Tesla introduces lower priced AWD electric Model S

LOS ANGELES — Tesla Motors was set Wednesday to begin selling a new version of its Model S all-electric sedan, the 70D, for less than $70,000 after government incentives.

Like its big brother the P85D, it’s an all-wheel-drive version with dual electric motors, one on each axle.

The much lower price comes with less performance. The P85D, which starts at $105,000 and can cost much more with options, comes with an “insane” driving mode and acceleration rivaling the world’s fastest cars.

The 70D is merely quick, with a 0-60 mph time of 5.2 seconds, but aims at consumers looking to get into a Tesla as inexpensively as possible. Still, its dual-motor system is capable of driving the 70D to a top speed of 140 mph, Tesla says.

The 70D has a driving range of about 240 miles, similar to other Model S sedans. Owners will have free access to the company’s national Supercharger network of charging stations.

The new S will come bundled with Tesla’s Autopilot hardware, which allows the car to automatically speed up and slow down with moving traffic, as well as a navigation system, blind spot detection, and other features.

The sticker price will be $75,000, before a $7,500 federal government rebate to buyers of electric cars. Incentives from California and some other states bring the price down a bit farther.

The new vehicle will be available in colors new to the Palo Alto-based company, too: Ocean Blue, Obsidian Black and Warm Silver.

The all-wheel-drive 70D is seen as a replacement of sorts for the company’s other entry-level electric vehicle, the rear-wheel-drive Model 60.

The 70D will sit slightly below the relatively new 85D and P85D, the two other new all-wheel-drive models in the Tesla lineup. Those more powerful vehicles have a range of more than 270 miles, a top speed of 155 mph, and are capable of making 0 to 60 in just over 3 seconds.

But this is not the more “affordable” Tesla the company has been promising. Tesla says that vehicle will cost about $35,000, but it may be several years before it goes on sale.

The company has promised to deliver its all-wheel-drive crossover SUV, the much-anticipated Model X, in the third quarter of this year.

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