Electric Super-car Builder Tesla Gets $465 million to Develop A More Affordable Model

The all-electric Tesla Sportster will go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in four seconds, reach a top speed of 125 miles per hour (it's electronically limited) and travel about 225 miles on a single charge (unless you test the acceleration frequently and cruise at the top speed). But at about $100,000, the car is beyond the reach of the average consumer. Last week, the company won a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy to accelerate development of a concept car it calls the Model S, which would carry a price tag starting at about $50,000. While that's still beyond the means of most car buyers, the price is heading in the right direction. Tesla said it will use about $100 million of the loan to build a manufacturing facility for the electric power train, which it will also sell to other manufacturers. The rest will be used to bring the Model S to market by 2011. An environmentally friendly automobile has long been one of several Holy Grails pursued by entrepreneur and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who was the subject of a Knowledge at Wharton article and podcast in April.