Tesla S models

Tesla’s Electric Car Revolution

Serbian-born engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla went west for a period in the late 1800s to conduct research in Colorado Springs – a city whose image to the outside world these days has more to do with its fundamental Christians than with inventors of such fundamentals as the AC motor. Tesla built a lab in the prairie where he had more room to experiment than in the confined space of Manhattan. Perhaps it is fitting then that the innovative electric car company that shares his name was founded in Palo Alto in 2003 and is firmly rooted in the west. The man who invented the AC Motor and the car company that uses the same design for its engine have given the world a sustainable alternative to the internal combustion engine. Cars run on batteries and can travel up to 300 miles before a re-charge. While Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said the company was going to have its “Model S” sedan rolling off assembly lines by 2011, the production date has been delayed to 2012. But company showrooms that have just opened in Washington, D.C. and Milan, Italy seem to demonstrate the company positioning for a niche not just of progressive energy politics but high style.

While the Tesla Roadster has become a symbol of the power and luxury electric cars are capable of, it is also known for its steep price tag of $109,000 – with the hip-hop Roadster Sport clocking in at $128k and up. But Tesla is changing its exclusive image with the introduction of the more affordable Model S Sedan, which will have a base price of $49,900 (minus federal and state tax incentives that can total up to $7k) when it rolls out in 2012. The Model S is being manufactured in Fremont, California ““ showing that the Silicon Valley-based company is committed to creating domestic jobs.

But the assembly plant was originally supposed to be located in New Mexico. Why did Tesla pull out of the Land of Enchantment?

Simple answer: California offered better incentives. (Are you listening, Gov. Martinez?) The company had agreed to build a $35 million plant in Albuquerque after New Mexico offered $7 million in infrastructure incentives. But this wasnt enough, as California offered a sales tax exemption on the purchase of manufacturing equipment that was estimated to save Tesla $9 million. California also threw in a grant worth $1 million to $1.5 million for training new employees. So there New Mexico.

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