Though Tesla has not yet released the name of its upcoming electric car for the masses, the Tesla Model E as it has been dubbed is the subject of much rumor and debate. Tesla’s chief designer, Franz von Holzhauzen, fanned the flames of speculation with a recent interview, which he sets the probable unveiling of the Model E at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
So we’re still more than a year away from the electric car Tesla has always said its all about; an EV for the masses, a car priced at a point where most Americans can actually take it into consideration. Rumor has the pre-tax credit price set somewhere around $35,000, putting the out-of-pocket cost under $30,000. A real-world 200 mile driving range is the hoped-for range, though Tesla boss Elon Musk has been uncharacteristically tight-lipped about the Model E.
With the launch of the Model X in 2014, I don’t expect Elon to start talking about the mass-market Tesla until just a few weeks before the Detroit show. Franz’s interview also revealed that the Model E could be as large as the Model S, though it will have its own distinct design and platform. While mention of a Tesla pickup confirmed that it wouldn’t be spun off of the Model E chassis, Franz shot down the notion of a small Tesla city car modeled after SmartCar, at least for now.
I expect we’ll hear a lot of chatter about the Model X, which may or may not be at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. Once the Model X is rolling off of assembly lines and dominating the press though, we’ll start getting tidbits of the Model E here or there. Perhaps by the time it debuts, I’ll finally be able to afford one.