Photo by Doug King
An attentive Tesla fan happened to be driving past the site of the future Tesla store in Menlo Park, CA recently and took a photo while sitting a traffic light. Closer inspection revealed an unusual Dodge Magnum sitting at the site. Now a Magnum with a steel wheel might not draw much attention on it's own. However, closer inspection of the image also revealed an absent tailpipe and license plate. Since development is going hot and heavy on the new Model S sedan, the photographer realized he might have stumbled across something interesting. I checked with Darryl Siry (Tesla's Marketing VP) and he confirmed that the Magnum in Question is indeed one of several different car platforms being used as mules for the WhiteStar/Model S program. As is typically the case, car makers use other existing vehicles that are similar in size and weight for various early hardware tests. In this case, the Magnum is being used for powertrain development. The Magnum body shouldn't be taken as any kind of indicator of the shape of the Model S. However, there are other clues. The Magnum has a 120 inch wheelbase and weighs in at 3,800lbs. Strip out the existing power train and other hardware and replace it with a battery pack and motor and you might be in similar range for the Model S. Since a Roadster weighs over 2,700 lbs with a carbon fiber body, the aluminum-bodied Model S is likely to be somewhere close to 4,000lbs with a battery pack in place. More hints as they become available.
[Source: Tesla Motors Club]