Tesla Motors
will offer its next production model (and its fourth ever, including the discontinued Roadster) by 2017 at the latest, part of the California-based automaker work to offer a less-expensive option than the Model S sedan and the upcoming Model X SUV. The dates were given by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a recent interview to Engadget, who said the car would be here, "Hopefully 2016, but I would say no later than 2017."

The yet-to-be-named model will be "slightly smaller" than the Model S and could be priced at about half of what the Model S costs. The Model S ranges from $70,000 to $100,000. Musk also said the company's network of Supercharger stations will always be free to Tesla owners and that, while the company has "great product," its service offerings have room for improvement.

Last week, Tesla said that it earned its first-ever quarterly profit for the three months ended March 31, and that it was discontinuing the least expensive, shortest-range Model S because of lack of demand. Musk, in the Engadget interview, called the 40-kWh model "kind of sluggish."

The company also said last month that the debut of its Model X SUV would not come out until late 2014 to allow Tesla to better focus on Model S sales and service.


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  • 24 Comments
      FREEPAT75014
      • 1 Year Ago
      Please genius Elton add a Range Extender "pure generator" to your slightly delayed wonderfull Model X so I can be 1st to purchase one in France ! This should come before this lower cost full-electric. It would be a game changer in the german-owned HE space in Europe, making it a full car replacement option, instead of just another 2nd car limited to local commutes but incapable to take your familly to far away vacation trips to hostile countries with no fast charge plugs before many years from now .... Please find a way. Ask Daimler or else for a small Mercedes ICE engine, or a micro gaz turbine, or whatever you want that fits and leaves enough room for the laggage, and is efficient and reliable. The world need Tesla.
        xxricefarmerxx
        • 10 Months Ago
        @FREEPAT75014
        yep, thats what i always said, the infrastructure just isn't there for full electric, at least give us an option to have a range extender like the bmw i3
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      He's hoping for a big break-through in battery prices between now & then. I hope it happens too. Perhaps with all the PHEVs and EVs on the road, there will be enough R&D for a big change to happen. But you never know. The laws of physics are what they are and cannot be fooled.
      Warren
      • 1 Year Ago
      So let's say we are looking at a Leaf sized car with a 40 Kwh pack for $40K-$50k, which he has also promised to have 200 miles range. Given Tesla's use of aluminum to save weight, and better aerodynamics than the Leaf, it will still be a stretch without a battery breakthrough.
        Grendal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Warren
        Tesla expects a better battery. Elon has said that the Gen III will have a next-gen li-ion battery. I don't know if the Gen III will have better aerodynamics because they plan on it looking good. I expect about the same Cd as the Model S but have a better CdA.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Elon Musk has more or less always delivered on his predictions. There is no reason to believe that with careful planning and a lot more capital, he can't move to volume production. Whether there are sufficient buyers to justify a volume EV in four years time will depend on a number of factors which Elon Musk is probably the best person to assess. His track record indicates that his predictions should be taken seriously.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      2015 was a little too ambitious. It looks more and more like I'll be getting a Model S instead of the Gen III. Oh well.
        MTN RANGER
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        Yes, I'm looking at a Nov '14 purchase when my Volt lease is up. It will probably come down to a '15 Volt or i3 ReX.
      Naturenut99
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yeeeaaaahhhhh !!! Sounds good to me. Can't wait.
      PeterScott
      • 1 Year Ago
      Staring Generation 1, with a low volume roadster based on a Lotus was generation one step that some companies achieve. Generation 2, going to in house design/production at fairly low volume/profitable production was a big challenge, that hasn't been achieved in some time. - Model X is just a tweak on Generation 2, no real challenge. Generation 3, going to high volume, lower cost production will be a huge challenge. Can they cut prices in half while still building the car from Aluminum? Can they master large scale steel production if not? How are they going achieve massive reductions in battery costs in just 3 or 4 years? Tesla is going to be a very interesting company to watch for a few more years.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PeterScott
        Aluminum is actually rather cheap these days.. eventually it may be cheaper than steel. For example, i just bought a full aluminum bike from wally world for $175. Go look at what a chromoly bike costs... What's really preventing full scale aluminum or even just higher strength steel adoption from coming online is that all the manufacturer's equipment is set up to deal with the cheaper forms of steel. The change over will happen one day, and great weight reductions in cars will be the benefit!
          BipDBo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Chromoly is a superior material and has been for quite some time. It is a steel alloy with chromium and molybdenum. It has a very high strength to weight ratio higher than the AL used in Walmart bikes. It also has better vibration dampening. A frame of chromoly can be lighter and stronger than one of AL. The advantage that AL has over steel alloys isn't it's strength to weight ratio but rather it's density. A sheet of steel 1 mm thick is about the same weight as an aluminum sheet 3 mm thick. Both sheets will have the about same tensile (pulling) strength. The aluminum sheet, however, will be harder to bend because it is thicker. It's for the same reason that a beam is stronger when it is deeper, but not heavier. Steel has a very high modulus of resilience and modulus or rigidity, so that it can absorb a lot of energy per unit mass in the event of an impact. In conclusion, steel is a very apt material to use for building cars. It's not just economy that has driven it's widespread use. There are difficulties to get over due to its high density, but good engineering and use of higher strength alloys and tempering processes have made great strides.
          PeterScott
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          I wouldn't say Aluminum is cheap. It is about 4 times the price/mass of steel. At best you might build the same body with half the mass. So still about double the price to do a car in Aluminum, rather than steel from materials cost. Not a huge deal on $70000 car, but a huge issue on a $35000 car, where you are looking to save every dollar to make a price point.
        Warren
        • 1 Year Ago
        @PeterScott
        He could do it with a radically more aero design, without a battery breakthrough. But we know that the public doesn't take well to fishmobile-clowncar designs, a.k.a. sensible aerodynamics.
      Jim1961
      • 1 Year Ago
      If there's very little demand for the 40 kWh Model S, what does that imply for the affordable Tesla which is less of a car than the 40 kWh Model S?
        Tim Wilcox
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jim1961
        The high-end model S is loaded with electronic safety and luxury equipment. It stands to reason that someone who can afford $70-100K would want the more powerful variant. Like any automaker, Tesla will likely use a smaller output drivetrain for a smaller, lighter, less comprehensively-equipped price leader like the E.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jim1961
        In 3 years, the cheaper car will assuredly not be "less of a car" than the Model S, of any variety. Technology has improved and will likely continue to improve. For Model-S buyers, they likely don't care much about money and thus go for the best car, especially when the extra money gives you so much more range. For the buyers of a 20-40k car, the money will be a significant consideration when buying the car. Totally different demographics.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jim1961
        smaller car, and lighter with a smaller motore; the same 40kwh battery might give it the same range of the model s. you wont get the same performance as a porch, but why would you expect it... an electric motor that gives the same performance as a Honda Civic or a corolla will be much energy efficient so that a smaller, less expensive, battery will give the car a range similar to that of the Model S
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      If Tesla can have a $35k car that can go 200+ miles on a charge it could be a game changer. It will come down to size and overall performance. I hope they succeed!
        MTN RANGER
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        Realistically for Blue Star, I'm expecting a 40kW model to MSRP for $40k and a 60kW model for $50k. That would fit in nicely with the $70k+ Model S. By 2017, battery prices will probably allow this to happen. By then the Model S will be upgraded to a 80kW base and 110kW highend.
      JP
      • 1 Year Ago
      45 minute talk with JB Straubel about Tesla and the future. Worth watching. http://fora.tv/2013/02/06/revolutionizing_the_automobile
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can't even remember the predictions we all made. Anyone remember where that thread is?
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      It would be cool that someone will have fought and won when it comes to regular mirrors vs. digital mirrors by the time the Gen III comes out.
        spannermonkeyuk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        Cameras aren't entirely a gift to efficiency, unfortunately. The requirements for image size, definition, brightness, and 'always on' state mean that the 12V power requirement is quite high. Apply that to the relatively low speeds that dominate even the EPA 5-cycle test (low aero contribution) and there needs to be further improvement in camera and display technology to make them a net benefit that's tangible by the most important public metric: EPA range.
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