Tesla’s Base Sedan Replaced By Faster Model S 70D With Dual Motors, Larger Battery, And $5K Higher Price

Tesla Motors’ entry-level Model S all-electric sedan is getting a major upgrade today. The previous base offering, the Model S 60 featured a 60 kWh battery, a single (rear-mounted) 380hp electric motor, and an EPA-rated driving range of 208 miles.

The new Model S 70D is better in every way bringing with it a 70 kWh lithium-ion battery, dual electric motors (a front-mounted motor joins the existing rear motor) with a combined 514hp, and an EPA driving range of 240 miles. As for performance, Tesla says that the Model S 70D will rocket to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds and has a top speed of 140 mph.

This significant upgrade doesn’t come with a hefty price increase either (relatively speaking). The base price for the Model S 70D is now $76,070, representing roughly a $5,000 premium compared to the outgoing Model S 60. If you’re already forking over $70,000 for a luxury vehicle, $5,000 isn’t going break the bank for you.

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So why the sudden upgrade? According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, after introducing its dual-motor, all-wheel-drive Model S sedans late last year, they have accounted for the bulk of production. According to Musk, the Model S 60 has accounted for less than 10 percent of all production.

"Customers wanted something that had more range and they really wanted all-wheel drive,” said Musk in an interview with Reuters. “We think that all-wheel drive is what most customers want so that's our focus.”

Interestingly enough, Tesla will keep the Model S 80 around despite the fact that it will be the only remaining rear-wheel drive model in the stable. Priced at $81,070, the Model S 70D is actually more powerful and faster — although it has a shorter driving range.

Tesla is currently accepting orders for the Model S 70D and will begin deliveries in late May. Earlier this month, Tesla announced that it delivered 10,030 vehicles globally in 2015. The sales figure represented an impressive 55 percent increase over the same period last year.