Published August 30, 2012
By Jeff Cobb
Hey wait a minute! Isn't Tesla's evolutionary development supposed to be headed lower in price, higher in volume? Yes, and not to worry, says Elon Musk, but it's leaving options open to surpass its Roadster later this decade too.
If Europe's exotic car makers are planning near-million-dollar plug-in hybrids, isn’t a “supercar” something Tesla might be able to also build, maybe for less money, and in all-electric form?
Well now that you mention it, it's certainly an attainable goal, says company founder Elon Musk, though for now it is but a gleam in his mind’s eye for later this decade. The thing is, gleams in the eye of the one who also introduced the world to SpaceX spacecraft and an electric Roadster that goaded GM into building the Volt have a tendency to become reality more than perhaps they do for other dreamers.
So, in addition to going down market to a $30,000-ish car from the $50-$100k-plus Model S line now just launching, Musk is thinking of developing an over-$200,000 sports car to compete against companies such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche.
“We will do an electric supercar at some point,” Musk said on a Web chat mentioning also that Tesla is now studying the idea.
Automotive News further reported Tesla has considered following the 2013 Model X SUV launch with the proposed supercar, but then decided that would be too soon, Musk said.
“It was going to happen right after the Model X, but it is more important to the world that we do a more affordable electric car,” Musk said. “Hopefully, we will get to an electric supercar in four to five years.”
Indeed – a lot of EV enthusiasts now sidelined and waiting would concur. Presently sub-$40,000 EVs for sale in the U.S. include those from Nissan and Mitsubishi. The 2013 Chevy Spark EV is on its way, and the Ford Focus EV is rolling out, and just knocking on the back door of $40k. There's also limited availability efforts from Honda, Smart and BMW, but the pickins otherwise remain slim.
From what we’ve heard, many people would hope first to see another more affordable EV closer to the $30,000 new car average selling price – before they’d vote for more EVs to satisfy those in the relatively exclusive Model S and Roadster owners club.
Fortunately for these everyday folks, going down market – as soon as 2015 – has been the plan. Tesla’s intention – as is true for Fisker Automotives’ plug-in series hybrids – has been to start at a premium car to establish credibility, then apply lessons learned to something closer to peoples’ cars.
Tesla has also mentioned an all-electric pickup, and by the way, Musk’s separate company SpaceX is poised to become the first private spacecraft to supply the International Space Station, having just won from the U.S. government a $440 million contract to develop spacecraft for future cargo missions.
The possibilities are many for Musk’s enterprises, and now he says they are thinking of gunning for Ferrari, Lamborghini, and other proud supercar makers later this decade? Sure, why not?