Tesla Model E Will Be Built Mostly Of Steel, Priced “Realistically”


2014 Tesla Model S

Elon Musk has said time and again that Tesla is building a BMW 3-series rival with 200 miles of range priced around $35,000. To keep costs down, the car formerly known Tesla Model E will be made mostly from steel, and priced realistically compared to established rivals, it was revealed in a recent interview with AutoCar.

Speaking to the British car magazine about the Model E, former Aston Martin executive and current Tesla VP of engineering Chris Porritt said that:

“I expect there will be very little carry-over. We’ve got to be cost-effective. We can’t use aluminium for all the components.”

In other words, the Model E won’t be riding on the same platform as the Model S and Model X. Instead, the Model E will get an all-new steel body that will be about 20% smaller than the Model S, so even though it will use heavier steel for most of the chassis, it could still end up being lighter. Also, there’s still the likelihood that the Model E will get a few aluminum components to cut down on weight, such as the hood or trunk lid. Making the Model E from mostly steel will certainly make it cheaper, but just how cheap remains an issue of intense debate and analysis though.

Another factor is the that battery prices continue to drop, and Musk’s proposed battery Gigafactory could reduce battery costs another 30%, making the Model E cost effective and more importantly, profitable. Still, the final price remains to be set, as we aren’t likely to get our first peek of the Model E until next year at the soonest. Musk has said time and again his goal is to get the cost down around $35,000, though whether or not that factors in tax credits, only Elon knows. Porritt says that the Model E will be priced “realistically” compared to more established rivals like the BMW 3-series and Audi A4 though, so the Model E could come in closer to $30,000.

Wouldn’t that be something?


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.

  • terminator

    If you can get an electric car in the 35k range that can get 200 miles to a charge then you will finally see the mass adoption of electric cars which will bring the priced down even further.

  • I hope Nissan takes the next step and beats Tesla to producing a 150-200 mile range ~$35K car. I’m pretty sure that Telsa can do it, but Nissan can, too. I hope that Mitsubishi and VW and Smart and Kia step up their game, as well.

    This requires low aerodynamic drag, first and foremost. And it requires free-wheel coasting by default, with driver controlled regen *when needed*.

    At 30MPH, 50% of the load on the drivetrain is coming from aero drag. At 55MPH is is about 75%. Lower the drag and you lower the consumption of electricity – by a lot. If the Leaf had as low a Cd as the EV1, it would already be able to go 120-140 miles.

    Low drag means less expensive battery packs take you farther.

    Direct heated defrosters are coming (Mercedes B-Class Electric and VW eGolf) and heatpumps, and heated seats, etc. Thermal insulation (Mercedes) will also pay dividends, and reduce the energy required to heat and cool the inside of the car.

    If they use stainless steel, then the car can be lighter, because they don’t need to account for weakening from rust, and they save 40-50 pounds of weight from not having to paint the car. Injected foam into the space between the stainless skins gives you a lot higher strength *and* insulation in one go.

    Solar PV on the roof of your home and an EV (or two!) in the driveway is the way of the future!

  • wattleberry

    The picture appears to be of a silver Model S for some reason and, it may be the angle, but the front wing looks out of place in relation to the door.

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