Customers tour new plant for the Model S in California when promised a new 0 to 60 mph time of 4.5 seconds to compete against premium models such as the M5.

Tesla Motors' CEO, Elon Musk, has promised prospective 2012 Model S customers a quicker sprint time for a sport version of the upcoming model. Musk was speaking at a gathering of Tesla customers who were given a tour of the automaker's Freemont, California plant.

Musk said the new Model S Sport will have a sprint time of 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 4.5 seconds. That's more than a second faster than the previously advertised figure of 5.6 seconds. That new sprint time will make the Model S competitive with the likes of the BMW M5, which sports a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time of 4.4 seconds.

The Tesla Model S 160M base- model with a range of 160 miles (258 km) will start at a price of $57,400 - but a federal tax credit in the United States worth $7,500 reduces that to $49,900.

Musk also asked those prospective buyers to help promote the car to EV skeptics. "We need your help," said Musk, in asking those in attendance to go out and talk up the upcoming Model S.

Tesla hopes to begin deliveries of the Model S in 2012.

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