For many consumers, the thought of having a car that never requires gas is amazing. As great as that idea may sound, consumers have had to stay away from electric vehicles due to their high prices and, to a lesser extent, their short ranges. At least one of those hurdles may be removed by 2015 now that Tesla will be releasing a $40,000 version of its popular zero-emission car.
Of course, $40,000 is by no means a budget price, but in the realm of electric vehicles, it is a great deal and one that some middle-class consumers may finally be able to afford.
A Few Years Away
Tesla has confirmed that it plans to unveil the cheaper car in early 2015 but it may take an extra year or two before the vehicle is made available to consumers. Even with a release at least a couple of years away, the cheaper car will finally allow Tesla to compete for the average driver's wallet. At $70,000, Tesla's Model S cannot do that.
With a fair number of car companies revealing they also will have electric cars on the market as early as 2014, Tesla's cheaper vehicle may not be the first one to compete in the budget market. However, Tesla has always focused on premium vehicles, which should allow it to attract budget consumers even if mainstream car manufacturers have zero-emission cars available before 2016.
Tesla, despite its growing popularity, is still a small manufacturer. With just one vehicle on the market, it is on track to build 21,000 units. That figure is not sustainable in the long run but as analysts have begun to point out, a cheaper vehicle would allow Tesla to stay relevant a decade down the road.
Tesla may be one of the most well known electric car companies, but other mainstream manufacturers have recognized that demand for zero-emissions cars is growing. Between consumer demand and policies that will require dealers to cut how many gasoline-powered cars are sold over the coming decades, manufacturers see the electric car market as a great place to grow.
Sales of zero-emission vehicles tripled in 2012 and have grown even more in 2013, with more than 100,000 electric cars now on the road in America. If estimates are correct, electric cars may end up controlling 40 percent of the new car market by 2035. There are obvious and measurable benefits to using a zero-emission vehicle both in the form of long-term savings and the decrease in greenhouse gas production attributed to gasoline-combustion cars.
A group of states have already agreed to put in place requirements that will boost sales of electric cars through the coming years by limiting the number of gasoline vehicles that can be sold. That provides an even bigger reason for manufacturers to expand their electric car lines.
Posted: 2014-02-21 @ 4:06pm PT
Eh... you don't buy an electric vehicle for your one and only car. You purchase one as an addition to a car family. For example, we have a Ford C-Max hybrid that does the long trips. For my wife's short drives around town during the week, we have a Focus Electric. If I could afford another FE- we'd have 3 cars! Americans take long road trips too! Once the newest breakthroughs in battery technology become available and in use- we might not even need the hybrid. The time is coming- embrace it, EVs can be just as much fun and exciting as gas engines- and you can always have a Lotus 7 kit on the side for track days..
Posted: 2014-02-02 @ 5:25pm PT
Graphene electrodes will make lithium ion batteries hold twice the charge, thereby doubling range. That puts Tesla at 530 miles/850kms per charge. 2016 should see commercialization.
Posted: 2014-01-17 @ 11:14pm PT
Dear Boomerang Down Under, EV were not designed for long hauls, also folks in central USA - Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas - do drive long distances. Do not confuse a little French town with Oklahoma City, USA. Dear Aussie, your thinking M.O. is rather simple, widen your mental bandwith, and realize that a significant portion of USA drivers (mind you) more than all drivers in australia combined do drive long distances. Try a vacation from New York to the west coast, this ain't no Sunday outing. So down under, don't be such a simpleton. Also down under, have you not heard of the series hybred, Chevy Volt configuration? I mean where did you learn your reasoning skills? Surely not from Plato or Aristotle ?
Posted: 2013-12-18 @ 12:26pm PT
Reply to Jesse "200 mile range isn't enough for Australia?"
Jesse, that is correct if referring to holiday (vacation) travel - I am leaving tonight at midnight to drive from Sydney NSW to the Sunshine Coast area in QLD - approximately 1200km (700 miles).However I think that range would be excellent for most local non-vacation driving in cities and small out-of-city journeys. However I still could not afford one in Australia - for example the price for a Chevy Volt is over $60,000 Australian dollars and that was when the exch rate was Aust$1.00 = US$0.95. Its now down at US$0.88 and if it goes to US$0.47 where it was in 2001, the Chevy volt would be well over a $100k - and we get no tax credit like the US consumers get.
Posted: 2013-12-17 @ 12:46pm PT
200 mile range isn't enough for Australia?
If I had the money, I'd buy a Tesla Model S right now. But I don't, so I'll keep driving my Leaf until Tesla (or someone else) brings out something better that's closer to my price range.
Posted: 2013-12-16 @ 8:57pm PT
Good, finally! Yet it may be too little too late! Think they should have lowered the price soon after they were introduced to get the maximum exposure right away! Sometimes, you have to lose money before you can really make money!
Posted: 2013-12-16 @ 8:17pm PT
my Nissan Leaf is the greatest car i've had. of course it's not for long trips; a Chevy S-10 or my wife's Prius does those chores very well. there are as many misunderstandings about EV as the Affordable Care Act.
Posted: 2013-12-16 @ 4:15pm PT
Still completely useless in Australia, where long distance travel is common for holidays.
I guess until europe and usa realise most of the world drives further than they do, we won't have 'decent' electric cars.