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Tesla Planning A Cheaper Sedan Next

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On: Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 12:12PM | By: Chris Weiss

Tesla Planning A Cheaper Sedan Next

While the short driving range of other electric vehicles makes for a questionable purchase, the 300 miles of the Tesla Model S is the surest bet in the EV market. If they could somehow figure out a way to cut that $77,000 price tag by a few ten thousands, the electric vehicle might actually become quite popular. Of course, they did figure out a way to cut the price tag by $20,000, but that way includes cutting the range nearly in half, which gives the base Model S the same problem as other EVs: not enough driving range.

While it very well could still be too expensive to be the mainstream EV solution the world needs, Tesla does plan to launch a less expensive vehicle in the future.

Details are essentially non-existent at this point, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk told Inside Line that the automaker and innovator is pushing back the next-generation Roadster in order to hasten the development track of a "Gen 3" electric car. That model is said to be smaller and less expensive than either the Model S or Model X, and the report mentions competing in a broader passenger vehicle market. He didn't specify a model type, but based on the description and the other cars in the line, we're thinking a small sedan or two-door 2+2 would make the most sense.

Musk said that Tesla hopes to get that model introduced to market by early 2015. The company will push the launch of the new Roadster, originally said to be a 2014 launch, back until after the Gen 3.

While we're disappointed to hear the Roadster will be delayed, the new model is intriguing. Tesla made a large step toward a more mainstream demographic with the Model S, but at $57,000 base price (before federal tax incentives), that model is still at a luxury car price point. If Tesla could lower that price by $10,000 or $20,000, moving the after-tax incentive price into the $30s, it could move very close to the price of mainstream EVs and plug-in hybrids like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt.

The base Model S uses a 40 kWh battery pack to deliver a Tesla-claimed 160 miles of range. While that's light compared to the $77,000 85-kWh model's 300-mile range, it's well over the 100 miles advertised by the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric. In a smaller, lighter car, that battery should be able to offer even more mileage. We assume a Tesla-designed car will also offer better performance and better looks than other EVs, too.

Given Tesla's prowess in creating performance-oriented, beautifully styled cars, the Gen 3 model could definitely be the attractive mainstream EV the world has been waiting for. But the price-range combination needs to be right.



Sami18 | 12:25PM (Tue, Feb 21, 2012)

I dont think any one is going to buy a EV for $77,000 when you can buy the same car for $40,000 cheaper but you wont get as much range but you will save a lot of money. If Tesla can come down on the price and match the EV cars from Nissan, Ford and Chevy then they would be in business.


Stephy21 | 12:30PM (Tue, Feb 21, 2012)

I dont see why the EV vehicles are so expensive, i am sure the technology isn't cheap but they are really trying to break some one.

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