I sure hope Tesla Motors gives us some more solid information on what its third production model will be like, but so far we can glean a few things about it.
For example, we were somewhat disappointed to learn that the next Tesla Motors offering, a mass-market electric vehicle at an average-sedan price, will not be called “Tesla Model E.” I can accept that, although “E” seemed to indicate that this would be a Tesla for “everyone” else, since the Model S and Model X, when it finally arrives, are quite pricey. We have learned, however, that the new car, whatever they end up calling it, will be about 20% smaller than the Model S, cost around $35,000, and have a range of around 200 miles.
The Tesla Model S achieves it solid safety and mileage ratings, as well as its price, using lightweight-yet-strong, and expensive, aluminum in the frame and chassis components. To get the mass-market model down to $35,000, according to Tesla Motors Vice-President of Engineering Chris Porritt, “I expect there will be very little carry-over [from the Tesla Model S]. We’ve got to be cost-effective. We can’t use aluminum for all the [third-generation Tesla’s] components.”
That being said, we’re wondering what new lightweight material that Tesla Motors might be cooking up. Carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is probably out, because it is even more expensive to work with than aluminum. Might the next model feature magnesium alloy or some composite material? Hoping to hear more from Tesla Motors regarding the next model, but we’ve got some time. After all, the new model, and its name, probably won’t be revealed until the 2015 Auto Show circuit, for production in 2016 or 2017. Additionally, we can’t forget the impact that the current non-existence of the battery-pack price-lowering manufacturing facility that is still in planning stages, the Tesla Gigafactory.
Photo credit: Telstar Logistics