Unlike many other also-rans, Tesla Motors is succeeding where other electric car companies have failed. And by succeeding, we mean Tesla is actually selling cars, with the Model S sedan reportedly receiving over 10,000 $5,000 deposits to date. At $50,000 after tax credits though, the Model S is still well beyond what most people can afford. So what is Tesla planning to build next? From the sounds of it, an all-electric BMW 3-series rival.
An Electric Rivalry
Talking to AutoCar, Tesla’s chief designer Franz von Holzhausen said that after the Model X SUV (which has also received plenty of deposits), the electric automaker would focus on bringing an event cheaper vehicle to market. The targeted price range is around $30,000, which judging from Tesla’s record on pricing so far, probably includes the $7,500 Federal tax credit.
So far, Tesla’s recipe for success has been simple; produce good-looking electric cars with enough range to justify a premium price tag. The result is a long waiting list for Tesla vehicles, and CEO Elon Musk has always intended to work his way into the lower price brackets. And going after the BMW 3-series only makes sense; it is the dominant luxury sedan in the $30,000-$40,000 price range. Considering that the average new car sells for over $30,000 these days anyways, Tesla might be able to move quite a few reasonably-priced electric luxury sedans with more range for more money.
I still have my doubts about Tesla’s ability to survive on its own. Selling cars is serious business, and selling electric cars is risky business on top of it. But Elon Musk and Tesla Motors are making a good run at it so far. The question is, will they be around long enough to bring an electric 3-series rival to market?