There is chatter all over the Internet today about new conceptions—and it has nothing to do with Kate Middleton. According to the Wired website, the uber-trendy luxury electric automaker, Tesla Motors Inc. of Silicon Valley, plans to launch two new models including a smaller crossover SUV that will rival the BMW X3 and a new sports car to replace the Roadster, the prestigious $109,000 two-seater discontinued earlier this year.
According to Elon Musk, the company’s founder, the new additions to the Tesla line-up will be launched in tandem in 2016. “We’ll do the X3 equivalent and then a Roadster follow-up in parallel,” he remarked.
They will join the current main attraction, the Model S sedan, and a planned entry-level sedan that Musk says will launch in 2015 at an affordable MSRP of around $30,000.
While Musk was hesitant to delve into in depth details of the two models set 2016, he did mention they were needed to attain the economy of scale required to glean profit. Musk also disputed rumors that the small crossover would be called Model E. “I was joking when I said ‘Model E’,” he explained. The rumor cropped up after Musk said Model E at an open forum that was recently held on Jalopnik, a car culture site.
The sports vehicle that will succeed the Telsa Roadster already is being bruited to be a big seller that will help the company to operate above the break-even point. While the company sold 2,300 of the original Roadster during its four-year run, the new sports car is expected to surpass previous numbers.
The biggest issue will be keeping its weight down—an ongoing issue for EVs. The performance version of the Model S, equipped with a slightly modified electric motor and 85-kilowatt hour (kWh) battery pack, can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in about four seconds, yet it weighs nearly 4,500 pounds. Tesla will be looking at lighter-weight components and next-generation batteries to slim its sports vehicle down.
Musk was eager to quell any speculation about the new sport car’s price. “It will have supercar performance, but not supercar pricing,” he noted. Unlike most roadsters, this new sports car will focus more on performance than on price.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein