I'm relatively new to this forum and have not had a chance to look through many of the topics already discussed. If what I bring up here has already been fully discussed, I apologize for taking up your time.
A prominent feature of the Model S is that it is considered by most to be a luxury automobile. What makes a car a luxury car? Is it price, unique features, performance, etc?
The entry "Luxury Vehicle" in Wikipedia presents a good starting point and brings up interesting categories (biased, of course, by the author's view point.) Copied here are three characteristics stated in that article:
(1) "Luxury cars tend to offer a higher degree of comfort than their mainstream counterparts, common amenities include genuine leather upholstery and polished "woodgrain-look" dashboards. Compared to mainstream vehicles, luxury cars have traditionally emphasized comfort and safety. Luxury vehicles are also a status symbol for conspicuous consumption."
(2) "Contemporary luxury cars also offer higher performance and better handling, which is often known as sport luxury. However in Europe, where large-displacement engines are often heavily taxed and many luxury buyers shy away from conspicuous consumption, brands offer buyers the option of removing exterior engine-identifying badges."
(3) "Forbes noted that the reputation of luxury marques enables them to continually introduce many new safety technologies and comfort amenities, such as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and DVD entertainment systems, before they trickle down to mass market cars. Numerous "smart car" features are largely only found on luxury cars as of 2009."
To me the most compelling feature of luxury cars is the third one because, as I have always believed, the best way to introduce important new technology into automobiles is through high end vehicles where the new technology is, relative to cost, not as expensive, and the buyer is better able, and willing, to absorb this cost.
From the above article it would appear that the pricing of the Model S is towards the low end of the category. If you consider, as I believe, that the battery comprises fully one half of the cost of the Model S, and this is not really a luxury comfort feature, what makes the Model S a luxury car?
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