Last year, Tesla replaced the entry-level Model S 60 with the higher-spec Model S 70, upping the cost of Model S ownership. It looked like the company was going to continue with the 70 models as of the Model S refresh, but now it's decided to backtrack ... kind of. The Model S 60 is officially back, creating a lower price of entry. For those willing to spend extra, the Model S 60 can become the Model S 75.
Tesla explains that the decision to bring back the Model S 60 was made because, wait for it ... many people wanted a lower priced Model S. The new Model S 60 and 60D models launched today and replace the 70 models on Tesla's website. The 60 kWh of battery capacity is enough for 210 miles (338 km) of range in the single-motor, rear-wheel-drive 60 and 218 miles (351 km) in the dual-motor, AWD 60D. Tesla says the 60D can run 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) in 5.2 seconds, the 60 in 5.5 seconds. Both versions top out at 130 mph (209 km/h).
Those range and top speed numbers are down from the Model S 70 and so is the price tag. The new RWD Model S 60 starts at US$67,200 after destination/documentation fees and before tax incentives, and the AWD 60D at $72,200. That pricing is actually cheaper than the previous incarnation of the Model S 60, which started at $71,070 (rear-wheel drive).
Potential buyers may have inspired the 60's comeback, but there are sure to be some buyers that prefer paying a little more for extra range and speed. Tesla hasn't left them to leap all the way up to the Model S 90D. The new Model S 60s are actually outfitted with a 75-kWh battery, and the full 75 kWh can be activated via a software update, either at the time of purchase for $8,500 or later down the road for $9,000. The 75-kWh 60D has a 259-mile (417-km) range and 140-mph (225-km/h) top speed, and the 75-kWh 60 offers 249 miles (401-km/h) and 140 mph.
Tesla originally offered the 75-kWh upgrade on 70 models, with activation set at $3,000 before delivery and $3,250 after.
Overall, bringing back the Model S 60 seems like a smart move. The price drop comes at a time when Tesla is preparing to go more mainstream with the $35K Model 3. The 75-kWh upgrade option ensures that everyone stays happy, except maybe a few folks that were quite specifically enamored with the 70 or 70D's mix of price and performance. We're guessing the new performance/pricing structure will be more of a deal maker than breaker.