It’s thin on real details but The Los Angeles Times reports that Tesla will unveil a mainstream EV for 40K in early 2015. That’s actually earlier than I had expected. I haven’t thought they’ll get something to market before 2016, and it’s not clear from the article if unveiling just means a prototype or production. The price point is also more expensive than many had hoped. There had been previous indications that Tesla was eying something in the 30K range.
At 30K, I think we’d really be looking at a game changer because more of the mid-market opens at that price. At 40K, Tesla is competing with higher end BMW 3-series sedans, which isn’t exactly for the masses. I wonder if Tesla just can’t put a battery with a 200 mile range in an EV for anything less than 40K. Tesla has had significant pricing advantages in terms of its off the shelf laptop battery strategy and I think that it’ll still be the most competitive EV maker for this reason, along with its marketing and design leadership.
But an EV breakthrough, along the lines of how the Toyota Prius blew the doors open on hybrid technology, still seems hard to come by at the 40K price point.