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Car and Driver: Latest Tesla Model Is the Smallest and Least Expensive By Far

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Tesla Model S by Radio Flyer

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Tesla watchers have been awaiting the debut of the Model 3, the so-called “entry-level” model that is expected to be priced in the $35,000 range. The Model 3 still isn’t out, but there is now an even more entry-level model that is aimed at the very youngest buyers and first-time drivers—and it’s available for pre-orders now.

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The newest Tesla is a dramatically downsized version of the Model S, designed in cooperation with Radio Flyer. At only 54.8 inches long by 28 inches wide, the new model is significantly smaller than a standard Model S. The cabin is reduced to single-seat capacity, and the front trunk is also smaller, although it still can accommodate both a soccer ball and a football.

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Radio Flyer Tesla Model S Ride-On Toy

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Standard equipment includes working headlights, forward and reverse gears, nine-inch wheels in either silver or trendy matte black, as well as a choice of three exterior colors. The newest Tesla lacks some of the headline features of the standard model, including all-wheel drive, auto pilot, automated parking, and the large touchscreen, but that’s perhaps to be expected given the price: just $499—some $69,601 less than the next-most-expensive Model S.

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The standard battery is a 140-Wh lithium-ion unit, but just as in the larger Model S, a more potent version (packing 190 Wh) is optional. Recharging time is three hours, but unlike other Teslas, in this new version the battery can be swapped out for a fresh one.

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Pre-orders are being accepted now, with deliveries promised in May. We’ll see whether this littlest Model S reaches customers on time—if it’s delayed, some of them could throw a tantrum.
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