Tesla announced a new version of the Model S, the 70D, by simply writing a blog post and changing their web page early this morning. I like this simple way of changing their line up. With this new lineup, they are eliminating the Model S 60, which started at around $70K, for an all wheel drive 70D, starting around $75K. These numbers are before any governmental tax incentives. One California lawmaker is trying to eliminate the $2,500 California credit for cars costing more than $40K.
I suspect two things lead to this change in configurations. First, the battery technology is constantly changing. When technology changes, the newer models simply change. Secondly, I think most customers want the largest battery they can afford to enable driving longer without having to charge. The new 70D has a driving range of 240 miles. If a Model S could hold a 150kW battery, there would be a market for it! Also with the larger battery, an owner has peace of mind knowing that even if the battery ages over a number of years, the car will still be very useful.
I do find it quite curious that the most inexpensive model is all wheel drive with two motors. You can still buy a rear wheel drive version with the 85 battery. Speculative ideas include that Tesla wants to have a clear differentiator between the Model S and the future 3rd generation car, or that perhaps the 70 without dual motors would be too slow, which seems unlikely.
Also from today onwards, all cars have the tech package which includes navigation. I do not think very many customers bought cars without the tech package, and more and more features are linking into the navigation system.
Tesla also introduced some new colors: ocean blue, which is a medium deep ocean blue, and warm silver, which is closer to a tan color, and a metallic black, obsidian black. If I were buying a new Tesla today I would seriously consider the new ocean blue, although it is quite different than my Roadster’s beloved Glacier Blue.