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Tesla: The Time Has Come

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- We are now approximately 90 days or less away from the big launch of the Tesla (TSLA - Get Report) Model S. This is no secret -- Tesla has said for a long time it expects to deliver its first Model S car by July, and everything seems to have progressed exactly on track.

It is easy to get lost in the weeds in terms of the importance of the Tesla Model S being delivered to customers. There is a very important big-picture view of how the world will view not only Tesla, but also the entire electric car market as a whole, once the Model S gets into the hands of consumers.

The first car was the 1886 Mercedes-Benz, but it wasn't really until 1908 when the Ford Model T hit the road that the automobile market began to scale. That's the analogy you want to consider now with the importance of the Tesla Model S, in the arena of electric cars.

Unlike the Ford Model T, the Tesla Model S is a high-end car, starting at $57,400 before tax adjustments. It will hit the U.S. roads over 18 months after the Nissan LEAF, which cost just under $35,000 and has already sold in considerable quantities (over 10,000).

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So the Tesla Model S is neither the first comfortable electric car, nor the cheapest. So what's the point?

Model S Overview

The Tesla Model S will give you significantly more range than a Nissan LEAF or any other practical all-electric car to date. The Nissan is EPA-certified at 73 miles on average. Tesla claims 160 miles for the base version of the Model S. Let's see what the EPA certifies, no later than July this year. My hunch is that the EPA-certified number will be less than 160 miles, but that's just my hunch.

Tesla will also sell you an alleged 230-mile and a 300-mile version of the Model S. Each step up is $10,000 more. Of course, there are also all sorts of other options that will cost extra, including a more powerful motor, sunroof, etc. On the Tesla Web site, I was able to configure a model with seemingly every single option for $108,400, before tax adjustments.
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