With the difficulty of developing a modular electric car platform behind it, Tesla seems like it’s on a roll with Model S variants. Next up could be a competitor to the BMW 3 Series, followed by an all-electric pickup truck.
So far, Tesla has only produced the Lotus-Elise-based Roadster and Model S large hatchback, but with the latter car’s bespoke platform done, the sky’s the limit. The Model X all-electric sport utility vehicle is already planned with its crazy falcon wing-style door and is slated to start production late in 2013, reaching dealers early in 2014.
We hear from Autocar that Tesla’s follow-up to the Model X will be a mid-size premium sedan, in the vein of the BMW 3 Series. The car would be smaller than the Model S and also have a smaller price tag than the current car’s $49,000 sticker–Tesla design chief Franz Von Holzhausen said that Tesla bosses are shooting for the car to have a $30,000 price tag for a base model.
The addition of a 3 Series-sized car to the Tesla EV range makes immediate sense–it would give Tesla a larger customer base–but what Von Holzhausen said next was a bit more puzzling. “There will be a time and place for us to develop something around a pick-up,” he told Autocar.
At first glance, the idea of Tesla leaving its eco-luxury roots and making a workhorse pickup truck seems odd, but Von Holzhausen did say that the Tesla’s electric powertrain would have suitable torque to make a good pickup truck.
If Tesla could make an all-electric pickup at or near the same $30,000 price point as the upcoming 3 Series fighter, it would be an interesting entrant into the shrinking market of fuel-efficient pickups, especially now that mid-size pickups like the Ram Dakota and Ford Ranger have died in the past year.
The 3 Series rival could bow as early as 2015, with the pickup following some time later.