model S Backed by Google Founders Brin, Page

 
 
By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2009-03-28
 
 
 

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are major investors in Tesla Motors, which on March 26 revealed the prototype of its all-electric, zero-emission sedan, the Model S.

The vehicle, which can accelerate from 0-60 mph in under 6 seconds and hit a top speed of 130 miles per hour, will feature a 17-inch touch-screen with 3G connectivity, allowing drivers to check Google Maps or other data. The car's electrical charge could also theoretically be monitored via an iPhone or a laptop, according to the company.

Tesla hopes that the Model S will eventually lead to a mass-produced electric vehicle, but production hinges on whether the Department of Energy will provide a $350 million loan to help kick-start production.

"This is just the first of many mainstream cars we're developing," Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, said in a statement. Musk was a co-founder of PayPal and founder of SpaceX.

Musk went on to cite the ownership cost of the Model S, should it enter production, as "similar to a gasoline car with a sticker price of about $35,000" once the lower cost of electricity versus the likely future price of gasoline was taken into account.

The company anticipates that the base price of the Model S will stand at $49,900, once federal tax credits totaling roughly $7,500 are factored in; it will come with a choice of batteries with either a 160-, 230- or 300-miles-per-charge range.

Deliveries of the vehicle will begin in 2012; those interested can visit this site to put their name on what will presumably be a long waiting list, if sales of the Roadster, Tesla's first electric car, are any indication.

The Roadster, currently in production with a price of just over $109,000, can go from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds and travel 244 miles per charge. There is a substantial waitlist for the vehicle, which was unveiled in 2006, three years after the founding of Tesla Motors.

Starting this spring and continuing through 2009, Tesla will open stores in Chicago, London, New York, Miami, Seattle, Washington and Munich.

Both Page and Brin, who've made no secret of their green IT leanings, were early investors in the company.

Should the Model S enter production, it may very well have a variety of technologies already in place to help meet drivers' commuting IT needs. Intel rolled out four new Atom processors on March 2 designed to fit into a wider variety of devices, including those embedded in car dashboards; those processors will be paired with the Microsoft Auto software platform, designed to provide features such as mobile device integration and speech recognition. 

The Model S's promised 3G connectivity will allow drivers to connect with Google Maps, Internet radio and other tools. 


Rocket Fuel