Tesla’s pending Gigafactory battery plant will be needed to enable production of nearly a quarter million electric cars later this decade, and while they’re at it, Model 3 may spin off an SUV and station wagon variant.
This word of the proposed $35,000 car came last week from Tesla’s vice president for engineering, Chris Porritt. Nothing is being ruled out, he told Auto Express, as the company seeks to morph from relative niche automaker to mass production manufacturer.
“We don’t know what type of customer we’re trying to appeal to yet, but we want to speak to more customers … Lots of them!” said the British-Born Tesla exec speaking to the UK publication. “We’ve got specific customers for Model S, we have an idea with Model X, but we need to appeal to more people with Model 3.
“We want this car to be £30,000 to £35,000 with derivatives which will appeal to all sorts of people. SUVs, estates [wagons] – who knows?”
Porritt said the Tesla is projected to be revealed 2016 for a 2017 launch. The Model 3 is presented as a BMW 3-Series fighter and alternately it’s been called “entry level,” but Auto Express termed it a compact executive car. This likely is a more appropriate description, even if it will be the lowest price point for Tesla at an estimated $35,000 plus.
And at the other end of the range, Tesla is thinking about a sports car, but Porritt was described as “coy” when asked about it.
“We may do a Roadster or a sports car again, but at the moment we are on a trajectory to get more volume rather than focus on a specialist product,” he said.
What ever Tesla decides to do, clear is it wants to build many more vehicles. Its total volume production including Model 3, Model S and Model X is to be “well over 200,000 a year,” Poritt said, thus the need for the Gigafactory.
The goal is to shift economies of scale with the largest battery plant in the world in order to bring prices down, profits up, and not have to cut range and driver expectations from the next wave of Tesla cars – what ever kinds these may be.