Estate car UTE or even a Van

Estate car UTE or even a Van

This 'premium' and 'luxury' stuff is all very well, but the average motorist either can't afford it, or knows their own needs and can't justify it. Electric vehicles need to rapidly come down to grass roots to survive in a buyer's market. People need basic cars.
But, having said that, I'm pretty sure that the Tesla Motor Company know this, and will have their sights set on something of a practical nature in the not too distant future. And no, I don't mean an SUV.
And what about commercial vehicles? Electric power is ideal for local deliveries.
For myself, I need an economical estate car or small van to carry my RC planes and stuff around. ;¬)

Brian H | June 22, 2013

You're way behind the curve. From the beginning (about 8 yrs ago) the Tesla Secret Master Plan, which is widely publicized, laid out the sequence: expensive proof-of-concept small production car (Roadster); mid-price luxury car (model S); mass-market family car ("GenIII"). Each creates demand for and funds the next.

Ken H | June 24, 2013

Brian is perhaps a bit terse, but he is absolutely correct. Fret not, cheapo, lower cost models have always been part of the plan.

That written, I +1 your desire for a delivery van, or LCV as they are known. Something to compete with the Mercedes Sprinter would be great. I'd prefer, however, something modeled on the GMC Transmode with it's timeless good looks, lower entry height, wide cargo area, multiple wheelbase lengths, and tremendous flexibility for up-fitters.

avanti | July 15, 2013

Hmmm, Sprinter...

So, this immediately brings to mind a Tesla-based "Class B" conversion van RV, similar to the Airstream Interstate. Which, of course, would have a propane tank and on-board genset usable for emergency recharges. Cool.

Such vehicles sell for 6 figures these days, so the market could probably absorb a more expensive base vehicle.

filsmyth | July 15, 2013

6 weeks ago I uploaded an image manipulation of a Tesla Ute to g+. At the time I didn't take it too seriously, and didn't bother fixing the door, which in the image is too long. Also affixed the 'XP' designation to it, which I now realize should be 'XT'.

The Model X was chosen over the S as the basis not just because the cabin is further forward (thus offering more bed space), but also for the option of AWD.

If built, the base XT would be less expensive than the X and S, yet likely not as inexpensive as the 'small car' ("GenIII"). An AWD Performance model would also be less expensive than its Performance siblings, but with less weight would be the quickest of the bunch.

Someone asked for a 4-door version. At first I completely rejected the idea, but eventually went ahead and sketched an extended-cab ute with a pair of falcon-wing doors. Where the XT is a 2+1-seater, the XTX is a 3+2. Prices for XTXes would probably be very close to those for the Model X.

So far I haven't done any sketches or image manipulations speculating on what the small car will look like, if only because as an (amateur) automotive designer I do not see this as a challenge. My guess is that it's already designed -- maybe they're still working on the interior, but I don't do interiors yet anyway. I can picture the car, but prefer to keep a wait-and-see attitude, hoping to be pleasantly surprised by details I hadn't envisioned.

Instead I've done something based on that car, the 'Model Q', which is a fully autonomous vehicle (FAV) with a capacity of up to 6 passengers, facing one another on bench seats, stagecoach-style. With the Q, Tesla Motors could provide transportation even for those unable to afford a lease or purchase -- and even for those who don't drive. Again we see a pair of falcon-wing doors, and it would not be difficult to split a door on one side into a combination of hatch and wheelchair ramp (with the ramp extending from the lower part of the door, the only visual difference externally would be an extra cut line). Plenty of room between the seats for a wheelchair, two being a bit of a squeeze.

While an autopilot option on any car would make it a lot more expensive, and you wouldn't save a lot of money by omitting the manual driver controls, the Q is not intended as a one-owner vehicle. You would hire one on a short-term basis, or subscribe to a plan in which Q's would be made available for use as needed. Fleets could be purchased by corporations for employee and client use, and Tesla Motors themselves could offer them as temporary transportation for customers, for all the varied reasons customers require temporary transportation.

They could even be pressed into service as automated taxis -- but other manufacturers will probably build inferior, less classy FAVs to fill that role.

At some point I'll be working on a design for a traditional Tesla pickup, which I suppose will eventually lead to commercial vehicles. Meanwhile I need to produce more sketches of the 'Model L', a sleek purpose-built limousine...

EvaP | July 15, 2013

Great images.

For myself, I picture one the size of a small Honda, as pretty as Model S with only two seats as I have no family or kids, so I would be driving alone most of the time.
Color red, interior cream color.

Lots of luggage room for the long trips I would take to show off my cool car!

filsmyth | July 15, 2013

Thanks! Check my album again. Having not read your comment EvaP I did another page of small sketches, including a sportscar...

Someone told me the "next Roadster" would be based on the upcoming small car, and be a 2+2. I'd rather have a retracting glass roof panel than a targa top, and forget the rear seats, which in a 2+2 are usually almost useless anyway.

Now I'm thinking of a sporty coupe, with falcon-wing doors...

electromotiveforce | July 15, 2013

a Vanagon-style van would be awesome.