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Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E 247

Posted by Soulskill
from the economics-of-scale dept.
An anonymous reader writes The biggest complaint about Tesla Motors' electric vehicles is that they're far too expensive for the average motorist. The Roadster sold for $109,000, and the Model S for $70,000. Chris Porritt, the company's VP of engineering, says their next model will aim for much broader availability. The compact Model E aims to be competitive with the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series, which both start in the low $30,000 range. To reduce cost, the Model E won't be built mostly with aluminum, like the Model S, and it will be roughly 20% smaller as well. The construction of the "Gigafactory" for battery production will also go a long way toward reducing the price. Their goal for launch is sometime around late 2016 or early 2017
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Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

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  • As a Quebecer... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04, 2014 @10:20AM (#47383445)

    I'm pretty jealous of American billionaires who *do* things. Our billionaires mostly do things like wearing clown noses in space or union-busting convenience stores.

    With our hydro electric resources, we should be pioneering electric cars.

    But no, *doing* things is not in our culture. Corruption, incompetence and thinking small, that's Quebec.

    • Re:As a Quebecer... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Friday July 04, 2014 @10:35AM (#47383519)

      Our billionaires mostly do things like wearing clown noses in space or union-busting convenience stores.

      Oh, the U.S. has plenty of those too: 6 of the top 10 richest Americans have either the surname "Walton" or "Koch", and they do roughly the same kinds of things with their money that someone like Péladeau does. One of the remaining four has the surname "Ellison", and his visionary thoughts mostly involve yacht races.

    • by rmstar (114746)

      I'm pretty jealous of American billionaires who *do* things.

      Elon Musk is south african.

    • by Hamsterdan (815291) on Friday July 04, 2014 @02:29PM (#47384713)

      "With our hydro electric resources, we should be pioneering electric cars."

      Montreal citizen here...

      We did. In mid-90s Hydro-Quebec developped an electric wheel hub. Tech derived from that research (TM4 engine, 96% efficiency) is now being tested by the Societe de Transport de Montreal for buses. I've seen one of those buses, and besides being ugly as hell they do the job and are *completely* silent (besides being too low for sidewalks and curbs while turning :).

      Will they be reliable during the cold-as-hell north-pole winter? I dunno, but as a geek I can appreciate an all-electric bus.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

      What I'm still wondering is why they don't use hybrids. A city bus would be the *perfect* application for an hybrid vehicle. All that stop-and-go would help keep the battery running, and the Diesel engine would recharge the battery if it gets too low. Combined with the fact that Bio-Buses run on biodiesel made from (mostly) trash, that would seem like the logical application.

  • ...if Musk is in for the long run or for an exit within the next 2-3 years. Any ideas?
    • by queazocotal (915608) on Friday July 04, 2014 @10:32AM (#47383499)

      He's planning on a big exit in 15 years or so. To Mars.

    • by olau (314197)

      Judging from his words and actions, it's seems unlikely to me that he'll exit as long as there is still potential to change the world. Once electric cars are common (and they will be if the current trends in battery tech and oil prices continue) then I could see him exit to pursue other things. But we're a long way from that happening.

  • Glancing here [fueleconomy.gov], I gather the new vehicle will probably be able to qualify for a $7500 subsidy from the US government. What bothers me is whether Tesla can produce that car in the absence of the subsidy? A reliance on temporary subsidies for profit would explain why there has been calls to turn Tesla into solely a battery manufacturer.
    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      The same question can be asked about gas vehicles if you were to remove all the subsidies that come into their operation. The oil industry gets a fair amount of it, many manufacturers got sweet deals for building their factories where they did, etc. You can't selectively remove one subsidy from one end but not do the same to its competitors.
      • by khallow (566160)

        You can't selectively remove one subsidy from one end but not do the same to its competitors.

        Tesla enjoys those subsidies as well. The problem here is that up to 25% of its revenue on this particular vehicle will be due to a single, not very well protected subsidy source.

    • by flink (18449)

      I just did the calculation for myself, and compared to my $15k 40mpg Hyundai, and given the amount of gas I go through on a weekly basis, if I pay sticker price for the model E it will be just about at the break even point. Any subsidy is just gravy. My current car is only 2 years old, so I won't be in the market for a while, but I'll definitely take a long hard look at a Tesla when I am.

      I can't be that unique. Hopefully this car will find it's niche.

      • by khallow (566160)
        That's a lot of traveling. Ignoring time value, the $15k difference in price buys you about 160k miles of travel (at $3.75 per gallon).

        I doubt most people put 160k miles on a car before they get rid of it. So for them, lifetime costs of the Hyundai would be cheaper than that of the Tesla even if the Tesla had zero energy cost per mile driven.
        • by flink (18449)

          Ha, well 40mpg is highway. My commute is 16 city miles round trip, all of then city miles, where I get substantially less than 40mpg. What it boils down to is I'm paying $200/mo car payment + $120/mo for gas. If I could trade that for $300/mo for the car + cost of electricity, I think it would come out basically even, especially if maintenance cost are lower or the car lasts longer than a comparable gas vehicle.

          • by khallow (566160)
            It'd be $400/mo since you're doubling the cost of the car.

            I think it would come out basically even, especially if maintenance cost are lower or the car lasts longer than a comparable gas vehicle.

            The big unknown with electric cars is that battery pack. I gather that's roughly a quarter to a third of the cost of the Tesla presently. Maybe the "Gigafactory" will knock that down a lot.

      • by Fnord666 (889225) on Friday July 04, 2014 @04:04PM (#47385183) Journal

        I just did the calculation for myself, and compared to my $15k 40mpg Hyundai, and given the amount of gas I go through on a weekly basis, if I pay sticker price for the model E it will be just about at the break even point. Any subsidy is just gravy. My current car is only 2 years old, so I won't be in the market for a while, but I'll definitely take a long hard look at a Tesla when I am.

        Don't forget to factor in maintenance where the all electric vehicle will be cheaper. The estimated cost for 4 years of maintenance on a Tesla S is $1900. Compare that to $3316 for the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and $3417 for the regular Hyundai Sonata. Maintenance costs for the Hyundais are from cars.com's "Cost of Ownership" page for each model. Maintenance costs for the Tesla are from Tesla motors. For more equitable "levels" of cars, the Hyundai Equus has a 4 year maintenance cost exceeding $6000.

    • by fermion (181285)
      Many vehicles are subsidized. For instance, one reason there were so many Hummers on the road were because of the tax rules that applied to the purchase for business use. While passenger vehicles are depreciated at a normal rate, something like a Hummer can be depreciated much more quickly. And while something like and F350 is clearly a utilitarian vehicle, a Hummer is simply a loophole to have the taxpayer fund your luxury vehicle.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        while something like and F350 is clearly a utilitarian vehicle, a Hummer is simply a loophole to have the taxpayer fund your luxury vehicle.

        I wish I knew what percentage of F350s were actually ever used for something you couldn't do with a Tundra or a Taco, but I'll bet you it's pretty goddamned low.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday July 04, 2014 @10:59AM (#47383627) Homepage Journal

    Aluminum is as cheap as steel if you make very many vehicles, because of various advantages in the production process. It's also cheaper to recycle than steel, which in addition to its many other advantages is a big reason why the industry is headed in that direction. Ford is even going Aluminum for the F-150, and other models are likely to follow as they have become pretty well bloated and bringing the weight down is mandatory for meeting future mileage targets.

    If they plan to make many cars, then Aluminum should not really make the car cost more, especially starting from a blank sheet. And it really is a superior material in every way except repairability, and who repairs cars with any notable damage any more anyway? They just get written off and broken down for parts.

    • by Rei (128717) on Friday July 04, 2014 @12:03PM (#47383957) Homepage

      It's weaker, so the weight savings on major structural components isn't as great there. But I agree with you, I find this an odd move on their part. Unless they've got something out of left field in mind, like a composite frame.

      I really despise steel. I just got back from walking over to a muffler repair shop to have them fix a flange that's rusted away for my pickup. : One of many, many parts that's had to be swapped out over the past year due to rust damage. Oh, I better go back out and spray bolts on my Insight with some rust remover after I submit this post... got to do that daily now for a week or so or those rusted-to-hell bolts are going to strip when I remove the cover to change out the gasket. And the Insight is an "aluminum" car - but the engine is still mostly steel.

      I'm building a house now and am even looking to avoid steel in the concrete. For the foundation, we're just going to use fiber for reinforcement. For the walls (assuming the engineer signs off on it) we're going to use basalt fiber rebar. Most people don't realize that when you design a concrete wall, you decide how long it's going to live. The cement carbonates at a relatively constant rate (give or take somewhat depending on various factors like moisture), a given depth per year, which brings it down to a more neutral pH, which then when it gets to the steel allows the steel to rust (the highly basic environment normally protects it). When steel rusts it expands nearly tenfold, and thus the wall spalls out and is ruined. The lack of use of pozzolan in concrete because everyone wants it to harden super-fast so they can finish and move on to the next project only makes the problem worse. Roman concrete (with a volcanic ash pozzolan and no steel) has lasted for thousands of years, but little that we build today with concrete will last even 100, and in hostile environments (for example, bridges near the ocean) you may only get a couple decades. Basalt rebar should hopefully allow for the durability of ancient concrete while allowing for the tensile strength of modern concrete (my home is also going to have a vaulted structure to keep as much force as possible as compressive force, which concrete naturally tolerates well), and I'm going to use a pozzolan (basalt dust), which minimizes the CO2 footprint as well as increasing ultimate strength, durability, and watertightness. Oh, and my gravel/sand will also be basalt, and it's being built on basalt bedrock. ;) Mmm, lava....

      • by khallow (566160)

        I'm building a house now and am even looking to avoid steel in the concrete.

        I'm not an expert, but the steel is protected from corrosion in most forms of concrete due to the mildly alkaline chemistry of the concrete. And if you throw on sacrificial metal [wikipedia.org], you can keep that steel corrosion-free indefinitely.

        • by Rei (128717)

          I'm not an expert, but the steel is protected from corrosion in most forms of concrete due to the mildly alkaline chemistry of the concrete.

          Gee, I wish I'd written something like:

          The cement carbonates at a relatively constant rate (give or take somewhat depending on various factors like moisture), a given depth per year, which brings it down to a more neutral pH, which then when it gets to the steel allows the steel to rust

          ;)

          And if you throw on sacrificial metal [wikipedia.org], you can keep that steel co

          • by khallow (566160)
            Sorry about that. I realized my mistake about a couple minutes after I posted, but I couldn't issue a correction at the time due to the "Cowboy" timeout.
      • by khallow (566160)
        Sorry about the reading comprehension fail in my previous reply. It's clear you've given this a great deal of thought and have ambitions beyond the normal horizons for a typical modern building.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        And the Insight is an "aluminum" car - but the engine is still mostly steel.

        Well, I sure hope I one day get to the point where I get to enjoy driving it instead of regretting my purchase, but this is why I bought an A8. It's almost all Aluminum, except for subframes. Even where I've seen corrosion on hardware, it's come off easily. On the other hand, I've already had to do two heli-coils on the engine. One of them might have been my fault, but I don't think so. The other I'm quite sure wasn't, I was nowhere near the spec when the threads stripped.

        I sure hope this Aluminum F150 kick

  • The model E looks awful in comparison to what we've seen from Tesla so far. The Roadster, the S, and the X are all great looking cars. The E looks like it was co-designed by Nissan or Kia. If they shortened the E by around a foot by lowering the roof line it would look much better.

    I do like the idea of finally seeing a RWD sedan for $30k or less for sale in this country again, though. The big 3 have been completely ignoring this market for a long time and the Asian car makers have basically never ev
  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Friday July 04, 2014 @11:45AM (#47383881)
    The main problem with all electric cars, so far, is needing to have a personal garage to park it in to recharge. If I live in apartment, I can't charge it. If the garage of my single family home is otherwise taken up with 'stuff', I can't plug it in.

    Eventually that issue will change. But for today, how can I buy an all electric if I have no where to plug it in?
    Even if it were sold for $300, I still cannot plug it in!
    • Umm. No.

      I drive a all electric Nissan Leaf, and I don't even have a garage. I have outlets on the outside of my house, and the Leaf charging cable is prob at least 15 ft long.

      I charge at night with no garage.

  • The compact Model E aims to be competitive with the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series, which both start in the low $30,000 range.

    So... is there going to be a compact Model LC for the sub-30K$ market? A car for the majority of drivers?

    • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday July 04, 2014 @12:21PM (#47384059)

      The compact Model E aims to be competitive with the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series, which both start in the low $30,000 range.

      So... is there going to be a compact Model LC for the sub-30K$ market? A car for the majority of drivers?

      I'm sure they are. They started with the premium sedan Model S, then next is the Model X SUV, then this 30k Model E. The trend is definitely towards more affordable vehicles. You just need to establish yourself as a solid manufacturer first with high-profit sales. The success of the 70k+ Model S has helped to fund the factory to allow them to build the cheaper models to come.

      It just takes some time.

  • As a San Franciscan, I'd love to have a smaller and less expensive Tesla, even if the range were considerably less than the 200 miles of the Model S. But 20% smaller is unlikely, since that would make it the same of a Mini Cooper. If they are going to compete with the BMW 3-series or the Audi 3 in the $30K price range, then the Model E should be 8-10% shorter than the Model S. At 196 inches, the Model S is about 20 inches longer than the new Audi 3 sedan. Typical extras on the German cars puts their sti
  • I would be "inexpensive." I know we're a way from that at the moment. But while we note that progress is being made and at the same time, the slow (!) march in progress of more affordable, inexpensive, mass-produced solar and other at-hand, non-centralized power continues, I always feel we're on the cusp of a major paradigm shift. Still... we're beyond the year 2000, no flying cars and no serious advancement since the 80s really. I may be dead before real change is allowed to occur.

  • Yes and I want it in black.

  • by foxalopex (522681) on Friday July 04, 2014 @03:30PM (#47385047)

    For folks who want an electric now, the Chevy Volt is basically one for about 40 miles and then it switches over to gas for longer trips. It's a little small for some folks but being a hatchback, you can actually carry quite a bit of stuff provided you are not carrying passengers and price wise it's actually pretty close to $30K as well. I've owned mine for the last 2 years and it's turned out to be a much better car than I even thought.

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