By on December 16, 2013

Tesla Model S

For admirers of Tesla’s latest and greatest who would love to own a piece of the action if only the price of admission were low enough, the word on the street is such a vehicle will debut in January 2015 during the Detroit Auto Show.

The Model E, as rumored to be named, will have a price tag of $25,000 to $35,000, and will be a mid-sized sedan. Those worried it might simply be a smaller S have Tesla chief designer Franz von Holzhausen’s assurance that it won’t go the “Audi unit face” route. Holzhausen also said there is a truck in the works, though it won’t be riding on the third-generation Tesla platform, as well as a second coming of the car that started it all, the Tesla Roadster.

As for the Model X, the SUEV is nearing the finish line to production, with units set to be delivered to showrooms by late 2014 at the earliest. The price tag for the X should be around if not above that of the S.

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25 Comments on “Tesla To Debut Model E at 2015 Detroit Auto Show...”

  • avatar

    That’s a pretty low price range. I just saw a banner ad somewhere for the $28k base Leaf with HEAVY federal and state tax incentives to the tune of something like $12k. I would imagine this new Tesla would have similar incentives.

    I’ll be interested in knowing range, performance and overall design of the Tesla at that pricepoint.

  • avatar

    I wonder how soon after its debut will it be available. I am very curious, but I may not be willing to wait.

  • avatar

    I wonder if they are including the government handouts, er “tax credits” when they say 25-35K

  • avatar
    That guy

    Will it still be RWD?
    Will it still be reasonably quick?
    Will it still have a useable range?
    Will it still have luxury car ride and handling?
    Will it still have luxury car build quality?

    The idea of an affordable electric car that isn’t a penalty box and has a solid range intrigues me enough that I’d consider one for a DD.

  • avatar

    A truck, huh? I wonder if Elon has looked at the range people expect and get in a pickup. Some of them go 750 miles at a go.

    Does the macho truck guy want electric or a belching heaving diesel?

    Me thinks Musk and Co is trying to whip up some free interest in their company again.

    • 0 avatar

      Probably not the truck for people that buy them as fashion accessories, but they might work well for some fleets.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        These might make great fleet vehicles. Out in the morning, back in that night. Fleet managers would working calculators and running spreadsheets to see if they would work. Lots of variables to considered. Not having a fuel bill has to loom large in the list of variables.

    • 0 avatar

      The earliest popularization of electric vehicles was with delivery trucks. An electric makes good sense as a short range delivery vehicle. Electric motors are great for moving heavy loads at low speeds and many fleets already prefer to have their own refueling stations on site.

      As for today’s average pickup buyer, no an electric wouldn’t make much sense.

  • avatar

    A couple weeks ago, I got the chance to test-drive a Model S at a Tesla test drive event. The model I drove was a mid-range model. It had the larger battery but was missing top of the line options. It was $96,000 list. Remember when Tesla said the Model S would start at $50k? I’m looking forward to the Model E, but I am very skeptical on the price. The tax credits are likely to be all or mostly gone by the time the Model E hits the streets.

  • avatar

    The killer app will be if a big battery version of the Model E gets Supercharger access.

    As a LEAF driver I’ve found that the two things that matter in terms of charging infrastructure are charging availability at home (a given) and DC/level 3/CHAdeMO/Supercharger-type fast charging on the road. Seattle, where I live, has a ton of level 2 EVSE installations, but the few level 3 chargers are much, much more useful for my driving habits.

    That said, I’ve only used level 3 chargers thrice and public level 2 chargers twice over about 4 months of having the car.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      In 14 months of Leaf driving in Pittsburgh, I’ve never seen a Level 3 charger, but there are several Level 2 chargers around here, which I’ve rarely used.

      The Model E could be my car after the Leaf, although I’d like to research whether and how the Tesla battery range deteriorates. The Leaf’s certainly does.

      • 0 avatar

        SCE to AUX,

        Did you drive your Leaf throughout the winter? If so, how does sitting in a sub-freezing, windswept parking lot all day affect your stored charge?

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Yes – I drove it all last winter and in whatever we’ve had this year so far. It sits at my office in a very open area, subject to wind, freezing rain, blowing snow, and temperatures that hit 0 F last year.

          At most, it will lose 1 mile while sitting like that, but usually it’s zero. There are no vampire drains as in the Tesla.

          The deterioration I spoke of above refers to battery capacity. There has been a notable reduction in driving range this winter compared to last, as lithium ion batteries are wont to do. Being an engineer, I’m trying to quantify it to be sure, but I’m seeing the effect in efficiency, range, and reported range. When actual battery capacity drops along with efficiency reductions due to cold weather, it’s less fun. Combine that with the 2012 Leaf’s highly deceptive range meter, and here is the rule I’m living by: The actual range I can drive is (currently) about 50-60% of reported range at any time. In the spring and fall it will be 80-100%, or even higher.

          So these vagaries are not for the faint of heart, and they take some getting used to. But the car is wonderful to drive, very reliable, cheap to operate, and quiet.

          • 0 avatar

            Thanks for your detailed reply.

            That you can trust your leaf to get you home after it’s been sitting and freezing all day is very impressive to me here in Wisconsin.

            It’s also very counter-intuitive to me after a lifetime of watching anything battery-operated miserably underperform in the cold.

            Both my wife and I have very short daily commutes so something like the Leaf would be a no-brainer in the warmer months. Nice to see that they can also deal with the cold ones… for a while, anyway.

            You leased yours, didn’t you?

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            Mine’s a 3-year lease, starting in September 2012.

            Just to be clear – the battery doesn’t change while it sits over the course of a day, but its storage capacity has degraded over time. Cold weather does have an effect, as do the demands of climate control. I’ll probably recover some capacity in the spring.

  • avatar

    I HIGHLY doubt that it will sell for 25k. In fact, I’m operating under the assumption that it will cost twice as much. For a mass market EV, 0-60 times are not nearly as important as range and charge time. It can be slower than a Model S, but it can’t have less range.

    Excited to see what they can come up with when building to a price.

  • avatar

    I was hoping they would just adopt the iPhone model. Drop the price on the current model (with a bit of cost-engineering) to make the lower tier model and then introduce a new higher end model. Better than the constant churn of models all the time.

  • avatar

    Acura should poach Tesla’s designers.

  • avatar

    Assuming a “Tesla” type range of 200 miles or more, the cost of the battery alone will be more than $25K, so expect a retail price of at least $50K plus options. Given that the S model does not make a profit, it is highly unlikely the cheaper one will be profitable since it saves relatively little money to make a slightly smaller car. Hence I would not be at all surprised if that actual retail price is only 10% less than the S model.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Using your logic, Hyundai would lose money on every Sonata because it’s just a little less car than an Equus.

      Having the Model E priced like a compact car is Tesla’s stated goal. Missing that target, the stock price tumbles and the company risks failure.

      The E’s battery won’t cost $25k because the E won’t weigh 4600 lbs like an S, so it will have less battery to move less car. And it won’t be blinged-up like an S, so that will lower costs, too. As for range, I’ll bet they make it 200 and not 201, just to minimize the pack size.

      But I’m sure it will be possible to push its price up with options, but hey, these days, you can buy a $44k Camry.

  • avatar

    The panel gaps of the Tesla look great in publicity photos, but when you see them on the street in light enough colors, or in ebay ads, they are ghastly.

    • 0 avatar

      I still want one. I’ve often though my next personal car purchase would be an EV. I need at least a 300 mile range though. That would have to be 300 miles on the freeway at 75-80 mph range. I’m not wasting $50K on an EV as a third car. I’ll buy whatever Ford puts out for the next special edition Mustang instead.

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