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Tesla boosts range, power and price of low-end Model S


APRIL 9, 2015    LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 2015, 1:21 AM


* Electric car maker’s CEO says new all-wheel drive model is aimed at luring BMW and Mercedes buyers

DETROIT — Electric car maker Tesla Motors is going after mainstream luxury car buyers by adding all-wheel drive and more range and power to the base version of its only model.

But the added features at the low end of the Model S lineup will come with about a 7 percent price increase, to $75,000 for those buying the cars. The base lease price will rise to $838 per month from $796 for 12,000 miles per year.

Tesla will stop selling the old base Model S called the 60. The $70,000 rear-drive car with a 380-horsepower motor could go 208 miles on a single charge and from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.

The new all-wheel drive model, called the 70D, can go a government-certified 240 miles per charge, has 514 horsepower and can go from zero to 60 in 5.2 seconds. Buyers also get free access to Tesla’s network of quick-charging stations and some other standard features.

CEO Elon Musk says with a $7,500 federal tax credit that takes the price to $67,500, plus tax credits in some states, the new version is price-competitive with BMW’s midsize 5-Series, or the Mercedes E-Class when you add in savings from not buying gasoline. BMW’s 5 Series starts around $50,000, while the E-Class starts at close to $52,000.

He said Tesla, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., needed all-wheel drive to appeal to luxury buyers, especially in colder climates such as the Northeast, where most luxury cars are sold. About 58 percent of the luxury car market in the U.S. is all-wheel drive, according to Kelley Blue Book.

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Tesla Stores May Be Closed After N.J. Blocks Direct Sales


Tesla Stores May Be Closed After N.J. Blocks Direct Sales

Governor Chris Christie’s administration blocked Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), the electric-car maker that doesn’t have franchised retail dealers, from direct auto sales in a move the company said could shutter its only two stores in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, which includes members of Christie’s cabinet, unanimously approved the proposal yesterday in Trenton, delaying public comment on the matter until after the hearing. Tesla said it learned only a day earlier, after months of negotiations, that the rule change was coming to the most densely populated U.S. state, which is important for reaching customers in the New York metro area.

Christie “has gone back on his word,” Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on Twitter prior to the vote. “His administration, under pressure from auto dealers, may shut down Tesla in NJ as soon as today.”

Tesla is battling dealers state by state to secure or protect the right to sell its cars directly to consumers. Auto dealers in Ohio, New York, Minnesota,Georgia and elsewhere in the past year have sought to block Tesla from directly retailing its models, arguing that independent retailers are better for shoppers and owners of vehicles. Texas dealers successfully backed a law setting the nation’s toughest restrictions on Tesla. ArizonaColorado andVirginia also imposed limits. (Ohnsman and Dopp/Bloomberg)