Tesla’s Model S electric car is finally here

Customer rides of the Model S Beta

Tesla Motors (s TSLA) investor, and DBL Investor Partner, Nancy Pfund has been waiting about three years to get her Model S electric sedan. Her model is one of the elite Signature series, with a unique red paint job, and the largest battery range available at 300 miles. Pfund is one of a group of customers that will receive their Model S cars during a big media event at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. on Friday.
Pfund and her firm backed Tesla back in 2006 and has seen the company’s ups and downs over the past six years. So it’s pretty exciting for her that the cars are finally here and are reaching customers. She plans to drive her Model S off the factory floor for the first time on Friday, and potentially up North to the Napa Valley area with her family. “It’s amazing how Tesla has really captured the imagination,” says Pfund in an interview in her San Francisco office this week.
The Model S is a crucial car for Tesla. It represents the company’s chance at profitability as well as its goal to be a more mainstream auto maker.
The basic Model S costs $50,000 (after federal tax incentives) and has a 160 mile range, while the higher-end Model S can cost $100,000 for a close to 300 mile range. Tesla plans to ship 5,000 Model S cars this year and 20,000 in 2013, and the company has 10,000 reservations for it. Just 8,000 Model S cars sold by 2013, could lead to the company turning a profit for the first time.
As an investor, Pfund wanted to support Tesla early on and was interested in buying Tesla’s first car the Roadster. However, Pfund says her husband is 6 foot 7 and just didn’t fit comfortably in the Roadster, and in addition, she says the $100,000 sports car just wasn’t practical for her family and two children.
But Pfund knew she wanted to put a reservation down for one of the first Model S cars early on. She tells me: the Model S is “a pivotal icon,” for the electric car industry.
If you’re interested to know peoples’ impressions of the Model S, Tesla and electric cars in general, check out our GigaOM Pro research report (subscription required), including results from a survey of GigaOM readers.