Tesla (TSLA) - Get Report is set to begin delivering the high-performance version of its Model S on Thursday, aiming to reignite interest in the nearly decade-old sedan and fend off rivals including Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Lucid Motors in the luxury electric vehicle market.
Tesla will livestream the delivery of the first Model S Plaid at its U.S. factory in Fremont, California, at 4 p.m. ET, according to Tesla’s official Twitter account. The new model is priced at $129,990 vs. $79,990 for a long-range Model S.
The high-end EV reveal, which comes with an unexpectedly higher price tag, comes amid a more challenging few months for Tesla, shares of which have fallen nearly 18% this year amid concerns the carmaker is facing more competition from the likes of NIO (NIO) - Get Report and Ford (F) - Get Report as well as production delays related to the global chip shortage that has led to price increases on other Tesla models.
Tesla reportedly has increased the Model S Plaid price by $10,000 just ahead of first deliveries.
Tesla shares took a dip this week amid lingering concerns over the pace of car sales specifically in China, Tesla’s biggest market, as well as a move by founder and CEO Elon Musk to pull the plug on the higher-end version of the Model S Plaid sedan called Plaid+.
Musk said the Plaid+, which was marketed with a driving range of 520 miles, was now unnecessary given the Model S Plaid is "just so good."
Whether the updated version of the battery-powered luxury car that first hit the road in 2012 is just so good in terms of its build and options remains to be seen, according to analysts and investors.
Critics have thrown shade at the Plaid over its airplane-like yoke steering wheel. Other potential “surprises” that could be revealed include changes to the interior and the car’s operating system, including enhanced gaming features with new titles.
One thing the S-Plaid will have: more speed. Tesla has already revealed that its new tri-motor Palladium powertrain allows for 0-60 mph acceleration in 1.9 seconds, and a quarter-mile in 9 seconds. The estimated driving range is 390 miles.
Shares of Tesla were up 2% at $610.77. The stock has fallen 2.91% over the past month.