• Aug 19, 2008
Two big British car magazines are reporting on some of Tesla's future product plans today following the latest promotional tour by SVP Marketing Darryl Siry. There isn't a whole lot new in the articles that hasn't already been reported here and on AutoblogGreen over the past year, but there were a couple of interesting items and errors. First of all AutoCar is reporting that Tesla is planning to use the platform of the Model S sedan (formerly known as WhiteStar) for future vehicles, which makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, they are also reporting that Tesla is planning an electric SUV off that platform, so we contacted Siry to check on this. Siry told ABG that there are in fact no plans to build an SUV. An SUV body style was just used as an example to demonstrate the flexibility of the platform.

Helping to achieve that flexibility is a reconfigured battery pack that lays under the floor rather than upright behind the seats as in the Roadster. This will allow for a modular configuration so that that the Model S can be offered with different range options. The base model is expected to get a 160-mile range for it's $60,000 base price, while 220- or 300-mile options will cost extra. The magazines did get a chance to see design sketches of the Model S, but Siry wouldn't release them. For now he will only show them in the same room, but we do know the Model S will reportedly have a coupe-like profile on its four-door hatch body style. If Tesla can avoid the launch problems it had with the Roadster, the Model S will be on the road in 2010.

[Sources: AutoCar, CAR, Tesla Motors, AutoblogGreen]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      No SUV? Good!
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Epyx

        On streets and highways, SUVs generally bring no benefit versus other types of automobiles.

        SUVs are (generally-speaking) less aerodynamic, heavier, and less safe to motorists generally than sedans. The first two factors reduce range/efficiency. The third brings harm to the drivers and non-drivers of SUVs. See this article by Malcolm Gladwell - http://gladwell.com/2004/2004_01_12_a_suv.html

        For similar hauling to an SUV: a station wagon (Volvo V70), small crossover (Subaru Forester), or minivan (Honda Odyssey) are better options. If the intent is to use the off-road capabilities on a regular basis, maybe an electric SUV would be appropriate, but the research isn't in yet. Maybe a diesel-powered SUV or pickup might be the best option, thanks to tourquier ratios.

        Either way, as a commuter/street/highway vehicle, an electric car is best if it's a car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Vijay, do sports cars bring "benefit" vs other types of automobiles? It seems to me they have less seating and luggage space than all other cars... so should we get rid of them, too? Why are you telling others what a "better option" is? I'm not an SUV fan, but I do like choices. Why don't we all live in mobile homes, when they would work just fine for everyone? Because some people just want something else, that's why. And not everyone wants a minivan or station wagon, simple as that.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed. Counter productive in any form.
        • 6 Years Ago
        AutoBlog should have said this:

        'Tesla Not planning on...doing much of anything really."
      • 6 Years Ago
      @ Dustin

      "...not everyone wants a minivan or station wagon, simple as that."

      Agreed. I was giving reasons to Epyx why it is bad idea *for Tesla* to do SUVs right now. I never said that electric SUVs are inherently bad. For clarity, I probably should have added that the Roadster is probably the most efficient design, because weight and aerodynamics are already optimized. Either way, Tesla is not in the position to worry about the diversity of the entire marketplace (as you and I can be).

      The main criticism of electrics is range. Therefore, assuming the Model S is Tesla's first step towards the commuter car market, maximizing range is best thing for Tesla's future success. With the same 160-mile battery, what would the efficiency difference be between an SUV and a car?

      Here's the analogy: The 2006 Volvo XC90, V70, and S80 were all built on the same P2 platform. Note the identical engines and gear ratios.

      http://www.cars.com/go/compare/trimCompare.jsp?acodes=USB60VOS011A0,USB60VOC061B0,USB60VOC111A0

      Curb Weights / Drag Coefficients / MPG (city/hwy)
      XC90 - 4544 lbs / .36 / 17/23 mpg
      V70 - 3433 lbs / .30 / 20/28 mpg
      S80 - 3737 lbs / .28 / 21/30 mpg

      The XC90 weighs about 18% more than the S80 and gets about 20-25% worse gas mileage. The V70 wagon has comparable cargo room as the XC90, without the huge efficiency impact. My analogy puts the range of the Tesla SUV at about 120-130 miles-per-charge, perhaps worse.

      I'm sure real engineers can help me refine this argument, but Tesla needs to maintain the highest-possible range on its early vehicles, something that can be done better outside of SUVs. If/when it does get to SUVs, I'm sure it will be because battery technology allows comparable or better reanges. Even still, there is still no doubt that same-platform cars, station wagons, and minivans will get better range on the same battery.
      • 6 Years Ago
      test
      • 6 Years Ago
      After talking to a SUV owner about how useless I feel it is that most SUV drivers drive alone, don't go offroad, and don't need the size I was given the answer of "I am remodeling my cabin an hour away, I have a son, a large dog, my son uses the SUV for his bands instruments... Etc etc.

      Even a mid-size Tesla crossover would be a good idea. In the future some pickups, crossovers, vans, and perhaps even a SUV would be nice to see.