$66,000 Tesla Model S Added to Lineup

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Tesla’s got a number of big challenges on its plate these days, not the least of which is keeping customers – and their cash – rolling in while it works on the upcoming Model 3.

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In a bid to bring in people who can’t afford its triple-digit Tesla Model S and Model X electric cars, the company this week has introduced a new entry-level Model S, the S 60, that starts at $66,000 before incentives.

Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S

It comes with 60 kilowatt-hours of battery capacity, rated for up to 210 miles of range. The battery can be upgraded through a wireless software update to 75 kWh capacity that should be good for up to 249 miles of range, according to Tesla.

The Tesla Model S 60s all come with a 75 kWH battery, but in the base units it is limited  by the battery management software to just 60 kWh of output. Customers must pay $9,000 extra for the software update that unlocks the remaining 15 kWh of capacity.

An all-wheel drive version of the new Tesla Model S 60, the S 60D, also is now available. As with other “D” versions of the S, it will have electric motors front and rear for all-wheel drive and will offer more power and range than the standard S60.  That comes at a cost, though. The S60D starts at $71,000 before incentives.

All Teslas to date qualify for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500.  Buyers in Connecticut can get a cash rebate of up to $3,000, California buyers can get a $2,500 cash rebate and Colorado buyers can qualify for a state tax credit of up to $6,000. Incentives also are available in other states, but vary widely. You can check them out here.

The new Tesla Model S variants follow several Model S design updates introduced in May to freshen the car, which was introduced in 2014.

Tesla says the Model S 60 has a top speed of 130 mph and can accelerate from a dead stop to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.  The battery upgrade, which will cost $9,000, boosts the top speed to 140 mpg and adds up to 35 miles of additional range.

The Tesla Model S 60D’s top speed is the same, but 0-60 acceleration drops to 5.2 seconds and maximum range increases slightly, to 218 miles for the base 60 kWh battery and 259 miles for the upgraded 75 kWh battery.

A Tesla spokeswoman said it now takes about six weeks for customers to take delivery after ordering a Model S.