Tesla Motors, a month after starting Model S deliveries in the U.K., said its flagship electric sedan is among the cars being considered for purchase by the government there to transport officials.
The Government Car Service that provides vehicles for U.K. ministers will make the initial purchases under a program to buy more than 150 ultra-low emission vehicles, the nation's Department for Transport said today in London. The government has set aside 5 million pounds ($8.6 million) for the purchases, according to a release.
"The Model S we understand will be under evaluation for inclusion," said Simon Sproule, Palo Alto, California-based Tesla's spokesman. The sedan was among the cars on display at a press conference, and "it would be great to see California- built Teslas transporting Her Majesty's ministers on official business across London," said Sproule, who was born in the U.K.
The carmaker led by Elon Musk is accelerating overseas deliveries as part of a plan to boost production by more than 50 percent this year. Deliveries of right-hand-drive Teslas to the U.K., where the car is priced from 50,280 pounds, began in June and Musk inaugurated the start of shipments to China in April.
Customers in Hong Kong are to start getting cars next week, Sproule said. The company this week said its third electric vehicle will be called the Model 3, and is due by 2017. The car is to have at least 200 miles of range per charge and have a base price about half that of Model S, which starts at about $71,000 in the U.S. The second addition to Tesla's lineup, the Model X sport utility vehicle, arrives in 2015.
The prospect of government purchases in the U.K., which already has consumer incentives for electric car purchases and is poised to install charging infrastructure, come as China this week set a goal for electric cars to make up at least 30 percent of government vehicle purchases by 2016.
The Model S, able to travel about 250 miles or more per charge, has the best range of any vehicle being considered by the U.K. program, Sproule said.
"It's the only one that can make at least two round trips between 10 Downing Street and Chequers without recharging," said Sproule, referring to the London residence and country retreat of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.
In another development, Musk once thought the electric car company's lineup would spell out SEX. There would be the Model S sedan, the upcoming Model X sport-utility vehicle and later, the Model E, a smaller, less expensive vehicle for the masses.
Stymied by Ford Motor -- it has the rights to E -- Musk is now going for Model 3 for the third car, he told the British automotive news website Auto Express.
The Model 3 will go on sale in 2017 for about $40,000, said Sproule, although the price could change as the vehicle gets closer to market.
The car will be about 20 percent smaller than Telsa's Model S and much less expensive.
Tesla shares fell 0.8 percent to $215.40 at the close in New York. The shares have risen 43 percent this year.
The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.