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Tesla Plans Cheaper, Smaller EV for 2016/17 – News – Car and Driver | Car and Driver Blog

Fresh off its first-ever profitable quarter and basking in rave reviews for its Model S sedan, Tesla Motors is making plans for a third car that could turn the California startup into a full-line automaker.

At its recent annual shareholder meeting, CEO Elon Musk told the crowd that the company would develop a third-generation platform by 2016 or 2017 that would be smaller than the Model Sat half its price. Musk didn’t elaborate on the car and only mentioned it on a passing PowerPoint slide, a contrast to his usual showboating, as when he debuted a second Model X concept at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show in January. “I don’t care what you say,” he stated at the time in front of the Model X, an all-wheel-drive crossover slated for late 2014. “There is no competition at this show for us.”

At this point, we can’t really disagree with him. With company shares hovering near $100 (more than double the price from two months earlier) and a $465 million federal loan paid off nine years early, Tesla is riding high. Even with plans to increase the number of Tesla’s Supercharger fast-charging stations from eight to nearly 80 by year’s end, Musk was cool on the company’s future. “Even if we absolutely suck at cash management, we’ll still do OK,” he said.

Musk has long wanted to build a less expensive electric car, but wouldn’t have garnered the money or the attention without introducing pricey, top-tier cars such as the Roadster and Model S. The third model, code-named “Blue Star,” supposedly will aim for the BMW 3-series, not the Nissan Leaf. (Despite the platform shift, this is as was reported last summer.) In an interview two weeks earlier with Bloomberg, Musk hinted the car would cost less than $40,000 and have a 200-mile range.

“With the Model S, you have a compelling car that’s too expensive for most people,” he told Bloomberg. “And you have the Leaf, which is cheap, but it’s not great. What the world really needs is a great, affordable electric car. I’m not going to let anything go, no matter what people offer, until I complete that mission.”



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