2012 Tesla Model S
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Somewhere between a Lexus CT 200h and an Acura ILX. But a little quieter and definitely bigger than a breadbox. That's the best comparison we could come up with when trying to get an idea of how big Tesla's more moderately priced sedan will be when it hits the market sometime around 2016.

Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk, speaking to the California Public Utilities Commission recently, estimated that the Model E will be about 80 percent the size of the Model S sedan. You can see the video of this below. Now we're not sure exactly what that means, but we can practice a little geometry with the Model S's 196-inch length and 77-inch width and have some fun with the possibilities. And a quick perusal of sports sedans will reveal that the Model E's footprint will be a little bigger than the Lexus in question and slightly more petite than the ILX.

Either way, Musk's estimate rounds out the equation of sorts for the Model E, even though he doesn't use that name in the video below. The car will have a minimum 200-mile range, Musk said (perhaps from a 48-kWh pack?) at about half the cost. And with 80 percent of the size. As for when we'll start seeing sales of the Model E, which is supposed to start at $35,000, that deadline has migrated over the years from as late as 2017 to as early as next year and then back to 2016.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 56 Comments
      MTN RANGER
      • 11 Months Ago
      There is a big difference between 20% smaller length and 20% smaller weight. 80% of the Model S length (196") is 157" - same as a BMW i3.
      SublimeKnight
      • 11 Months Ago
      Something else to consider when comparing the expected size of the model E to gas models, is the efficiency of the Tesla drivetrain packaging. The Model S has about the same footprint as a BMW 7 series, but has over 3.5x the luggage/cargo capacity. The BMW can seat 5, the Model S up to 7. So while the E might have the exterior dimensions of a Lexus CT or 1-series BMW, I expect it will have more interior space than a Lexus IS/BMW 3-series perhaps approaching an ES/5-series.
      Smoking_dude
      • 11 Months Ago
      You could buy 3 Model E for one S :D
      Technoir
      • 11 Months Ago
      The Model E is what will prove that Tesla will live, or die. It has the potential to sell in large volumes and to bring in the needed profit to keep operating, and expanding. If it does not reach its sales goals, it could have dire consequences for the young company. I wish Tesla the very best! Long live Tesla!
        Spec
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Technoir
        I think the GigaFactory is even more important than the Model E. If they can build a massive battery factory that slashes battery prices, then they can sell batteries to whoever makes EVs.
        Grendal
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Technoir
        True. Tesla can fail at certain goals and still have a winner on their hands. They can still do well with a higher price. $40K, even though Musk said it would be less is not a death knell. Tesla will just sell a lot less. Bringing the car out in 2020 would be very bad. I think people will tolerate a year delay to 2018 if it comes down to it. I don't see people waiting like they have on the Model X. The other danger in a delay is that it would give competitors the ability to step up.
      gpmp
      • 11 Months Ago
      I've seen you quote the 70$/kwh cost of materials figure before but there has been no discussion (that I've seen) about it. Where are you getting your information? Have I missed the blog post/s on it?
      danfred311
      • 11 Months Ago
      20% battery size. That means the dimensions are only going to be something like 6% smaller. That's what I thought he would do, going a bit too much towards the luxury end (like Merc E Class (where he got the name)) and I hunch that's incompatible with the 35k$ price point with Tesla's not so great bean counting skills. That's say two pack sizes of 48 and 68kWh at say 170$/kWh for the bare cells which is 8200$ and 11600$. I guess it hinges on whether they refrain from those air suspension pillars and maybe stuff like the door handles because 20% less than model S is 56k$ entry and 85-90 grand at the top. But I guess that even at 50k$ before rebate it will still make waves. That's when the Hitler 3 really starts ranting :) And BMW i3 is in trouble.
        Weapon
        • 11 Months Ago
        @danfred311
        The names Tesla uses are not a tribute to Mercedes but a tribute to the original ford. Hence name like Model S.(Ford Model S was a predecessor of the Model T). The Model E is most likely stands for E or Economy. As for naming, well: Model S - sedan Model E - sedan Model X - cuv Model Y - cuv See what he did there? As far as dimensions it is hard to judge but in batteries you have energy density and volume. So not only will the battery be smaller in kwh, the battery will be more energy dense. Unless your talking about size of the car? size of the car he said somewhere around BMW 3 series. Tesla is aiming for 10-12k price for the battery pack assembled. You have to remember that Tesla is at 25% gross margins, end of this year they will be at 28%. That still gives them 2 years more of aiming for even higher margins. If Tesla aims for 18% margins on the Model E, there will be plenty of overhead. On top of that battery cost will continue to drop, especially with the gigafactory. 35k price tag should be cake. The material cost of the batteries is about 70$/kwh. So there is plenty of room to drop battery costs even further.
        Ryan
        • 11 Months Ago
        @danfred311
        It is the model S, model E, and model X. I wonder where he came up with those letters from...
        GoodCheer
        • 11 Months Ago
        @danfred311
        "20% battery size. That means the dimensions are only going to be something like 6% smaller. That's what I thought he would do, going a bit too much towards the luxury end" To assumptions you made that I don't think are reasonable. 1) That energy density will not have improved between the S's launch and the E's launch. 2) That the ratio of battery volume to car volume will be the same between the S and the E. If the battery energy is 20% smaller, and the frontal aread is 20% smaller, then highway range would be very similar.
      J
      • 10 Months Ago
      I JUST DROVE A MODEL - S , NICE QUICK PEPPY, I WAS ON A WET ROAD SURFACE. TURNS HANDLE'S NICE THE BACK UP MONITOR DOES COME IN HAND WHEN BACKING UP ! STORAGE IS AMAZING FRONT & IN THE REAR ,WHERE THE OPTIONAL CHILDREN SEATS GO. IF THE MODEL -S WAS $40,000. I WOULD JUMP ON BOARD, UNFORTUNATELY WHEN ONE IS MARRIED A LOT CHANGES. EVEN THROUGH NO GAS STATIONS, OR OIL CHANGES THAT IN ITSELF IS A BLESSING ! I LOVE THE TESLA, ELON MUST HAS GREAT IDEAS & A VISION.GREAT CARS & A GOOD COMPANY .
      bluepongo1
      • 11 Months Ago
      http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/the-us-now-makes-enough-solar-to-power-every-home-in-five-states-and-dc
        bluepongo1
        • 11 Months Ago
        @bluepongo1
        But...but... coal and other Tesla Motors haters enjoy the link above, Thank. You.
      Rotation
      • 11 Months Ago
      It better be, the Model S is huge. If this is only 20% smaller by volume or area, then it'll still be huge. If it's by length, then it'll be large but reasonably so.
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        This Model S is a big bruiser of a car. It's like driving a car from the 60's,
        GoodCheer
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        "If it's by length, then it'll be large but reasonably so." I'm not specifically disagreeing with you, but 80% by length would make it 19" shorter than a Gen II Prius. The Prius isn't particularly small, but not many people call them large. If it's by area, then it comes out to almsot exactly the same length and width as a Prius.
      SublimeKnight
      • 11 Months Ago
      Considering he says the pack will be 80% of the S (60kWh * 80% = 48kWh) and since the pack covers the entire floor, I'm thinking 80% of the "size" is in terms of footprint area. If you take the width and length of the S and reduce it to 80%, that are is just about equal to a Nissan LEAF. So that's the size of the car he's shooting for.
        omgwtfbyobbq
        • 11 Months Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        80% of the length and width is 64% of the total area/battery. I think he's implying it'll be about 90% of the length/width, which is 81% of the total area, and about the size of a Camry.
          SublimeKnight
          • 11 Months Ago
          @omgwtfbyobbq
          Your calculations are off. The Model S has a footprint of about 105 sqft (width x length). The Camry is about 94 sqft (90% of the Model S). The LEAF is about 84 sqft, which is almost exactly 80% the footprint of the Model S.
      Naturenut99
      • 10 Months Ago
      I think people are taking the 20% comment too specifically. Or as it can only be in one way. It can be a general 20%. A little smaller. A little lighter.
        dan.frederiksen
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Naturenut99
        As sloppy as Elon has been with Model S weight, I trust him to know what 20% means. He actually means 20% smaller battery. which translates to around 6% smaller dimensions.
      Electron
      • 11 Months Ago
      Actually if you subtract 20% from Model S length you end up in sub-compact territory (cars up to 166 inch), too small for a "3 series competitor". A 20% weight reduction would be great though.
        bajohn3
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Electron
        It's going to be 20% reduction over all, which means they will reduce the length, height, and width, for a volumetric 20% reduction.
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