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Report: Compact Tesla Sedan Priced Against BMW 3-Series, Audi A4

Giving credence to earlier speculation that the upcoming compact Tesla electric sedan would cost between $30,000 and $40,000, Autocar now reports that the new model will be priced "realistically" against luxury competitors like the BMW 3-Series.

The tip comes from Tesla vice president of engineer Chris Porritt, who tells Autocar that the compact Tesla will hit showrooms in late 2016 or early 2017. Battery pricing was apparently a major deciding factory in determining cost, but the forthcoming Gigafactory will work to keep the cost of these lithium-ion packs down by building batteries in high volumes.

When we heard from Tesla vice president of worldwide sales and service Jerome Guillen at the 2014 Detroit auto show in January, he insisted that the smaller car would have a "practical" driving range that said, "You will not feel sorry, you'll feel proud."

While the compact Tesla electric sedan was once known as the Model E, that name has since been abandoned. Current estimates pit the compact Tesla electric sedan's range at around 200 miles. Max range for the larger Tesla Model S, our 2013 Automobile of the Year, is rated at 265 miles.

Porritt also let it slip that the new compact Tesla will not use the all-aluminum platform seen on the Model S. "I expect there will be very little carry-over," he told Autocar. "We've got to be cost-effective. We can't use aluminum for all the [small car's] components." It's possible that aluminum will mix with high-strength steels in the new car.

The seven-seat Tesla Model X crossover, set to go on sale toward the end of 2015, will use the Model S aluminum platform. Aside from the body changes and addition of gullwing doors, the Model X will also sport a revised suspension compared to its sedan progenitor.

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