Tesla Motors, maker of the ultra-sleek, ultra-expensive, all-electric Tesla Roadster sports car, has announced it will build a manufacturing plant in San Jose, Calif., to churn out within two years its newest all-electric offering: a five-seater sedan. Priced at a still-spendy-but-slightly-saner $60,000, Tesla’s “Model S” sedan is expected to roll off the production line in late 2010, just in time to compete with GM’s much-hyped $35,000 plug-in hybrid, the Chevy Volt. Tesla says the Model S will be able to travel about 240 miles on a full charge, some 160 miles short of the Volt’s estimated range; GM claims the Volt will be able to travel some 400 miles on a full charge and a full tank of gas. However, Tesla is confident it will be able to compete in the broader electric-car market. “I am sure there will be competition,” said Tesla Chief Executive Ze’ev Drori. “We hope there will be competition. Competition will accelerate demand.” Tesla hopes to sell off its first run of 15,000 vehicles by the end of 2011.
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