The American electric vehicle company, Tesla will deliver a high-performance version of its Model S with an aim to boost the interest in the nearly decade-old sedan and to secure its position against rivals like Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Lucid Motors in the luxury electric vehicle market.
Tesla earlier scheduled the launch of the new model to take place on June 3. However, CEO Elon Musk blamed the supply chain crisis for the delay. The automaker plans to live stream the delivery of the first Model S Plaid at its US factory in Fremont, California later this evening, according to its official Twitter account.
Tesla Model S Plaid was open for bookings earlier on the carmaker’s website. However, just hours before the launch, the automaker has increased the price of the model by as much as $10,000 for the US market. It has pushed the starting price of the Tesla Model S Plaid to $129,990.
Tesla redefined electric cars in 2012 when it launched its luxurious Model S with a sleek design and long driving range, but is facing a raft of new challenges.
“The Model S has not been changing a lot in terms of looks over the past almost decade. I think Tesla has to offer consumers something more,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director at car information provider Edmunds.
Tesla Model S Plaid will replace the Model S Performance car. Elon Musk had said that the new model will offer customers the feeling of a spaceship. The company claims the Model S Plaid sports sedan can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 1.99 seconds and has an estimated driving range of 390 miles.
The launch of the Model S Plaid, which has already been showcased online, has faced delay and some controversy over an expected airplane-style yoke steering wheel. Musk canceled another variant, Model S Plaid+, which would have had a 33 percent higher driving range than the Model S Plaid and used advanced battery technology, known as 4680 cells.
“The Model S Plaid is definitely intended to help reduce the migration of current Tesla owners out of Tesla,” said Ed Kim, vice president at consultancy AutoPacific. “I think what we’re seeing now is that Tesla can no longer operate in a vacuum.”
Mr. Kim said that the Model S Plaid is a low-volume, halo model aimed at showcasing the automaker and generating excitement around the sedan, with Tesla needing to successfully roll out new models like Cybertruck and Semi trucks to expand its customer base.