For many prospective Model S buyers got, today’s news was probably a pleasant surprise, as Tesla announced that its much-feared price increase would be – drumroll, please – $2,500. Many in the media thought it was madness to raise the price for the American-made electric luxury sedan, as everyone agrees that high up-front prices are the main thing holding EVs back. However, the increase, from a base price of $57,400 to $59,900 (before federal tax credits), amounts to 4.4%, about half the amount of inflation since Model S went on the market in 2009, which seems pretty modest.
“We believe it is a positive reflection on our design process and disciplined, long-term planning that enabled us to increase prices for the first time in four years at only half the rate of inflation,” said Tesla VP George Blankenship. “As a company we will always strive to deliver our customers the most innovative cars in the world while minimizing price increases as we have done today.”
This price increase will not apply to anyone who makes a reservation by the end of 2012.
Meanwhile, Motor Trend named Model S its 2013 Car of the Year, noting its engineering excellence, ample interior space and value for the price (yes!) and calling it “proof positive that America can still make great things.” The influential auto mag portrayed its choice as a courageous one, and shared a sample of the over-the-top hate mail it received after choosing the Chevy Volt as Car of the Year in 2011.
Consumer Reports also wrote a glowing article about Model S a couple of weeks ago, calling it “the electric car that shatters every myth” (although it has yet to publish an in-depth test).