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Tesla teases Model S prior to debut

Thu, 12 Feb 2009

Prior to its world debut on March 26, Tesla has decided to whet the appetites of green-car fans by releasing a teaser image of its upcoming Model S sedan.

Under the direction of former Mazda designer Franz von Holzhausen, the Model S features a rounded front nose, a front fender plate with an affixed Tesla emblem and a noticeably shorter hoodline.

Unlike the Fisker Karma, the Model S will be powered solely on battery propulsion and do without a range-extending engine, which helps accommodate the shorter hood.

Doubts regarding the Model S making it to production have risen in the past months as the company has trimmed its staff and closed its Michigan technical center, but Tesla remains upbeat. The company says it is hopeful that it will be approved for a $350 million loan from the U.S. government's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program in the coming months.

If approved, the loan would help Tesla meet the Model S's target production date in 2011. When and if the Model S hits showrooms, it would offer a variety of battery options with entry setups providing 160 miles of range.

To thank its early customers, Tesla will provide Roadster owners first crack at purchasing a Model S and a $10,000 break off the price of the car.

By Jonathan Wong