Tesla Delivers the Model S, Will It Live Up to Expectations?

Tesla Roadster

It’s hard to think of another car that has been as highly anticipated or that bares more importance for an automaker than the new Model S is for Tesla .

The all-electric sedan is finally being deliveredat the company’s plant in Fremont, California.

While much will be made of the fact Tesla delivered the Model S slightly ahead of its self-imposed deadline, the real question is whether this car delivers all that has been promised, and we’re not just talking about how it drives on the road.

Here are the stats on Tesla’s Model S:

  • Price: $57,400- $77,400 (before $7,500 Federal tax credit)
  • Mileage: 89 MPGe
  • Range: 265 Miles
  • 10,000 on order
  • 5,000 test drives with customers over next 45 days

The test drives of the Model S start this weekend and will give us an early indication of whether or not the new Tesla lives up to expectations. Since the first test drives will be with those who have already placed an order for the Model S, I suspect most of what we will hear will be very positive. After all, these are people who have already put down a deposit for the car.

The bigger issue for Tesla will be how smoothly the company handles ramping up production. It expects to sell 5,000 Model S editions this year and 20,000 next year. Anyone in the auto business will tell you that going from being a niche automaker (as Tesla was with the Roadster) to a mass market manufacturer is a quantum leap. Can Tesla make that jump without falling down? Wall street seems to think so.

In the last two weeks there have been several notes from analysts with bullish forecasts for Tesla. Goldman Sachs raised the near term price targetfor shares of TSLA for $50. No wonder shares of Tesla are up 9% this week.

The time for talk and forecasts is through. It’s time to see if Tesla and the Model S are ready to meet lofty expectations.