The path to availability for cars of the future is one wrought with roadblocks, potholes, and indeed IEDs -- increasingly expensive developments. This was most recently seen with Fisker's Karma getting a price boost up to $95,900, a hefty jump over initial $80,000 estimates, but Tesla is taking this chance to give new reassurances that its Model S sedan's price of $57,000 is comfortable. That's largely thanks to smaller Li-Ion batteries, which are similar to those used in laptops and, according to Musk, will be swappable as a single unit. This type of batteries are much less expensive to produce than the large, monolithic packs used in the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt, about $200 per kWH vs. $750 for Nissan's. That's cheap enough for Tesla to assure that it can still make a profit on the Model S, despite its cost being set at roughly half that of the Roadster. Will that still be the case when it hits production in 2012? We can't wait to find out.
Update: Defendor commented with a link to this CNET article in which Elon Musk indicates the battery pack will be swappable too. The post was updated to mention this. By: Engadget