Washington, D.C. – Tesla Motors has announced it has taken 520 reservations for the new Model S, an all-electric family sedan that carries up to seven people and travels up to 300 miles (482 km) per charge.

Tesla launched the car on March 26 and began taking orders online and at its showrooms in California. The company plans to open stores in Chicago, London, New York, Miami, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Munich this year.

“Frankly, the number of cars reserved in the first week has exceeded our optimistic internal projections,” said Elon Musk, CEO, chairman and product architect. “Enthusiasm surrounding the Model S is proof that there’s pent-up demand for more affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles, including those made in America.”

The company said the Model S will likely be the world’s first mass-produced, highway-capable electric vehicle when production begins in late 2011. The company has applied for a US$350 million loan from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which would be used to build an assembly plant in California.

The Model S can be recharged from any 120V, 208V or 240V outlet or quick-charged from an external direct current supply in only 45 minutes. Three battery pack choices will offer a range of 257, 370 or 482 km. It does zero to 96 km/h in 5.6 seconds, with an electronically-limited top speed of 209 km/h. The anticipated base price is $49,900, after a federal tax credit of $7,500, with a refundable reservation fee of $5,000.

Tesla is also taking reservations for the Model S Signature Edition, with a $40,000 reservation fee. The company will produce 2,000 models, which will be the first built, and with unique interior and exterior features. Signature Edition cars will be evenly split between U.S. and European customers.

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