Tesla Model S & Prius V Wagon
Electric car maker Tesla Motors continues to accelerate towards launching the mainstream, 5 plus 2 passenger Model S hatchback in mid-2012. Tesla currently has prototypes up and running, performing quality tests that will be critical to the success of the mass-produced Model S. We're told that the Model S will have a top speed around 120mph, with a 0-60 time of only 5.6 seconds. And for those concerned about EV range anxiety, there are three range options: 160, 230, and 300 miles.
At Detroit's auto show, Tesla showed a Model S rear-drive chassis. Plenty of aluminum and super high-strength steel guarantees light weight, while the compact EV powertrain provides an unusually flat-floor cabin. Prices for the Tesla Model S will start at $57,000 before tax incentives.
Toyota is making good on its promise to expand the Prius line from a single model to an entire family. The new 5-passenger Prius V wagon is longer, wider, and taller than the current Prius hatchback, with 60 percent more cargo capacity behind the rear seats. The extra size does add about 220 pounds of weight, but Toyota saved some poundage by using polycarbonate instead of glass for the optional panoramic moonroof.
With the same 134-horsepower hybrid powertrain, that extra size and weight will drag down V fuel economy to a combined City/Highway rating of 40 miles per gallon. That compares to 50 for the Prius hatchback. Still, the Prius V is the first wagon or crossover to join the 40 MPG Club.
Prius V prices will start under $29,000, about $4,000 more than the standard Prius. Unfortunately, the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan will delay the U.S. introduction until the end of the year.