Plans announced for Tesla compact sedan

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Model S

Tesla recently began delivering the Model S to customers, but next up is a Tesla compact sedan to rival the BMW 3 series. Photo Credit: Crixxor/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA

Tesla Motors appears to have saved its bacon, as it recently started delivering the Model S, the company’s electric full-size sedan. Though the Model X SUV is next on the agenda, it’s been announced that a Tesla compact sedan is in the works, as Tesla wants to take on the 3 series.

Tesla electric sedan latest bid to take on the throne

Among luxury sport compact sedans, the BMW 3 series is considered the standard. BMW has been making and selling a lot of the 3 series since the 1970s for good reason. The car is considered the near-perfect balance of sportiness and practicality, with powerful engines and fantastic driving dynamics, room for five and lots of available amenities. Base models usually aren’t terribly expensive, for those on a budget.

One of the latest car companies to announce intentions of stealing some of the 3 series’ thunder is Tesla. According to AutoGuide, the chief designer for the electric luxury/sport car firm, Franz Von Holzhausen, has told the press that the next project for the company after the Model X is a Tesla compact sedan, priced to compete with the 3 series.

First Tesla under $40K

The cost of newer technologies tends to drop and Tesla is demonstrating it. The first car by the company, the Roadster, cost more than $100,000. The Model S, which just began delivery, begins at $57,400. The goal for Tesla’s as-yet-unnamed compact, is to price the base model at close to $30,000.

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Tesla’s designer, Von Holzhausen, according to AutoCar, says that for the company’s next car, coming after the Model X SUV, the design “will become more experimental” and that “our cars will need to have some personality.” According to Green Car Reports, it’s going to be followed by a compact crossover, just like the Model X followed the Model S. Tesla intends to start production by 2015.

Will be a crowded field

Assuming that Tesla does get it into production by 2015, it’s going to be entering a crowded field. Audi’s next-generation A4 is going to have an “eTron” variant, according to AutoBlog, Audi’s modular alternative power train architecture, which can produce hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fully electric variants. The systems’ potential was demonstrated this year when Audi’s R18 eTron Quattro prototype racer won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. BMW is currently leasing the ActiveE, a fully electric 1 series, in a series of field tests and by the time Tesla’s 3 series contender rolls off the line, an ActiveE 3 series might be right behind it.

Also, the price might be somewhat deceiving. The base Model S might be $57,400 before the $7,500 tax credit, but trims with larger battery packs and more powerful motors, according to the Detroit News, range up to $97,700. The base Model S has a range of only 160 miles with a 40 kilowatt-hour battery pack, but opting for the 85-kWh pack with a 300 mile range will cost $69,900 after the tax credit, according to Tesla’s website. Road trips are out of the question. One can just brim the tank in a 3 series.




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