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Tesla has just released an update on its  upcoming 2012 Model S all-electric sedan, for which it has received 3,700 reservations (each costing $5,000).

The main points from the update:

  • The company expects to produce about 5,000 units in 2012 while ramping up for capacity of 20,000 cars per year in 2013.
  • Deliveries for North America will start in mid-2012
  • The first 1,000 Model S’s will be part of the “North American Model S Signature Series,” which will have a 300-mile range battery, unique badging and “an extensive complement of options.”
  • After the signature series is delivered, Model S’s for North America will offer battery range options later in 2012 of 300, 230 and 160 miles.
  • Base price for the 160-mile option is $57,400. The 230-mile options is expected to cost $67,500, and the 300-mile option about $77,400. The car is eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit.
  • Europe deliveries will start in 2012, and right-hand drive models for Europe and Asia will start deliveries in mid 2013. Each launch will have a similar limited-edition signature series release.
  • Updates on pricing and options for the Model S should be available this summer.
  • The company is testing alpha prototypes and will be finishing final assembly of production-intended beta vehicles this year. It’s unclear what the difference is between the alpha and beta models.

Tesla’s fans and investors have closely followed news on the company’s Model S progress, from news it had completed its first prototype to video of the prototype zipping along country roads (below). While Tesla made a name for itself with the Roadster electric sports car, the company has acquired a $42 million Fremont factory and staked its future on the expansion into full-scale production of other models, starting with the Model S.

Investors have said they’re optimistic that if Tesla can deliver the Model S on time and at the promised price, it’ll have a competitive spot in the market. Tesla will be coming up against a more robust electric car market than it did when it first released the Roadster electric sports car a few years ago, though. Fellow government-supported startup Fisker will begin selling the luxury, sporty plug-in hybrid Karma this year for $95,500, albeit later and at a higher price than initially promised. Other luxury carmakers like BMW are also planning electric sedan and sports car offerings.

Model S Alpha Hits the Road from Tesla Motors on Vimeo.

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