Auto industry

Published on July 20th, 2012 | by Christopher DeMorro

Tesla’s Next Car: An Electric BMW 3-Series Fighter

July 20th, 2012 by  

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?

Source: AutoCar

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • It will be interesting to see what competes with 3 especially since BMW is well-poised for the electric/hybrid market.

  • danwat1234

    I think Tesla will prosper. So far it looks like they are succeeding and have a good reputation so at this point it would be hard to stop them. They should be able to scale back if demand goes down so they can still survive just in case but I think they will prosper

    • Susanna Schick

      totally! I have tremendous faith in them, I think if they got through the early stages, which Elon said was the worst in 2008, the rest is cake. They’re growing a market so it doesn’t make sense to produce too much too quickly. Also, as the price of batteries continues to fall, they’ll be in a great position.

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  • ASG

    As a new Tesla Model S reservation holder (10,636) I can vouch that the Model S is an incredible car! I’ve lusted after this vehicle since originally announced, but @ 6’8″ I wasn’t going to drop a $5K deposit w/o sitting in a production model to validate that it would be comfortable to drive. I went with a friend for his test drive @ the new Portland, OR Tesla store on Sunday and rode in the back middle seat w/2 other adults – not comfortable, but passable for a juant to dinner or home from drinks if needed. The car rode like a bat outta hell w/my friend behind the wheel. And the interior was comperable to most every Audi/BMW Iv’e ridden in recently. Icing on the cake, when I sat in the driver’s seat of the production showroom model there was plenty of room for me in the cockpit! So, $5K later I now get to figure out how much battery I want, and what extra features I ‘need.’ Tesla will succeed. I now have no doubt!

    • Susanna Schick

      when are they telling you to expect it? I keep looking out for them on the streets of LA and have yet to see one in the wild, even on a recent trip to Mountain View! Even Elon still drives his “old” Roadster. Which is wise, when you have customers ready to fork over 6 figures for cars that are slowly rolling off the assembly line.

  • peter van deventer

    All fired up? Ready to go! Wishing you love, health and happiness.

    Dr. Peter van Deventer (PhD Ohio State 1992)
    The Netherlands/USA

  • I might take a look at it when more details arrive. & $50k for an S isn’t too bad, after all that’s right about the starting price for a V6 Audi A6.

  • BrianKeez

    Yes – Tesla will be around to produce their ‘3-series rival’ vehicle.

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  • zn

    You know, I really wish this site provided dates on their stories (what’s with that anyway!) so that I could go back and look at all the stories this writer has posted saying he doesn’t believe Tesla will survive and that he’s not sure they can stand on their own two feet. It’s now mid-2013 and things are looking pretty amazing for Tesla. I can’t wait for 2016 when all the doubters start singing the praises of this brand.

    • 1. there are dates. You seem confused.

      2. Chris has always supported Tesla – I’m the one who had doubts and didn’t expect them to be around in 2013. Amazingly, sites can have more than one author!

      3. you can see everything an author wrote, in chronological order, by clicking on their authorbox, which is on every article.

      4. try not to act *too* smug while you’re learning to internet.

  • Tom

    Drove a Model S last month – beyond amazing, and I’m not even talking about the power. When the price point on Tesla cars drops, pretty much no one is going to want anything else. The archaic laws governing auto sales that the industry is trying to use to suppress the upstart are a pitiful attempt of ostriches unwilling to modernize or improve a pattern that is a century old. Tesla is a disruptive force, deservedly.

    And like the op, I don’t see any datestamp on the articles on this site either, just on the comments.

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