Tesla is breaking the S' preproduction testing into two phases, alpha and beta. Within each phase the automaker will be building multiple test mules as it attempts to home in on its targeted performance, range, and crash safety. Tesla also notes that the Alpha development phase has been in progress since last year, quoting its Vehicle Dynamicist Graham Sutherland when he states, "The first Alpha is amazingly agile for a car of its size. It has great handling balance and poised ride with communicative steering. Just goes to show what combining a low center of gravity with a very stiff body structure can achieve."
Of course, the Model S can attribute its low center of gravity to its flattened battery pack acting as a ballast just below the vehicle's floor.
Along with this statement, Tesla has released video of a Model S Alpha whipping silently along a country back road. Check out the footage below.