Tesla has been tweaking its Model S lineup continuously, nixing the lowest-spec model before it even went on sale, adding features, eliminating options, and eventually adding all-wheel-drive. Now there’s this: the new 70D, a replacement for the entry-level Model S that gets more range and adds a second motor.
As you’d expect by the name, the 70D comes with both a new 70 kWh battery pack good for an EPA-rated 240 miles, as well as AWD as standard. With it, Tesla is killing off the 60 kWh Model S – the $70,000 version rated at 208 miles – and selling this new “entry-level” electric sedan for $75k.
For the extra five grand, the 70D gets
514 329 horsepower and a top speed of 140 MPH, but it’s also broken up a few of its options packages to add more standard equipment. Part of that is the dual-motor setup – netting a 0-60 time of 5.2 seconds – but it’s also enabling the Supercharger system (normally a $2,000 option), keyless entry, and pulling navigation from the tech package to make it a standard feature, which it should’ve done two years ago.
The Autopilot hardware – which still doesn’t have the software to support it – is installed right out of the factory, and enabling it will cost $2,000 at the time of purchase. The tech package is gone, and the two remaining big-ticket options are updated LED headlights and a power lift gate. Oh, and there are three new colors: warm silver (champagne), obsidian black (really black), and ocean blue (lighter with more metallic). Brown is still gone. Dammit.
The reason for the upgrade and pricing switch is partially due to the fact that the range-topping 85 kWh Model S has always accounted for the lion’s share of sales – and not just because it’s got the most range.
If you’ve got the cash to drop $70k on an EV and want some options, the price heads north quickly, at which point most owners just upgrade to the bigger battery pack. Tesla says it wants to offer something with more features and a better price, and we’ll see if potential owners take the bait when the car goes on sale today. Deliveries are expected in around one or two months.