Tesla Motors plans to roll out a “compelling, affordable electric car” that will sell for about half the price of its high-profile Model S by the end of 2016, company chairman Elon Musk said last week.
“We definitely need to be able to bring a lower cost car to market,” Musk said at the company’s recent annual shareholders’ meeting. “Hopefully, in about three to four years we will be able to do that.”
Musk’s statement was consistent with past comments. In 2012, he predicted that half of all cars on the road would be fully electric within 12 to 15 years. Last week, he added that an affordable EV “has really been my goal since the start of Tesla.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk: “That has really been my goal since the start of Tesla.” (Source: revengeoftheelectriccar.com)
Musk, clad in blue jeans and a T-shirt, provided few details to attendees at the shareholders’ meeting. He did say, however, that the vehicle would be a “smaller version of the Model S at about half the price.”
To date, Tesla’s vehicles have been sold at luxury-car prices. Its Roadster started at $109,000. The base Model S starts at $69,900 for a 60-kWh battery pack and goes up to $79,900 for an 85-kWh pack, before federal tax credits are applied. If the new vehicle sells for half the price of the Model S, it could potentially run as low as $30,000 after tax credits are applied.
At the meeting, Musk talked little about battery technology, except to say that he believes the creation of a battery for an affordable EV with a 200-mile all-electric range is doable. “There’s definitely a significant improvement in technology needed to have a compelling, affordable electric car,” he said. “We are working with companies like Panasonic and others on new cell electrochemistry that’s really optimized for automotive use. I feel pretty optimistic that we can get there without any miracles occurring.”
eafpres, you have a good point there. For $10,000, the price difference, you can buy a lot of gas. The cars you are talking about probably get about 30 MPG average. That equals about 75,000 miles at $4 per gallon. The cost of charging is not high, but it is not zero. For the flexibility you get from a gasoline powered car, I think that Musk is still a ways off from providing what is needed. In fact, in four years mileage of the gasoline powered cars will probably be a good bit better than 30.
This afternoon we will fire up our Ford Expedition and drive to Table Rock Lake (235 miles) We will be there until Sunday when we will return home (235 miles), towing our boat. Then next week Friday we will go to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi (670 miles) towing our boat, where we will spend 8 days before returning (670 miles). While in Mississippi we intend to spend a day in New Orleans (130 miles round trip) and another day in Gulf Shores, Alabama (200 miles round trip). Oh yeah, I forgot to mention there will be 5 adults plus an infant in a car seat.
My question: which of these vehicles will accomodate all of this and how much of MY TAX DOLLAR will I have to fork over to subsidize the above? Talking about EVs; which are partly paid for with money from a broke government, who has to borrow money from China; and is powered by a coal fired generator in another part of the country and claiming that is the future is terrifying.
EVs are a niche vehicle that will no more rule the roads than the turbine engines from the 60s or the Wankle engines of the 70's. Industry has made such phenominal steps in producing more fuel efficient, safe vehicles that can only be derailed by attention to something as single purpose as an EV.
Lastly, how are you proposing to dispose of all those batteries when they have died and what are you using to replace the rare earth minerals (which are required to produce these boondoggles) and are controlled by our good friends in China?
Hi Peter--you make my point stronger, thanks. Tesla achieving $30k when the market already is around $20k. Would be like opening a chain to compete with Starbucks and charging $6 instead of $4.50. If the market for premium lattes is already at $4.50, why would anyone enter with an offering 1.5x that?
I think Tesla is doing a lot of good, pushing the technology, learning a lot about battery packs etc. So I think overall they are good for the market. But they need some serious market research if they think they are going after "affordability".
please consider and comment: The 100% electric Nissan Leaf 2013 base model "S" costs $21,300 after federal incentives. If you happen to life in California, you get a $2500 rebate check in the mail about 4 weeks after your purchase. That brings the car to a $18,800 price point.
Range: I would venture to guess 90% of all commutes in the US can be handled with a 100 mile range that I experience (about 75 miles per US standard). I also would guess that many lower income house holds manage to have 2 cars, one of which could be electric.
So the future is here for real adoption and we are seeing it unfold slowly.
And I know of no standards being created to enable owners of any make of EV to use the same charging stations as everyone else. It takes many years to establish a world-wide standard, and then many more years after that to initiate an infrastructure.
It looks like this whole EV thing will collapse on itself if they don't get moving on long term collaborative planning.
For those wanting to do more math and factor in lowered travel costs into the total cost equation of "afforability", the DoE has provided a great tool to compare what the equivalent cost of traveling using one gallon of gasoline vs. traveling the same distance in an EV:
all good points. Next time you consider a new car, a Nissan Leaf (100% electric) as a base model can be had under $20k today.
I drove a 2011 Leaf and now a 2013 model and I can tell you the future is here. I go up to 100 miles at freeway speeds with it; it became my main mode of transportation. Rarely I need to go on longer trips and for that I have my other car. Charging is no issue, my company lets me use a plain 110V outlet, sufficient to charge all day. At home I use a a dryer outlet with a modified standard charging cable that came with the car.
So if anyone is serious about a 100% electric car, it can be had under $20k today.
There are a wide variety of choices of small cars priced under $20k. That matches up better with lower incomes, who need to reduce their commuting costs etc. $30k puts the car out of reach of as much as half the customer base. The price tag (in 2013 dollars) needs to be $20k or less for real adoption.
California’s plan to mandate an electric vehicle market isn’t the first such undertaking and certainly won’t be the last. But as the Golden State ratchets up for its next big step toward zero-emission vehicle status in 2018, it might be wise to consider a bit of history.
By now, most followers of the electric car market know that another Tesla Model S caught fire in early February. The blaze happened in a homeowner’s garage in Toronto. After parking the car, the owner left his garage. Moments later, the smoke detector blared, the fire department was called, and the car was ruined. To date, no one knows why.