Tesla has a big year in front of them if an Autobild interview with Tesla chief designer Franz von Holzhausen is any indication of the company’s future plans. After launching the Tesla Roadster in 2008 and the Tesla Model S last year, the company is looking to further expand its lineup within the next year or so with the release of the Tesla Model X crossover and a smaller Tesla sedan to undercut the Model S.
The Tesla Model X crossover was previewed by a concept version shown in early 2012. It features a similar architecture as the Model S sedan with under-floor battery packs but a longer wheelbase. The Tesla Model X also has a unique gullwing door design for easier access to its seven-passenger seating. Holzhausen told Autobild that the Tesla Model X is almost finished, which makes sense given that we previously reported that the Model X had been delayed until late 2014 for the start of production. This means we should see the production model make its debut sometime in mid-2014, likely with a slightly higher price than the $63,570 Model S.
Holzhausen also confirmed that the company is working on a new platform for a smaller sedan which may be called the Tesla Model E. This new sedan will ride on a new platform, likely with a similar structure and layout as the Model S and Model X. However, Holzhausen said that the design of the car would diverge from the look of the Model S, as the company wants to differentiate these different model lines with unique styling. When asked when this smaller sedan might debut, Holzhausen said that the 2015 Detroit auto show was a likely possibility.
Previous reports have suggested that the smaller Model E will start at a much lower price point in order to better compete with mass-market EVs like the Nissan Leaf, which starts at $29,650 with destination. The upcoming Tesla Model S would likely cost more than this, but still under $40,000 and could offer around 200 miles of electric driving range to the Nissan Leaf’s 75-mile range as estimated by the EPA.
Keep an eye out over the next year for more big news from Tesla as the company continues to expand in the market.