Tesla generally doesn’t have a slow-sales problem. That is, except when it comes to its low-end Model S. They’re still selling, just not as fast as Tesla would like. So to fix that problem, the electric automaker is giving the old base-model the boot and introducing a new entry-level Tesla Model S D70.
The new model comes with all-wheel drive, a better battery, and a longer driving range, along with a higher price tag. The incoming version will start at $75,000, that’s $5,000 higher than the outgoing model.
Tesla’s shakeup in its Model S lineup comes as the company tries to meet its ambitious sales goals for the year. CEO Elon Musk wants to sell 55,000 vehicles in 2015. So far, Tesla sales are doing well, but even after selling a record 10,300 cars in the first quarter, it’s not enough to hit that goal. If you do the math, Tesla needs to sell 13,750 vehicles every quarter to hit the 55,000 mark. The automaker will soon have the help of the delayed Model X SUV, which will reportedly go on sale in the third quarter of the year. Meanwhile, it’s cheapest, lowest-end Tesla model, the 200-mile range Model 3, won’t be available for a few years.
So now on to specifics. The new Model S 70D will get coveted all-wheel drive along with a 70-kilowatt-hour battery. This will allow owners to drive 15 percent further, or a maximum of 240 miles, on a charge as opposed to the older entry-level’s 60-kilowatt-hour battery. The “D” stands for a standard dual motor that will churn out 514-horsepower and hit 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds.
On Tesla’s blog, it says that in addition to having independently operational front and rear motors, the 70D includes Supercharging to enable free long-distance travel, Autopilot hardware, navigation, blind spot detection and many other features. However, don’t look for the high-end Model S p85D’s ‘insane’ button which generates additional torque. The S 70D doesn’t get that gem. Oh, and the Model S lineup now comes in three new colors, Ocean Blue, Obsidian Black, and Warm Silver.
All in all, April is shaping up to be a big month for Tesla in terms of developments and not all of them so good. Last week, West Virginia’s governor signed a bill into law effectively blocking Tesla from selling cars directly in the Mountain State. It’s an important market for Tesla since it’s strategically located near the Washington D.C. suburbs, as well as potential customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and Kentucky.
Photo Credit: Tesla/Facebook