Did you hear the good news? Finally, some of our questions answered.
The Chevrolet Bolt is being painted in the press as a Tesla competitor. It's not and Elon Musk agrees. And while GM says its 200-mile EV will be priced at $30,000, there's a big asterisk on that sticker – it includes incentives – incentives that Musk isn't including in the price of the Model 3.
Musk has said in the past that the Model 3 would cost $35,000, but tonight he clarified that figure doesn't include any state or federal tax incentives.
Just the Feds will give you $7,500 for going electric, which puts the real sticker price of the Bolt at $37,500. And if Tesla used the same math GM is promoting, that would mean the Model 3 would come in at $28,500 after current incentives.1
Obviously, Tesla has a long way to get there. It still needs to deliver the already delayed (twice) Model X before getting really serious about the Model 3, and Musk shed some light on what he's trying to accomplish.
"[The Model 3] will be way different from any other car on the road," says Musk. But, "in a way that's really useful and just doesn't feel like a weird-mobile."2
Musk reiterated other facts about the Model 3, including the that it will be around 20 percent smaller than the Model S – which he admits is a big car – and that some things that are standard on its big brother will be optional on the 3 – which is sure to help that $35,000 price.
The Model 3 discussion came after Musk's on-stage interview at the Automotive News World Congress. And since Musk loves to let loose, here are the highlights of what he said to the rabid band of reporters:
- Tesla will be "first to market with autonomous features." But people should be concerned about the safety of self-driving cars. To Musk's mind, fully autonomous vehicles will only happen when automakers can prove to consumers that they're 10 times safer than traditional cars.3
- He wants a carbon tax, and automakers and polluters should pay for the privilege of dumping crap into our atmosphere.456
- Musk has no intentions of ever leaving Tesla, but he doesn't think he'll be CEO forever.
- When asked about hydrogen, Musk called them "extremely silly" and went on a tear about his myriad of issues with the fuel before saying that the sooner we give up on hydrogen the better. "This will be super obvious when time goes by."7
- Does he have anything to learn from the Volt or other cars on the road? "No." End of discussion.
- No one has taken Tesla up on its "open source" patents, but they don't need to inform Tesla.8
- Superchargers will continue to expand throughout the continental U.S., Europe, China, and "most of the world" over the next couple of years.
- The Model X has sold out for the entire first model year.9
- Regarding the recent Wall Street Journal article that calls into question the high rate of turnover of Tesla employees, Musk goes off, calls it "asinine" and points out that a lot of high-level execs have been there for quite some time. (Not so much in its communications department...)
- Question: Are you a good boss? "I try to be a good boss… most of the time. Not all the time."
- Tesla is not seeking partnerships, instead focusing on getting the X to market, and Musk infers that the press has burned him in the past when it came to rumors of working with other automakers.
- Finally, this delightful little nugget from the first Q&A: Musk originally thought that with phones and tablets, interior lights in the back seats of the Model S were useless. That was until one of his kids was reading a book. "This is the stupidest car in the world," said one of Musk's progeny. "After that we put the lights in the back."10