Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) already has plans in place for its Generation III vehicle, and more details are coming out. CEO Elon Musk talked about the vehicle earlier this week at the company’s annual meeting, and Fox News published a story by John Voelcker of High Gear Media providing more details about the future vehicle.
Tesla Motors’ Gen III Will Have Style
The vehicle’s code name, according to Voelcker, is Blue Star, which is similar to White Star, the vehicle which ended up being the model S. The Gen III vehicle will be a compact sedan, and it’s described as a competitor for the BMW 3-Series. After the sedan, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) will release a crossover vehicle using the same platform.
Musk said the Gen III sedan will be less expensive than the Model S, although it will be nicer than the Nissan Leaf. He said in an interview with Bloomberg that his goal with the sedan is to create “a great, affordable electric car.”
He has also said that it will clearly bear “a family resemblance” to the Model S.
Possible Specs For Tesla’s Gen III
Musk also said the range of the Gen III car will be approximately 200 miles and that the vehicle will cost about half of the price of the Model S. Thus far, estimates for Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s Gen III vehicle have varied from $30,000 up to $40,000.
Voelcker believes that the low end of that price range is the company’s post-incentive prices. He doesn’t think that by 2016 Tesla would have yet built the 200,000 vehicles which are required to begin winding down the $7,500 federal incentive.
Tesla’s Battery Technology
In terms of the battery technology, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) hasn’t released any details, but Voelcker said Tesla partner Panasonic is working on creating cells that are more energy dense and also reducing the cost of high-volume cell fabrication.
This confirms what Musk said at the meeting that they are working with Panasonic on the battery technology for their vehicles. However, it still leaves open the question about whether the cost reduction will come from the use of bigger lithium-ion batteries like other automakers do. The Model S uses thousands of cells which are wired together.
Musk even indicated that they might include autopilot technology in the Gen III vehicle.
Timing For Tesla’s Gen III
Tesla’s Model X won’t go on sale until toward the end of next year, so we won’t see the Gen III go into production until late 2016. I’s possible we will see what the design looks like in 2015.