The Tesla Model S is many things; fast, good looking, and with the most range of any EV on the market right now. That said, it is still a $70,000 vehicle, placing it well beyond the price range of 99% of car buyers. But for Musk’s encore act, he is making affordability the primary goal, along with a real-world 200 mile range that will have even EV skeptics reconsidering their position…if he can actually make it happen.
In an interview with the Detroit News, Musk said that while having paid off the government green loan was like taking a weight off of his chest, the company could not rest on its laurels. It’s next vehicle, the Model X SUV, has been pushed back a year, and while Tesla sales are strong, there is still a whole lotta debt to deal with. After the Model X though, Tesla wants to launch a 200-mile EV with a starting price of about $40,000, about the same price as the Chevy Volt, though the main competition will be the BMW 3-series. Also, it may cure blindness and walk on water.
If that seems like a tall order, that’s because it is, and I am worried for more than one reason. Technically speaking, Musk and Tesla achieved their goal of selling a $50,000 electric vehicle, but only thanks to a $7,500 government tax rebate. Tesla also killed the cheapest Model S just months after production began; the cheapest Model S you can buy, after the government rebate, starts at $62,500. I’m worried he might pull the same stunt again.
That said, Tesla has already beaten the odds when it comes to launching a successful electric car. A 200-mile range at $40,000 would meet the needs of most Americans, and with more Supercharger stations to be in place by the time this next sedan comes out (in about 3 or 4 years), Tesla really could become the next great American automaker. Then again, Musk could pull another sleight of hand, leaving us plebeians still waiting for an affordable, practical EV.
So which do you think it will be readers?
Source: The Detroit News