MONTEREY, Calif.—The crazed minds over at Saleen Automotive Inc., including Steve Saleen himself, are set to launch a US$152,000 conundrum on the world: Would you pay performance car prices for a zero emissions sedan?
If you answered yes, then we’d like to introduce you to the Saleen FOURSIXTEEN, the Tesla Model S-based “performance electric car” that may be the solution for your insatiable go-fast appetite without upsetting your friendly neighbourhood fossil fuel foes.
Before we proceed it should be noted that just how fast the FOURSIXTEEN will go has yet to be publicized by Saleen.
While the tuner house has promised “faster acceleration” thanks to the goodies it has packed into the already stout P85Model S the FOURSIXTEEN is based on—the top-of-the-line Tesla scoots to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds—Saleen has yet to publish the performance specs of its all-electric sedan.
The Saleen gets its power from the stock three-phase, four pole AC induction motor with copper rotor, but puts the estimated 416-horsepower to the ground through a Weir Performance Maxgrip locking differential designed specifically for Saleen.
The FOURSIXTEEN also features an 11.39:1 final gear ratio.
Cooling the electric drive system down is a larger volume radiator, bigger cooling fans and a high-flow water pump “to help maintain consistent temperatures in more stressful performance applications,” according to Saleen.
“Electric drivetrains are unique in that they can generate an incredible amount of torque at zero RPM,” the company’s vice-president of advanced engineering, Sven Etzelsberger, said in a statement.
“Our challenge was really to find methods to manage the energy that is generated by the electric motor and rotor assembly. With the FOURSIXTEEN we have successfully found a comprehensive solution to increase performance and harness power in an efficient manner.”
Holding the FOURSIXTEEN down is a reworked, “track-calibrated” suspension system that features a monotube coilover setup and swaybars.
Saleen said the FOURSIXTEEN suspension system can also be ordered in a fully-adjustable configuration.
The car’s factory stability control system has also undergone a track tested performance enhancement, with some software tweaks that give the sedan better cornering response and drivability.
Bringing it all to a halt is an upgraded brake package that features 14-inch two-piece aluminum hat vented rotors and multi-piston front calipers with performance brake pads.
Optional carbon ceramic brakes are available for the FOURSIXTEEN.
Of course Saleen also made some changes to the overal look of the car, which it calls “a harmonious blend of aerodynamic aggressiveness and subtle classiness.”
The FOURSIXTEEN gets a redesigned front fascia and carbon fibre rear diffuser, as well as plenty of aerodynamic aides to help generate downforce and diffusion.
In the cockpit, the standard Model S gets a complete overhaul, with new leather seating, carbon fibre dash accents, and a new centre console.
The seats have also been remolded to add bolstering for front and rear passengers.
“Our theme of an electric four-seat supercar really comes to life with the interior of this car,” said Sean Smith, Saleen’s design director. “Our design team spent a lot of time evaluating different materials, fitments, and finishes to accomplish the refined interior design of the FOURSIXTEEN while still keeping the modern sports car inspiration intact. I think the result is appropriate for this new class of electric American performance cars.”
Pricing for the FOURSIXTEEN is set to start at US$152,000, including the cost of the P85Model S on which it is built.
Orders are being accepted, and Saleen expects delivery to take six to eight weeks.
To find out more about the car log on to the Saleen website.