Tesla Model S Overview Updated October 15, 2021

Tesla Model S guide: The first full- production model

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851 'Tesla Model S' stories

August 2013 - October 2021

Tesla Model S

History of the first volume production Tesla

The Tesla Model S is an all-electric luxury sedan and the first vehicle developed from the ground up by Tesla. It was originally unveiled as a prototype in 2009.

The Model S sedan also sits as Tesla’s longest-running EV in production to date, making its official debut in 2012, three years after it debuted as a prototype. At the start of production, Tesla was completing 12-15 Model S EVs a week.

By 2015, that number had grown to over 1,000 per week, helping the Model S reach its reign as the best-selling plug-in electric vehicle in both 2015 and 2016.

The time of the launch of the Model S is when Tesla also began building out its Supercharger network, which now consists of over 16,000 locations globally.

Early owners of the Model S also qualified for free Unlimited Supercharging, a perk that is much harder to come by these days.

In recent years, sales of the veteran Model S have dwindled in comparison to Tesla’s more cost-friendly Model 3 and Model Y EVs, but it remains a premier sedan offering luxury and performance, especially following its latest refresh and upcoming Plaid powertrain.

Tesla Model S
The newly refreshed Tesla Model S

Performance Specs

The Tesla Model S currently comes in two different AWD trims – a dual-motor Long Range and the tri-motor Plaid.

The newly refreshed Model S Long Range offers an EPA estimated range of 405 miles, can hit a top speed of 155 mph and can travel 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds.

The previously available Performance trim of the Model S was dropped when the EV saw a refresh from Tesla in 2021. It has since been replaced by the highly anticipated Plaid tri-motor powertrain.

This version travels an EPA estimated 396 miles on a single charge and can hit a top speed of 200 mph. Additionally, the Plaid Model S can zoom from 0-60 in 1.99 seconds.

Most recently, the Model S Plaid has showcased its hot track times at the Nürburgring racetrack in Germany. In late August, the Plaid actually crashed into a barrier while attempting to break some track records. Luckily, the driver was ok.

A week later, we reported footage of the Model S Plaid once again tearing up the track at Nürburgring. In fact, the Plaid actually ended up setting a new electric lap record, with a time of 7:35.579.

Plaid+

In 2021, Tesla began touting an even faster version of the Plaid powertrain with the unveiling of the Plaid+. This trim was advertised to offer the same speed as its Plaid counterpart but with a 520+ mile range on a single charge.

Not long thereafter, however, Tesla scrapped the entire trim as its CEO declared that drivers don’t need more than 400 miles of range, and the regular Plaid is “just too good.”

Here’s a rundown of how everything transpired around the short rise and fall of the Plaid+:

Other features

In addition, the Plaid tri-motor powertrain and nasty speed increase, the latest refresh on the Model S, brought updates to the interior.

This includes a second touchscreen for rear passengers, as well as a new yoke steering wheel. When Electrek first reported the yoke steering, we were seeing some early versions of the Model S with a regular round wheel.

However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has since come out and stated that the yoke steering wheel is here to stay. At least on the Model S and Model X.

Last March, Elon Musk stated that the new Model S would come with a rear-facing, third-row seating option, but we have yet to see it.

Most recently, Tesla pushed a new software update to improve the Model S’ suspension, Autopark feature, and more. This was followed by an additional software update that enables Sirius XM radio and “immersive sound” in the new Model S.

How much does a Model S weigh?

This is a common question for prospective Tesla owners, especially those looking to maximize speed… or practice deadlifting their EV for workouts.

The current Long Range version of the Tesla Model S weighs 4,561 lbs., while the Plaid and its additional motor weigh in at 4,766.

The Model S remains the second heaviest Tesla behind the Model X — at least until the Cybertruck begins deliveries.

Tesla Model S

How much does a Tesla Model S cost?

This is an important question for anyone even briefly pondering purchasing a Tesla, especially the more luxury-end Model S. The final purchase price depends on a number of factors, including powertrain, customizations, and add-ons such as Full Self-Driving capabilities.

To give you the best range of pricing for a Model S, we have shared the lowest-priced, bare-bones model and gone upwards to the fully loaded version of either trim.

Note that all prices are relevant at the time of this posting and do not include any taxes, destination fees, or federal tax rebates.

The Long Range Model S is the lower-priced of the two versions currently available. This dual motor AWD trim starts at a purchase price of $89,990 and can go as high as 108,990 all in.

This higher price includes all available add-ons such as red paint, custom interior, and FSD capabilities. It also includes 21″ Arachnid Wheels, which bring the EV’s estimated range down to 375 miles.

The Plaid Model S begins at a purchase price of $129,990 with white exterior paint and zero upgrades. If you were to add every available feature listed above, the Plaid can go as high as $148,990.

Again it’s important to note that the Arachnid Wheels upgrade will not only cost $4,500 but will also lower the Plaid’s estimated range to 348 miles.

All in all, you can get yourself a newly refreshed Model S for $90,000 minimum and can go all in on a souped-up Plaid for $149K. Either way, you may have to wait a bit longer for delivery, especially on the Long Range Model S.

If that’s too much money, you may be able to find a cheaper Model S for sale near you.

Have Model S prices gone up?

They certainly have. While the Model S has always been one of the most expensive Tesla models in the current fleet, it has seen additional price hikes recently, beginning with the 2021 refresh.

Here are some previous articles to get you up to speed.

Tesla Model S
Source: Tesla

How long does it take to charge a Model S?

After the pricing question, another common one to follow is How long does it take to charge a Tesla? Just like the pricing, a number of factors contribute to how quickly you can get your Model S juiced back up.

First, it’s important that you clearly understand the EV charging standards and how they vary. Then, you’ll know the three levels of charging and what sort of times you can expect.

Charge times will most certainly vary based on these factors, but here’s a broad breakdown of charge speeds for a Model S.

  • Level 1 AC (110-120V outlet at home): 20-40 hours
  • AC Level 2 (220-240V – Third party chargers/Tesla chargers/Tesla home charger): 8-12 hours
  • Level 3 DC fast charger (480+ volts – Third party chargers/Tesla Supercharger): 15-25 minutes

The Tesla Supercharger network is the best for speedy charging, especially on a road trip or for a quick recharge when you’re running super low.

However, due to their massive direct current (DC), Superchargers are not recommended for daily use.

Tesla recommends Level 2 charging at home if and whenever possible.

For more pertinent details regarding Tesla’s Supercharger network, check out our detailed guide.

What is the max Supercharging power available on the Model S?

Currently, either trim of the Tesla Model S can handle up to 250 kW of power on a DC fast charger.

However, Elon Musk has recently stated that Tesla plans to up the Supercharger network to 300 kW.

That may eventually require an upgrade to the Tesla’s themselves to handle such power, but that can likely be accomplished through an over-the-air (OTA) software update.

How much does it cost to charge a Tesla Model S?

Different question, same answer – it depends. In this case, pricing depends on a lot of factors. This includes what state you live in, whether you’re at home or on a public charger, what time of day it is, and how long you’re charging.

By using annual data of the average residential energy costs in the US from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), we have calculated an estimated cost to charge both at home and at a DC Fast Charger.

Cost to charge at home

To begin, we’ve calculated that the 100 kWh battery pack on the Model S will cost approximately $16.47 to charge at home on a Level 1 or Level 2 AC charger from 0-100%.

Since the charger must convert AC power into DC for the Tesla, we’ve also accounted for an 85% charging efficiency in that price. For more information on how to determine these prices and what the heck charging efficiency is, check out our Tesla charging guide.

It’s also important to note that while these prices are the cost to charge your Tesla battery from 0-100%, you should never let your battery get down to 0%. Furthermore, you should rarely charge your EV all the way to 100% unless you need maximum range for a long trip.

Speaking in terms of mileage, the Model S Long Range has an EPA estimated range of 405 miles, which means you’d pay about $0.041 per mile or $4.07 for 100 miles of range.

The Model S Plaid has an estimated range of 390 miles, coming out to $0.042 per mile or $4.22 per 100 miles.

Cost to charge on a Tesla Supercharger

Considering the 100 kWh battery pack on a public DCFC like a Tesla Supercharger, drivers can charge from 0-100% for approximately $22.95. This accounts for a 95% charging efficiency since less energy is lost on DC chargers compared to AC Level 1 and Level 2.

The Long Range Model S costs about $0.057 per mile and approximately $5.67 for 100 miles of range. At a lower estimated range, the Plaid version of the Model S can cost you about $0.059 per mile and $5.88 per 100 miles.

Model S FAQ

Is the Model S the first Tesla?

Close. The Model S is the first Tesla to reach volume production. The original Tesla is the Roadster, but only about 2,450 units of that EV were produced.

What happened to the Tesla Model S Plaid+?

Great question. This past June, Elon Musk Tweeted that Plaid+ had been cancelled because the Model S Plaid “is just too good.” When asked to elaborate, Musk said that Tesla no longer believes drivers have any need for over 400 miles of range.

Can I lease a Model S?

Totally. However, we recommend you doing your homework and research to see if a Tesla lease is better for you than buying. Used Tesla values have been soaring lately, so it’s worth at least weighing both options. Check out our Tesla lease guide for more.

What’s the closest Tesla to a Model S?

Considering they’re both sedans, the Model 3 is the most similar Tesla, although the Model 3 is smaller and much much cheaper. Mechanically, the Model S shares more of its DNA with the Model X as they both sit upon Tesla’s 2nd generation platform.

Does the Model S qualify for free unlimited Supercharging?

Most versions of the Model S have previously received some offers of free unlimited supercharging at some point. However, Tesla has made no mention of free unlimited Supercharging for any models since 2020. Learn more here.

Tesla Model S Stories October 23

Tesla has increased Model S and Model X prices by another $5,000 as demand is pushing deliveries of new orders deep into next year.

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Tesla Model S Stories October 18

Tesla has been spotted testing a new Model S Plaid prototype with a stunning new deployable aero-brake spoiler.

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Tesla Model S Stories October 6

How much is a Tesla? Your guide to Tesla prices

You’ve read about all the improvements to emerge both inside and out each 2021 Tesla model as well as the new versions to come in 2022, and maybe you’re more than a little bit tempted. Next, reality sets in, and that age old question rears its head: “how much?” No need to click through several variations of each model on Tesla’s website, it’s all been compiled for you here.

Tesla Model S Stories September 2

Tesla is currently in Germany testing its Model S Plaid and attempting to break some records on a notoriously difficult track.

You can watch Tesla take some hot laps with the Model S Plaid on the Nürburgring racetrack below.

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Tesla Model S Stories August 27

The Tesla Model S and Model 3 provide drivers with either a taste of veteran performance, or refreshing innovation and value. Both combine to form the US automaker’s line of electric sedans, although they share more of their mechanical makeup with their respective assembly-line SUV partners. Below is a comprehensive breakdown comparing the two to help you decide which sedan may be best for you.

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Tesla Model S Stories August 26

Tesla brought a new Model S Plaid to the Nürburgring racetrack in Germany, attempting to break a few records.

It had a setback today, however, as the vehicle reportedly crashed.

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Tesla Model S Stories August 24

Tesla is working with famed video game engineer John Carmack to improve the interface performance in older vehicles.

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Tesla Model S Stories August 10

Tesla has apologized to Model S buyers who are experiencing significant delays without communication.

However, they are short on explanation, and there are some worrying things going on.

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Tesla Model S Stories August 6

Tesla buyers who ordered the new Model S are circulating a letter to ask for better communications around Model S deliveries, which are currently quite messy, for a lack of a better word.

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Tesla Model S Stories August 4

Tesla has increased the price of the base Model S by another $5,000 – making it a $10,000 base price increase in less than a month.

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Tesla Model S Stories August 2

A Tesla Model S Plaid modded by Unplugged Performance broke the electric vehicle lap record at the Laguna Seca race track.

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When learning more about Tesla and its growing fleet of EVs, consumers new to the market have a lot of the same questions. Inquiries such as How much does a Tesla cost? How long does it take to charge a Tesla? How much does it cost to charge a Tesla? Believe it or not, one of the most frequent questions we receive in addition to those above is, How much does a Tesla weigh?

While this question is more easily answered than others, there are a few factors that play a role in the weight of each Tesla model. Here’s everything you need to know broken down by model.

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Tesla Model S Stories August 1

Of the four electric vehicles currently available in Tesla’s fleet, its Model S and Model X sit as the two longest in production. At a higher price point than Tesla’s two newer models, these veteran EVs offer a combination of the efficiency, performance, and luxury that originally put Tesla on the map. Below is a thorough comparison of Tesla’s Model S sedan vs. its Model X mid-sized SUV.

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Tesla Model S Stories July 27

Tesla has updated its website configurator for the upcoming Model S, to reflect delivery delays on both the Long Range and Plaid trims for new customers. The Long Range Model S especially faces a massive delay, now estimated to arrive in February or March of 2022.

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Tesla Model S Stories July 25

After a weeklong hold, Tesla has restarted Model S deliveries, but the automaker never explained the reason behind the hold to customers buying the new electric vehicle.

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Tesla Model S Stories July 23

Elon Musk has confirmed that Tesla will not offer a regular steering wheel option on new Model S and Model X vehicles.

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Tesla Model S buyers are complaining that they can’t take delivery of their new electric vehicles as they are told that deliveries are on hold.

At this point, it’s unclear why.

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Tesla Model S Stories July 8

Tesla has just released a $5,000 price increase for the base versions (Long Range) of both Model S and Model X electric vehicles.

It comes just as the automaker started delivering the new Model S and hasn’t even started delivering the new Model X.

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Tesla Model S Stories June 30

A brand new Tesla Model S Plaid has caught on fire in a suburb of Philadelphia last nigh and witnesses are reporting some strange circumstances.

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Tesla Model S Stories June 18

The new Tesla Model S Plaid has received its first official EPA rating with a range of 348 miles on a single charge, but that’s for the bigger and less efficient wheels.

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Tesla Model S Stories June 17

Tesla has confirmed that it has reduced the energy capacity of the new battery pack in the new Model S.

Still, it has increased range over the previous model. It’s all about the efficiency.

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Tesla Model S Plaid has broken several production car records in its first independent tests with MotorTrend, but the insane 0-60 mph in less than 2 seconds needs an asterisk next to it.

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Tesla Model S Stories June 15

We’re starting to see more people get behind the wheel of Tesla’s new Model S Plaid and getting footage of that strange “yoke” steering wheel.

It looks like the fear that it would be awkward to use was founded.

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The new Tesla Model S Long Range has received its official EPA range rating, and it is showing an improvement in efficiency over last year’s version.

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Tesla Model S Stories June 14

A brand-new Tesla Model S Plaid modded by Unplugged Performance hit over 150 mph on the Laguna Seca racetrack – and it passed several million-dollar hypercars.

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Tesla Model S Stories June 12

Tesla has downgraded the range of its brand new Model S Long Range, which also happens to be Tesla’s longest-range electric car, just a few days after launching the vehicle.

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Tesla Model S Stories June 11

With the release of Tesla’s new Model S Plaid, the automaker has designed a brand new user interface, and we take a first look at it in this article.

It’s more intuitive and customizable.

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With the kind of performance it’s achieving, it’s hard to argue that Tesla’s new Model S Plaid is not a hypercar.

Here you can watch a brand new Tesla Model S Plaid accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 1.99 seconds at the delivery event.

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Tesla has officially launched the new Model S Plaid at a delivery event in Fremont today, and Elon Musk emphasized Tesla’s new electric motor technology, faster charging, and a ton of new entertainment features.

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Tesla Model S Stories June 10

Tesla is warning that its new Model S Plaid won’t hit its advertised 200 mph top speed at launch since it will need a tire and wheel upgrade this fall.

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Tesla has increased the price of its brand new Model S Plaid by $10,000 just a day ahead of its first deliveries at an event later tonight.

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Tesla Model S Stories June 9

Tesla is about to unveil the new Model S Plaid, arguably the biggest update to the vehicle program, which is already almost a decade old.

We expect that the automaker is going to unveil a few surprises that will raise the bar.

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Tesla Model S Stories June 8

Tesla hasn’t released a new vehicle color for a long time, but a new “deep crimson” color could be coming as it was spotted on a new Model S body at its Fremont Factory.

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Tesla Model S Stories June 6

Elon Musk has announced that Tesla is canceling the new Model S Plaid+ as he believes that the new Plaid version is “just so good”.

But what about the 520 miles of range?

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Tesla Model S Stories May 24

Tesla is accelerating its Model S Plaid delivery timeline after seemingly overcoming delays.

At the same time, the automaker has stopped taking orders for the Model S Plaid+.

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Tesla Model S Stories May 20

Elon Musk announced that Tesla will hold a delivery event for the first Model S Plaid on June 3 – confirming the first deliveries after a few delays.

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Tesla Model S Stories May 15

A Tesla Model S Plaid (or maybe even Plaid+) prototype with an insane retractable spoiler has been spotted on the Laguna Seca race track – trying to beat some record.

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Tesla Model S Stories May 13

Tesla Model S Plaid has seen a few delivery delays, but now buyers are starting to get some delivery dates for next month as the new version of Tesla’s flagship sedan is finally coming.

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Tesla Model S Stories April 28

Caviar, a popular luxury brand better known for putting real gold on Apple products, has turned its attention to Tesla and, more specifically, the Model S Plaid+.

They have created the most expensive and stupidest Tesla vehicle yet.

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Tesla Model S Stories April 27

Tesla plans to resume making over 100,000 Model S and Model X vehicles per year with the new version, basically bringing the flagship vehicle programs to life.

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Tesla Model S Stories April 26

Tesla’s new refreshed Model S has been delayed without much explanation or updated timeline, but the automaker said today that deliveries “should start very shortly.”

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Tesla Model S Stories April 7

Tesla buyers who ordered the new, recently refreshed Model S and Model X models are seeing their deliveries being pushed back as the automaker is experiencing delays in bringing the vehicles to production.

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Tesla Model S Stories March 23

Elon Musk confirmed in a comment that Tesla’s new refreshed Model S can “seat up to 7 people” despite the automaker not offering it as an option yet.

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Tesla Model S Stories March 11

Tesla has delayed new Model S Plaid Plus reservations to “mid-2022” in an update to its online configurator.

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Tesla Model S Stories March 8

A group of fresh Tesla Model S vehicles with the new design refresh has been spotted at Fremont factory, and it looks like one of them might have third-row seats.

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Tesla Model S Stories February 28

Tesla’s controversial ‘yoke’ steering wheel in the new and updated Model S has spotted in the wild for the first time.

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Tesla Model S Stories February 25

Following its massive merger with SPAC Churchill Capital Corp IV ($CCIV), Lucid Motors’ CEO revealed that deliveries of its first EV have been delayed. The Lucid Motors Air, Dream Edition was originally scheduled to begin deliveries this spring. It now appears it will debut sometime in the second half of 2021.

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Tesla Model S Stories February 23

Someone managed to get a first look inside a new Tesla Model S refresh, showing the first unpolished look inside the new electric vehicle.

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