Accounting for some tax breaks you could have gotten the lowest-end model for ~$50k, which, I think, is close enough. The price on their website starts at $52,400 (taking the tax break into account).
The Model S Performance starts at $87,400. However, this is a very special top-of-the-line car, comparable to an AMG or M model from Mercedes or BMW respectively. This is definitely not the average car or the average price.
Of course, just like its German rivals, the price does go up with some options. But if you just want a nice electric car, the options are, well, optional. (Although I wouldn't pass up the tech package if I could afford it :P.)
And it's not like the standard equipment is weak--the well-publicized gigantic touchscreen comes standard, for example.
Anyhow, basically you can get one for a bit over $50k; the price only goes up if you want a longer range and some nice options.
Not only does the cheapest Model S have half the range of the more expensive versions, apparently you won't be able to charge it at Superchargers either, and of course it's also not available yet. (Oh, and none of the prices include the home charger required to charge it in a reasonable amount of time.)
Oh, and none of the prices include the home charger required to charge it in a reasonable amount of time.
The car has a built in charger that can add 31 miles of range per hour off a standard 240V outlet. The base model has 160 miles of range, so a charge all the way from zero to full should only take a little over 5 hours. Seems reasonable enough to me.
Also, the 40 KWh ("160 mile") version--that is, the ~$50k version--was not actually available within the first batch of manufactured cars. It may be available now; I'm not sure.
During the first few months, reservation holders who planned to purchase a 40 KWh car were told they would need to wait longer.
That situation would drive the average selling price upward. Once the manufacture of the 40 KWh cars starts (and perhaps it has already started), and once the relatively wealthy early adopters have purchased their well-equipped models, the average selling price should trend downward.
On day one of iPhone 6 availability, are more 64 GB or 32 GB models going to be sold? 64 GB obviously. Microsoft was correctly criticized for not understanding that most Surface Pro early adopters wanted the 128 GB model.
Similarly, if you see a Model S on the road today (and I've seen about 15 so far here in Los Angeles) odds are very good it will be a Performance-spec car. Around 10 of the 15 I've seen have been Performance. And when the Mercedes W212 E-Class hit the streets, if I recall correctly the very first one I saw in the wild was an E63. Early adopters buy top-of-the-line.
The cheapest 2013 Model S is $60K. The price was raised last year. This works out to be 5% inflation per year since 2006--however, at this point I suspect the fatter margin on the pricier models are subsidizing this $60K version.
The price of a Roadster was $109K when introduced in 2008.
And after the $7,500 federal tax credit, you arrive at $52,400, which is the figure listed on the Tesla Motors site. Whether you want to count "out the door" price or the total price after your tax refund is up for debate.