A middle class Tesla?

A middle class Tesla?

I love these Tesla cars, but like most when the Model S was first announced, i didn't care because the price tag screamed "10%er's only!, Go be poor somewhere else". I know that Tesla is working on a new model that will be priced at entry level BMW territory. But for many in the middle class, 35K+ (38k-40k OTD) is not even close to being considered "affordable". With all the amazing things i hear about these current cars I truly want Tesla to be successful, though i feel the only real way this will ever happen is when a model is released in the 25k (30k OTD max) range. I now it might be too soon for now as the rumored Model E hasn't even hit car show floors yet. But is a true affordable model in the future for Tesla and more importantly the largest consumer base in the US?

Mike T | October 25, 2013

Hard to say for certain, but Tesla setup to be a premium car maker. That coupled with inflation by the time a car would even be possible to manufacture by Tesla, it would be out of the 25k range IMO.

bonaire | October 25, 2013

Musk recently said the Model-E would price roughly half of the Model-S. That is perhaps $35K (base) to $50K+ (optioned-out). And we know that there will be plenty of options like the S since that is where higher margins are made.

Webcrawler | October 25, 2013

I agree $40-50K by the time it is released in late 2017 or 2018...

Nineball | October 25, 2013

Thanks Tiebreaker for the link.

Robert Fallin | October 25, 2013

You should join my discussion on how Tesla could build a car affordable to all buyers.

That being said, as a retired technical writer/logistics support analyst, I can say confidently that the Tesla Model S is a real bargain, as its operating and maintenance costs should be extremely low. A Tesla Model S requires no oil changes or any sort of fluid changes of which I am aware, electric motors are much more reliable than those of fossil fuels, no transmission repairs, extremely low "fuel costs" and battery pack exchanges have been announced. Besides, recent breakthroughs in battery storage technology should bring down the cost of a replacement battery pack drastically by the end of the decade.

Given these factors, I would compare the overall cost of a Tesla Model S. to be closer to be a premium car at a full-sized car price.

Brian H | October 26, 2013

The cooling systems require fluid.

tezzla.SoCal | October 26, 2013

Why does everybody think that Tesla has to build cars for everyone? Who's calling for Porsche/Lamborghini/Aston Martin/etc to build a small cheaper car for the masses?

I'm not saying they can't or won't, but it seems like everybody is DEMANDING that they have to. I don't get it.

Timo | October 26, 2013

They demand that so that they can buy one. Also to make BEV common to everyone forgetting that Tesla is business and not charity.

Bubba2000 | October 26, 2013

Anyone who has been around in the last 35 years can see how the price of manufactured products fall, especially if there is a lot technology involved and hi volumes... not just microchips. Look at the microwave... those things used to be heavy and cost nearly $1,000, now you can buy one for about $100. Look at toasters, electric irons, washing and driers, refrigerators, etc. Adjust for inflation as well.

Model S, X, and Gen got a raw material component. The rest is technology, manufacturing scale, labor, level of automation in manufacturing, streamlining of design and manufacturing, supply chain, logistics. With these autos due to the hi level of automated manufacturing possible, prices could come down significantly. The cost of electronics will fall with volume and Moore's Law. Excluding the batteries, and the $1,500 extra spend on Al, the cost of these cars should be significantly lower than comparable ICE autos.

Battery prices measure in terms of $KW-hr will also fall at the rate of 7%/year. Compound that over 5 years and that is a significant amount. Any disruptive tech can cause prices to fall steeply and density to 2x or more as some of the research being done shows.

The cost of refueling a tank can be 1/10 compared to gasoline, especially in Europe. Norway is an extreme.

At some point, I expect to see the tipping point for the BEVs.

Timo | October 26, 2013

Battery prices measure in terms of $KW-hr will also fall at the rate of 7%/year

It's actually turning to be faster than that. Closer to 10% and it just seems to be accelerating thanks to technical advancements.

Robert Fallin | October 26, 2013

You are right, Brian H. However, how often does the cooling system have to be serviced?

Brian H | October 27, 2013

Good question. I don't know.

TSLAholic | October 28, 2013

I believe the cooling system needs to be serviced once every 2 years according to the service plan.

just an allusion | November 4, 2013

I understand that there is much consumer outcry for an "affordable" EV that is suited to the commuters' practical needs and we're all aware that that goal is in the works, so why is there all of this disingenuous short selling of the individual/company that is obviously intent on bringing it to us?

Progress is a process, and patience is a virtue...Be virtuous in the progression of your patience and the goal you desire will be upon you before you know it.

Or you could always take it upon yourself to produce what you desire so much....

carlgo | November 4, 2013

Volume is required both to make money and to make an electrical charging infrastructure feasible. Need lots of cars to charge up or a couple of hundred Superchargers will be all we have.

Musk wants everyone to drive electric, not just a small percentage of the population.

Most manufacturers seem to concentrate on those $30K and up models. It seems to be where the profits are, a combination of some sort of decent margin and volume.

An electric will of course be more affordable in total expenditures per year than a similarly priced ICE vehicle.

People today go for the 72-month payments, and leases of course, to make nice cars affordable. People only care about making a payment, not the cost of the car. We could see even longer payment plans.

Really cheap cars will have to wait on some fairly magical battery technology.

Timo | November 4, 2013

Not magical, only cheap. HTH.

Kaboom | November 5, 2013

To be honest, I don't really understand all these people pining for a cheap Tesla's. If yo ureally want to drive a EV, they already have those on the market, they just arent tesla's. And more are coming out in the near future from other auto companies, like Honda and BMW.

If you want a Tesla....then be prepared to pay a premium, as it is rightfully an exclusive car. even if TSLA brings out a sub 45k car, i doubt it would have the same features, panache and ergonomics of the current MS.

Kaboom | November 5, 2013

Oh and one other point about the cost difference between what is now a $90k MS and what will be a potentially 50k the time it comes out i am quite sure that none of the $7-10k rebates will be in effect anymore.

Brian H | November 5, 2013

Elon has aired some quasi-promises about new tech and design and features for the E. It will not just be a cut-down version of the MS.

carlgo | November 5, 2013

Kaboom, expect a ground-up new design, although if swappers are ever to be used the battery would have to be the same in terms of the size, bolt pattern, etc.

The new car won't be cheap, but it probably will be about half the price similarly optioned. That extra $50K dramatically limits the potential ownership pool!

It is actually more difficult to design a good cheap car than an expensive one, so Tesla has likely been spending a lot of time on this project.

Roamer@AZ USA | November 6, 2013

We don't have "classes" in America. We are not a class based society.

We do have income variation so the term "middle income" would fit better.

Sorry, I just don't like the term middle class, top class, bottom class, sounds like how they operate in India.

olanmills | November 6, 2013

To those of you asking why people are demanding cheap Teslas. I see at least three reasons, if not more:

First, there' the actual market desire. People like the cars, and they don't see any one else even trying to do the same thing.

Second, people who are investing in Tesla want to see cheaper cars because it means they will be able to grow into a majorly valuable business. Their current stock price and outlook for the future is only justified by the hope that they will become a major car manufacture and/or supplier in the future.

Third, people want to see Tesla to succeed for external factors such as environmental concerns, diversication of energy consumption and production, etc etc. Tesla's growth and success could lead to wider changes beyond the company itself, including having other companies follow their lead. Many people don't think this can really happen with any big impact unless Tesla, or someone, can make Tesla-like cars that are more affordable and available in larger numbers.

olanmills | November 6, 2013

Roamer, we certainly do have classes in America, they are just not rigid and enforced by terrible rules, and they are not defined by distinct lines.