Timelines change, but when the timeline in question is the debut of the upcoming 'cheap' electric vehicle from Tesla Motors, potentially called the Model E, and that it's being moved up by a year or two, it catches our eye. Instead of the hopefully-2016-no-later-than-2017 debut we heard about earlier this year, Tesla higher-ups are now saying the less-expensive EV will get here in 2015. In January.

Tesla might actually unveil the Model E at the Detroit Auto Show in 2015.

Tesla design chief Franz Von Holzhausen spoke with AutoBild recently and dropped the bombshell that the company might actually unveil the Model E at the Detroit Auto Show in 2015 (see update below), which would mark the first time the California automaker has ever unveiled a vehicle at an auto show (all other debuts were at Tesla-organized events). Of course, a 2015 NAIAS debut could still mean a 2016 on-road date, but if the first public look at the Model E is just 13 months away, that's got to put a bit of fear into other automakers who are getting used to selling EVs for around $35,000, which is the rumored price. Previously, Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted that a 1Q 2015 reveal was possible.

Despite the earlier timeline and a few notable fires in the Model S recently, Von Holzhausen said he's not feeling pressured to rush the car out the door. "The fires don't affect my work," he told AutoBild (in our translation). "We're more interested in making a safe car. That's not changing." Oh, and he also confirmed that Tesla is working on a pickup truck, and said it will be built on its own platform and that it would "make sense" for Tesla to make a small city car someday. As for Tesla's next vehicle, the Model X, it is "nearly finished" and the team is working on the last aerodynamic tweaks.

Von Holzhausen also took a swipe at the look of the BMW i3, saying it looks more like it came from IKEA than a design house. He's not totally dismissive, though, saying he likes the look, even if it "doesn't have to be so funky."

UPDATE: Tesla Communications' Patrick Jones emailed AutoblogGreen to say that Von Holzhausen's interview wasn't quite accurate. He said, "I just want to clarify the timeline has not changed and to say that the vehicle will definitively arrive in 2015 is not accurate. ... We have not confirmed an unveiling at Detroit Auto Show 2015 and the timeline for a consumer roll out has not changed."


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  • 58 Comments
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd certainly be very happy if it happened, but it isn't. Revealing the car isn't the same as going into production. The Model X was revealed in February of 2012 and won't be produced until late 2014. So timetable-wise the Model E reveal in early 2015 would be standard timing for production in late 2017. It will take at least a years preparation just to set up the production lines. You still have alpha and beta testing and beta cars for crash testing. This just seems like business as usual for 2017 production. I'll bet they have 100,000 pre-orders before the car starts production.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        Yes, a reasonable person would not use the word "arrive"... But then again ABG writers are far from reasonable.
        m_2012
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        I believe this article just reaffirmed the fact that Tesla is still on schedule. Nothing has changed, nothing to see here.
        Sorten Borten
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        Exactly. It doesn't sound like the timeline has changed at all.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      You have the Model X - large crossover based on the Model S platform - due out late 2014. Then the Model E - smaller sedan with the new smaller platform - debuts early 2015 - production 2017 (late) After that you'll have the Model Y? - smaller crossover based on the E platform - debuts early 2017 - production early 2019 to late 2019. Then you will finally get the new Roadster (Model R?) sometime 2018 to 2020 also based on the E platform. 2018 at the earliest as a 10th anniversary edition. An EV truck would be sometime around 2020. There's my aggressive guesswork timetable.
        Tim W.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        Nah, not the model Y, it would have to be the model I ... that way you can have a SEXIER lineup of cars when the new roadster is finally unveiled.
          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Tim W.
          Tesla copyrighted Model Y at the same time as they did the Model E. Elon has said it was just a joke but there has been confirmation from numerous sources that the Gen III is the Model E. So that means the E crossover could easily be the Y.
          Chris M
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Tim W.
          Well, sooner or later Tesla is going to run out of letters and will have to come up with different model names. That will be interesting.
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 1 Year Ago
      >>"Von Holzhausen also took a swipe at the look of the BMW i3, saying it looks more like it came from IKEA than a design house." Hah, I like this guy. Not afraid to tell it like it is. With a Model E at $35K, Tesla is going to have a huge hit on its hands.
        Samuel H
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Winnie Jenkems
        Except in Germany where they are extremely biased toward German-made vehicles.
      Kuro Houou
      • 1 Year Ago
      LOL, the i3 designed by Ikea :) I think its worse then that, designed by Fisher Price.
        sirvixisvexed
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Kuro Houou
        Lately, products whose names begin with lower case i's tend to be too heavy on image and too light on content.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      So this article basically means nothing. Good job, abg.
      Dean Hammond
      • 1 Year Ago
      the Truck idea has me wondering if they are working WITH one of the Big three.......
      danfred411
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think Tesla is missing a good opportunity by having a gap in the roadster production for 5 damn years. They could relatively easily have done their own version of the Lotus and continued production with a new cost optimized car. It would broaden their palette with little effort. 2017 is way late. The roadster is a tiny simple car with high price. Uniquely easy to make money on. Even though they failed spectacularly first time around.
        Grendal
        • 1 Day Ago
        @danfred411
        If they make their own design then they'd have to pay for all the testing that goes with a new design.
          m_2012
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Grendal
          Danfred....what?!
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Grendal
          @ danfred411 That's why Tesla make cars, and you don't !
          danfred411
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Grendal
          what test? hammer it into a wall? that's not a major hassle. if you mean endurance, run it on cobble stone for 24 hours and that's pretty much covered. plastic and alu doesn't rust. But if they so desired, they could simply make their own largely identical chassis and continue the car as is and circumvent certification that way. I would reengineer the pack though. 450kg is wrong. I'd bring that down to around 200kg or even less. Without reducing range much. And I would certainly get rid of that idiotic 100Watt constant drain.
        Naturenut99
        • 1 Day Ago
        @danfred411
        Wrong all the way around. They couldn't continue the roadster. The design they had was no longer going to have the supplied "glider" from Lotus. They would have had to do a full redesign instead of moving to other cars (Models S X E ) that they could sell more of. Thereby making more money in order to grow the company. I know back then they weighed their options and found that they should just build what gliders were available and then to move on. They had to move their focus mentally and financially from just the roadster to opening the plant, design Model S, the testing, then selling. Then start the design of the X and now the E. Also overseas design/testing/selling. All of which are more important to growing the company. They will get back to the roadster with a from the ground up design. It should be impressive when they do considering how they have done so far. Let's put it this way... Did you miss your opportunity to buy a Roadster ? Because obviously you forgot to put your money down. You can find used ones for sale if you are so impatient. They know what they are doing. What you think they didn't consider all options ? You would be a fool if you thought that. Just like they weighed the option of the smallest pack and calculated that it wasn't worth keeping. They do their math.
      MistyGreen
      • 1 Year Ago
      whoa. Do it!
      Luc K
      • 1 Year Ago
      Please all read the UPDATE. No surprise since Autobild isn't really the most reliable car web site / magazine unfortunately.
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      ^^^true.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Day Ago
      Other automakers don't rely on it as much... as they have ample advertising budgets. Tesla's best advertisers are other drivers, and Elon's and Tesla Motos's twitter feed are a huge source of news sometimes. It is just a whole new strategy.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Day Ago
      The other automakers are all well-versed in the art of the tease... nothing unique to Tesla there.
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