Inroad Press

Tesla Plans $40K Electric Car

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For most people, owning an electric car built by Tesla Motors is in the realm of science fiction, as their current Model S starts at over $70,000, with typical options and taxes making the real price tag much higher. According to the Los Angeles Times, the company is planning to launch a car in early 2015 aimed at mainstream buyers that may be in the $40,000 range.

One aspect any electric car aimed at the masses has to address is driving range per charge. Today’s electric car batteries are large and expensive, but consumers are largely unwilling to risk short driving ranges of 100 to 120 miles in exchange for smaller, cheaper cars and batteries. While the Tesla Model S has a range of 265 miles, the goal of the new model would be closer to 200 miles. That would be favorable compared with where traditional car makers are expected to be at that time.

The projected schedule could include introduction at the Detroit auto show in January 2015. The car would not actually be for sale, however, until 2016 or 2017. Tesla, of course, faces several challenges in transforming itself from a boutique seller of premium vehicles to a mainstream auto manufacturer. Meanwhile, the high-end Tesla Model X, an all-wheel-drive electric SUV built on the Model S drivetrain, is slated for sale in 2014 and is expected to double the company’s current sales of about 21,000 cars per year.

Photo: randychiu