Truly Affordable Tesla Electric Sedan to Launch in 2015

By · July 13, 2012

Tesla slide

Tesla's fourth electric vehicle will reportedly launch in 2015 with a target price of $30,000.

According to Autocar, work on Tesla's fourth electric vehicle is already underway and its launch is tentatively set for 2015. From previous reports we know that Tesla's fourth electric will have a "lower price point" and be aimed at a "wider audience," but as Autocar claims, that price point could be significantly less than previously anticipated. Autocar reports that the target price for the entry-level version of Tesla's fourth electric vehicle is $30,000, presumably after incentives.

Autocar quotes Tesla’s chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen, as stating "The third model will continue to drive down the price point as fast as possible."

Von Holzhausen further confirmed that Tesla's fourth electric vehicle will be more radically styled than the rather conventional-looking Model S. "We will become more experimental as we develop as a brand," Von Holzhausen stated. "Our cars need to have some personality."

Von Holzhausen also hinted that a Tesla electric pickup is possible in the future. "There are lots of ways in which we can exploit the [Tesla] platform. There will be a time and place for us to develop something around a pickup. That’s a market for which the torque of an electric motor would be ideally suited."


· · 6 years ago

Will they survive till then because from the beginning they are mainly investing instead of selling at a profit.

· · 6 years ago

Hope "experimental" doesn't mean Tesla ends up building cars in the Nissan LEAF, Juke, Cube, etc. mold. I know not everyone likes conventional, sporty design -- in particular, it seems the techie early adopters of EVs don't like conventional. But I -- and I'm pretty sure the majority of Americans -- prefer somewhat conventional, but also sporty/classy design, to push-the-envelope and show-the-world-I'm-an-EV-not-a-gas-car design. Of course, the funny thing about the LEAF and its "special" EV design is that when you see it out on the road, you still can't tell it's an EV -- unless you know what a LEAF is to begin with.

· Skotty64081 (not verified) · 6 years ago

Sign me up for one. Though I bet it will start closer to 35K, with larger battery options starting at up to 55K, maxing out around 65K with all the options.

· Bill (not verified) · 6 years ago

I would like to see smaller and cheaper with less horsepower. My Honda Civic hybird was fine around 100 hp, I don't need 0-60 in 4 seconds, but I could use a 250 mile electric range and a montly payment that doesn't rival my mortgage.

· · 6 years ago

This one can't come soon enough. Really can't wait to see what Tesla has planned here. I just hope the tax credit is still around by then. It would be even better if it's a point of sale rebate, but I'm not holding my breath on that, especially if Romney wins in November.

· · 6 years ago

Sorry Bill,
Less EV horsepower won't be much cheaper.
Unfortunately, that 250 miles is what is going to cost you :-(
You've got to shake conventional ICE wisdom. You can also lighten up a bit and plan to have fun driving again :-)
(Actually for the technical pundits, I'll admit that additional horsepower, which is responsible for top speed, may cost you since that could require more cooling. Less torque, which is responsible for quick acceleration, will not cost you much extra but the ability to deliver more torque will make your electric motor more efficient. It is actually better for the planet and your overall costs if quicker acceleration is available. It will just be cheaper and use less electricity if you don't use that quick acceleration all of the time. Using that performance at a few strategic times, of course, will only encourage your Porsche driving neighbor to get with the times and upgrade to an EV too.)

· · 6 years ago

I don't care what Autocar says. What has Elon said in all the quarterly investor calls ?

My guess is Tesla will make a base version gen III for $30 to $35k (after rebate) that will be severely handicapped (like the base version of S) - so in practice few people buy that base version. The next step up will cost $40 to $45k ...

· iletric (not verified) · 6 years ago

I'm hoping for some normal cockpit buttons for all basic functions (fan, heat, AC, etc.) instead of that genX genY TV screen. And no bricking please... I can turn off the fan and the AC in 1/2 a second w/o taking my eyes off the road. How fast and how safely can it be done in the Model C? Show me!

· Capt601 (not verified) · 6 years ago

@iietric. Probably quicker cuz it will be voice controlled.
And for all discussing price- remember no gas once you buy a pure electric car. So the 100-300 a month you spend at the gas station is no more. So don't forget to factor that savings into the cos of the car. It significantly reduces the overall price of an electric car. And he should will have electricity costs but very minimal due to the rates provided by most electric companies to chage at night.

· · 6 years ago

Just a hunch here. But, now that Tesla is building the battery packs for the upcoming Mercedes B Class EV, my thoughts are that this upcoming 3rd generation Tesla will borrow much in the way of subframe and drivetrain components from that one.

I, too, am curious to see how Tesla will be able to resolve "more radically styled" and "aimed at a wider audience" in the same car.

· · 6 years ago

@Benjamin -- Thought you might enjoy this -- An ugly Tesla to compete with the ugly LEAF?
Appreciate all your thoughtful comments on Plugincars articles, BTW.

· · 6 years ago

A Tesla 4 with 75 miles EV range and a micro Wankel range extender would be fine for most people if it remains affordable. Also watch out for insiders sabotage like what happened with the Prius I color choice and still now with the Prius III absence of trailer hook. Especially watch out for Daimler people they are no good. Reamain independant and concentrate on a car for real daily driving. Remember it will be the first mass car of the company avoid unnecessary things.

· · 6 years ago

Thanks, Christof. After reading this article, I was trying to locate an online video of a comedy skit made by the Saturday Night Live (SNL) TV folks some years ago that reminds me of the conflicting "more radically styled" yet "aimed at a wider audience" statements, as applied to the same car. I couldn't find the actual video but I did manage to find the printed transcript for SNL's make-believe commercial for their make-believe car, called the Lexon Paradox . . .

Hmmm . . . until we get to see at least an artist rendering of this 3rd generation Tesla, it will remain - quite literally - a paradox. I do hope they make it look nice. Innovative styling doesn't have to necessarily translate to ugly styling, after all.

I tend to doubt, Priusmaniac, that Tesla will introduce a range extender on this car. They seem firmly committed to battery-only EVs for now.

· Spec (not verified) · 6 years ago

It looks like they added an extra step. Before it was down to the normal consumer by the third vehicle. Now it is down to the normal consumer fourth vehicle.

But that makes sense. Battery prices have not fallen as fast as many expected. And Gas prices have not risen as fast as many expected. GM seems to have picked a successful solution with the Voltec platform.

· · 6 years ago

@ Benjamin Nead

I understand the desire of 100% EV, but at present, a more then 75 miles EV range battery is too costly for most and a 75 miles limit is too little for most. The range extender is not an option, it is a present day necessity for a truly mass car. Just like steel cars instead of carbon fibers ones.

· · 6 years ago

I guess the operative phrase here, Priusmaniac, is "at present." It seems reasonable to assume that production batteries will be at least marginally better by 2015 and that Tesla can provide a 100+ range car for a 30K+ price range. The Nissan Leaf can almost do that today.

Gasoline prices also rarely remain static. While they bump down and plateau from time to time (and the news media gets overly excited when this happens,) the overall trend is that they will continue to rise. Gas price predictions for 2015, anyone?

I'll let others here take you to task for saying "a 75 miles limit is too little for most." :-) Many who are buying today's ranger extender EVs might end up realizing in a few years, when they're ready to trade them in, that a pure EV will fulfill their needs . . . especially if the next generation of pure EVs have better range.

· · 6 years ago

@ Benjamin Nead,
Even if futur bev will have a better all electric range it will not help them for many reasons. Charging a bev is a problematic task that is still to resolve, where to find
fast chargers and you can forget level 2 chargers because it's not fast enouph. The problem of heavy batteries remain and also cost. It's 2 big problems that are physical.
Also batteries do not like to be discharged beyoung 30% approx. The only way is to do a light small battery, it have the advantage of reducing dramatically the overall car cost and weight and the car remain 100% electric and then the rest is handle by a gasoline range extender feeded by the actual gasoline infrastructure that is actually spreaded all over the world. Look at the volt sales that are 4x the bev sales.

The big problem is not cars but the fueling infrastructure. With a bev you will be faced
by the fueling or if you prefer the charging problem 100% of the time. Even cheap used geo metro available for 500$ do not have the fueling problem so they actually beat hand down tesla, imiev and leafs.

These batteries transportation that we see in internet are just false pr done by big oil related folks like goverments, car manufacturers, high financial banking investors, etc. To date no ones made any money with any battery transportations and all the money come from subsidies and false invesments done to make false pr to protect petrol sales where goverments, car manufacturers, speculators, banks and big oil themself make huge money on a daily basis done everywhere in the world.

Many many car engineers said years ago that the battery was the false point in the electric car engineering and they opted for hydrogen electric fuelcell instead, and they did numerous succesful prototypes with overall miraculous results. But no goverments and no more money was given to them by anyone including car manufacturers and suddently they gave tons of money for batteries. All that we talk here in this blog is always this small inneterresting story about the futur of electric car.
Electric cars will never go mainstream except if someone begin to commercialise hydrogen fuelcell cars and trucks and motorcycles and lawnmowers and airplanes and boats and ships and trains and helicopters.

· · 6 years ago

First off, gorr, thanks for putting together a long form summation of your thoughts. As you are well aware, the usual sharply-pointed single sentence blurbs I’ve come to expect from you does little more than to incite me to fire back with equally shrill and brief retorts. Please allow me to examine some of your salient points and I’ll attempt to reply accordingly.

For the sake of clarity, I’ve run your written dialogue through my computer’s spell checker and streamlined your grammar just a bit to what I truly believe you’re trying to convey (both my parents were English language educators, so old habits die hard.) I don’t think this will diminish the impact of your thoughts and, if anything, should enhance them. If my subtle rewriting of your original text has changed the meaning of what you might have been saying, I’ll apologize in advance.

Your comments (through my grammatical filter, as noted above) are presented in quotations and my replies directly follow. Here we go . . .


“Even if future BEVs obtain a better range, it will not help them for many reasons. Charging a BEV is a problematic task that still involves where to find fast chargers. And you can forget Level 2 chargers, because they’re not fast enough.” . . . (and) . . . “Even a cheap used GEO Metro, available for $500, does not have this refueling problem. So, it actually beats, hands down, the Tesla, iMiev and Leaf. “


This assumes too much and, I'm afraid, is a vast over-generalization. Comprehensive polling has shown that most American drivers typically only log around 40 car miles or less per typical work day. Please be honest, gorr: do you put significantly more than that on your 2 decades-old GEO each day? I actually put on significantly less miles per day than this statistical average on my rapidly aging Saturn (about 10 miles daily by my best estimates,) so an EV would serve me just fine.

Also . . . you never mention charging at home. I’m fortunate enough to own my own house (well, the mortgage company owns most of it, but that’s another story,) so I would easily be able to charge an EV at night, while I’m sleeping. It’s conceivable that I would never have to use any sort of off-site charging infrastructure (be this publicly funded or privately owned by a business) for almost all my around town driving. I realize that charging at home would be very difficult - if not impossible - for many apartment dwellers. But this is a long term problem that we can solve with intelligent urban planning.

I sometimes make longer trips out to the remote desert landscape, to indulge in my model airplane hobby. One of these flying fields is exactly 30 miles from my front door. This 60 mile round trip is completely doable in a present day Nissan Leaf. The other field I often use is about 60 miles from home and is mostly a freeway trip. Even in a present day Leaf, I would soon be able to do this approximately 120 mile round trip, thanks to a Level 3 charging terminal - strategically located within 15 miles of my flying field destination and on the way back home without any sort of detour - I know will be going on line before the end of the calendar year. 20 minutes on a Level 3 charger at the beginning of my return trip? That's a good excuse for me to pull the portable espresso rig out of my field box and do a little recharging of my own. 'nuff said.

Anything longer distance than this would be a trip I would have enough advance notice for. For that, I could rent a car . . . or take this once or twice per year journey in our other non-electric car. The vast majority of current and prospective EV owners are two car households . . . and I would be fitting into this demographic as well.


“The battery stories we see on the internet is just false PR done by Big Oil-related folks, like governments, car manufacturers, high finance banking investors, etc. To date, no one has made any money with battery transportation. All the money came from subsidies and false investments done to make false PR, to protect petrol sales where governments, car manufacturers, speculators, banks and Big Oil themselves make huge money on a daily basis all over the world."


OK . . . you’ve advanced variations on this theme many times before and I still can’t make sense of it. Some of it may have a slight shred of truth to it, but a lot of this line of thought coming from you is just flat out loony speculation. Sorry . . . but I can't be more charitable here than that.

Big Oil pushing battery technology at the expense of . . . oil? That one, in particular, has me baffled. Who are these pro-EV bankers? . . . and these auto companies who are now refusing to sell gasoline cars in favor of EVs? Huh? Please break your various extraordinary claims apart into easy-to-digest bite-sized bits and back them up with some sort of independent documentation, as I’m about to attempt to do, below.

First, let’s admit that the federal government does provide a massive subsidy for the petroleum industry, to the tune of something like 41 billion (yes, billion, with a capital B) dollars annually . . .

Where is the outrage, gorr, that this much of our tax money is going to this century-old industry? Precious little of this petroleum industry subsidy money, if any, is going directly into electric car or battery research.

Now, the federal government IS involved in subsidies for electric cars . . . about 2.4 billion dollars annually since 2009 . . .

. . . and, since little or no federal money was being funneled into the research for better EV batteries during the Bush years, I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with the current approximately 1/20th of what the U.S. taxpayer forks over to the oil companies each year being earmarked for this research, deployment of EV charging infrastructure and tax refunds for early EV adopters.


“Many car engineers have said years ago that the battery was the false point in electric car engineering and they opted for the hydrogen electric fuel cell instead. They made numerous successful prototypes with overall miraculous results. But no additional government money was given to these car manufacturers for hydrogen and, suddenly, the government gave tons of money for batteries.”


Simply not true. Although the Obama administration made significant cuts to the Bush era hydrogen program in 2009 (down to 68 million dollars annually, or about 60% of what was allotted the previous fiscal year) . . .

. . . it NEVER completely eliminated hydrogen funding and, in fact - as reported here on Plug In Cars not so long ago - it’s seriously considering increasing federal funding for hydrogen again . . .

I’ll say that again: even at low ebb, the federal government, under the Obama administration, STILL provides 68 million to hydrogen research annually and, in all likelihood, will be increasing this figure soon. That’s better than what the Bush administration was doing for batteries . . . and what a possible Romney administration would be likely to do for EITHER batteries or hydrogen! So, let’s please put this “no funding anymore for hydrogen” fairy tale to bed once and for all. OK?

Here’s an idea: let’s continue to have the federal government fund EV research at the current 2.4 billion dollar level annually and bring the annual expenditure for hydrogen research back up to where it was during the Bush era, which was something like 1.2 billion dollars. That’s around 3.6 billion total annually. Then . . . let's get rid of the 41 billion dollar oil subsidy. The country just saved itself 37.4 billion dollars each year! We can apply those savings to helping pay down the national debt.


“All we talk about here on this blog is this small and uninteresting story about the future of the electric car. Electric cars will never go mainstream, except if someone begins to commercialize hydrogen fuel cell cars, trucks, motorcycles, lawnmowers, airplanes, boats, ships, trains and helicopters.”


You forgot to mention the hydrogen fuel cell autogyro and, my personal favorite, the hydrogen fuel cell pogo stick. But I digress, gorr . . . this blog IS called Plug-In-Cars-Dot-Com, after all, and not Any-And-All-Cool-Futuristic-Car-Stuff-Dot-Com. I took the regular authors to task here not too long ago for putting such a strong emphasis on Leaf-vs-Volt sales statistics, but that wasn’t a complaint over general subject matter presented here day to day. Yeah, we talk about electric cars here on Plug-In-Cars-Dot-Com, to which I say . . . Duh!?!

If you want to keep up with fuel cell news on an exclusive basis, here’s an excellent site that reports on those developments daily . . .

While were talking about all this non-pure EV stuff, I’ll share this cool link with you that I stumbled across the other day. While the car presented here reminds me a little too much of a wax copy of a Mini Cooper that was left out in the sun too long, I think the bio-methanol fuel cell range extender powerplant goes a long way to satisfying my inner geekdom. How ‘bout you? . . .

Sorry for taking the conversation so far afield, everyone. We now return you to the 4th generation Tesla EV show here on Plug-In-Cars-Dot-Com network.


· · 6 years ago

I'm thinking they will stylize covered rear wheels. The original Honda Insight had covered rear wheels for less drag (the original Insight had mileage of 55 or 60 mpg). Unfortunately the public thought it looked "frumpy". Tesla could take that concept and make it interesting by jazzing it up a bit. Nike-style swoosh curves? Audi R8-style vents? something like that.

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