When a vehicle is seen as an extension of your being, people start to judge you. Whether you drive a Tesla Model S or a Hummer H3, someone will have something to say about it, but don’t call the Model S a luxury car.
True, the Tesla Model S 85kWh Performance starts at about $85,000, but check off enough of the check-boxes [all of them, actually], and the price soars to $117,000. You now what other vehicles cost this much? The Lexus LS600h luxury hybrid full-size sedan, the Lamborghini Gallardo, and the Aston Martin Vantage, to name a few.
Now, it seems to me that these vehicles fall into one of two categories: performance and luxury. The Gallardo and Vantage most certainly fall into the performance category, but they are also endowed with plenty of luxury accoutrements that you’d never find in the $12,000 Smart ForTwo, for example. The LS600h is definitely more about luxury than it is about performance or hybrid, but what about the Tesla Model S?
According to one Tesla Motors representative, the Tesla Model S is not a luxury vehicle, even thought it comes outfitted with leather seats, a full electronics package [well, duh!], and air suspension. Tesla Motors “defines them as performance. We want to be offering the highest performance electric vehicles under our brand. The Model S is a conscious effort to achieve that.”
The Tesla Model S may be equipped with these luxury things, but it is most definitely a performance vehicle, and it delivers. Still, that hasn’t prevented buyers from slapping the luxury sticker on it, if only in their minds, helping it to outsell other vehicles in the luxury vehicle class, including the Lexus LS600h, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, and others.
So what is it that puts the Tesla Model S into the $100,000 range? The first thing would be the battery pack, worth about $12,000. The electric powertrain and electronic control systems are also more expensive when compared to a conventional powertrain. Of course, to pay more for these things and end up sitting in sackcloth seats and looking at an analog instrument cluster would make no sense at all, hence the leather interior and electronics package.