Published on April 11th, 2013 | by James Ayre


Tesla’s More-Affordable 4th Production Model To Be Released By 2017

April 11th, 2013 by  

Tesla, tesla, tesla — the news just keeps rolling in about this EV/automobile/technology/societal leader. The article below nails down (rather loosely) one specific about something almost everyone seems to be waiting for news about — Tesla’s next, mass-market EV model. Here’s an article about the Tesla news from EV Obsession:

Tesla’s fourth production model is now expected to be released as early as 2017, according to the man — Elon Musk — himself. The new model, following after the Model X SUV in 2014, will be a lower-priced, mid-range vehicle for those who would love to own a Tesla Motors EV but can’t necessarily afford a Model S.

Image Credit: Tesla Motors Model X

Image Credit: Tesla Motors Model X

With Tesla’s recent announcement of a very appealing lease arrangement, though, perhaps the Model S is more affordable than many people think.

The exact quote from Tesla CEO Elon Musk regarding the cheaper model, as quoted by AutoblogGreen, was: “Hopefully 2016, but I would say no later than 2017.”

The new model is as of now without a name, but some details about it have been released. It will be of a somewhat smaller size than the Model S, and priced at around half of what the Model S is currently going for. As of now, a new Model S ranges between $70,000 and $100,000 before tax credits and rebates (such as the $7,500 federal tax credit and the $2,500 California rebate). In the interview, Musk also stated that Tesla’s national “network of Supercharger stations will always be free to Tesla owners and that, while the company has ‘great product,’ its service offerings have room for improvement.”

And with regards to the Model X SUV, that is currently expected to be released in late 2014 (recently pushed back from late 2013 in order to focus on Model S production, which is in high demand).

In related news, Tesla recently reached the important milestone of having achieved its first ever quarterly profit, for the period that just ended on March 31, and Tesla seems to have led all plug-in electric vehicle (including plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) auto sales in the same time period.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Matt Farkas

    2017!!!!????!!!! i’d emailed them in 2004 (when the fisker fella was still there) and they kept saying “next year, we’ll produce a 20k car… wtf? now i’d settle for a 40k ev… WHERE IS MY CAR?!!!!! and yes, i’d install PVs to power the thing to avoid using coal

  • gjm

    How can you “for those who cant necessarily “Afford” the S ? did It ever Dawn on u That some people Don’t Necessarily Like a car That Big. I Bet U never seen one ! Its a BIG car Too BIG for Me !

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  • petero

    Affordable or comparable? IMO Tesla Motors emulates the BMW
    model structure. Comparing a Model S (MS) and a BMW 5 Series (5) you find
    pricing, features, quality very similar. Tesla wants to build high quality, more luxury oriented cars…like BMW. When Tesla comes out with their Gen III EV in a few years it will be comparable to a BMW 3 Series in price, features, quality etc. Gen III will be more expensive than Volts, Leaf(s), small Ford EVs and similar sized, volume ICE vehicles (ie. Camry, Accord, Altima). Keep in mind a Leaf is twice the price of Versa, from which it is based.

    Bottom line, Tesla will never be a low cost, high volume, price,
    leader like Honda, Toyota, etc. It will remain a premium marque. Personally, I would never use the words‘affordable and Tesla’ in the same sentence unless I am comparing the cost ofrecharging versus gasoline. Approximate cost to fill a 5 with gasoline is $80,to fully charge a MS approx. $15 – both will get you 200-300 miles. BTW, I can drive my 60kWh MS from Thousand Oaks ( So. CA) to San Francisco using the Tesla/Solar City supercharging network. Granted it takes 30-40 minutes (at each station) to supercharge versus 5 minutes at the pump but then again supercharging is free and last I checked Exxon, Shell, Chevron, 76, Mobile isn’t.

    I will be the first to admit that a battery electric vehicle
    (BEV) at this time and with the current infrastructure, is not the ideal
    vehicle for long distance travelling. However, mine has been flawless for
    travelling 150 miles a day. “Most” people commute 50 miles or less a day, Toyota did extensive researchand found the average for Prius drivers was 30 miles or less.

    • Bob_Wallace

      “Bottom line, Tesla will never be a low cost, high volume, price,leader like Honda, Toyota, etc. It will remain a premium marque.”

      Making absolute predictions is a risky business.

      I’ll agree that it’s not very likely that Tesla will become a manufacturer on the scale of the major car companies. My guess is that a few years from now Elon will have proved his point, making world class EVs and showing everyone else how to do it. At that point I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tesla bought out by Toyota as their upscale EV brand. And then Toyota would build the Camry/Corolla EVs.

      After all, Tesla has a close relationship with Toyota. They’re building their cars in a plant co-owned by Tesla and Toyota. Tesla is doing the electrical design for Toyota’s RAV EVs.

      Perhaps Toyota will want to use the Tesla label to boost the reputation of their lowest priced EVs. Things could spin out that way and your prediction could bite you in the hindquarters….

      • petero

        I stand corrected on “never.” I believe Daimler Benz has the first option to buy.

    • jeffhre

      petero, I recall reading that the Leaf is built on a separate platform and not based on the Versa at all. In fact now that I consider it. It would be impossible to build batteries into the floor of a Versa and construct a usable car over it like the Leaf.

      I have had it in the back of my mind that I would really like to be a Tesla customer when their third gen. vehicle comes out. 2017 is a bit farther out then I had hoped, since my Volt lease will end in 2015.

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  • Pieter Siegers

    I really do hope the model is coming earlier of course, but this is awesome news!

  • Erica Kensho

    I have to laugh at all these naysayers and there “range anxiety.” The average person puts between 1000 to 1250 miles a month on their car (12,000 to 15,000 miles per year.) Assuming we were to only drive 6 days a week (26 days a month), worst case scenario is 1250 divided by 26, or 48 miles per day. Even in it’s most affordable version, the Model S can go 160 miles between charges (which would ostensibly be done each night) so running out of juice seems pretty unlikely unless you forget to charge the car for a couple of nights. If you’re one of those people who has a longer commute (say a hundred miles in each direction), that’s still only 200 miles a day, so you buy the higher up model with 250 mile range. About the only issue here is taking the car on long road trips exceeding 250 miles to your destination, and at the rate they’re building supercharging stations, this probably won’t be an issue for long. If you’re really that terrified of running out of juice, buy a small propane powered generator and keep it in the back of the car.

    • Pieter Siegers

      Very good comment thanks for writing this Erica 🙂

    • Joe Real

      I hope that they complete the superchargers on my way to a remote cabin soon. In reality, many of us commuters would take a once or twice a month long distance trips even if our daily commute is 10 miles a day. So we average out the same distance per month as others doing only the average 48 miles per day commute. Reality is you cannot just run to help a friend or relative who are beyond your driving range. You cant go to the snow and be back on the beach on the same day, or go to special events if you don’t give enough allowance on extra mileage estimates for you to safely get back. When supercharger incrastructure becomes common then that would be the day. We cannot claim freedom to drive everywhere there is road and any given time. I like that Musk is trapping solar energy to power the superchargers as this will not destabilize the fragile grid.

    • mn_test347

      You can never drive the car from LA to Vegas. Or SF to Tahoe, or…

      What you’ve described is an alternative to taking the bus to work.

      btw – I saw a Tesla by the side of the freeway this morning. SB 280 just past Magdalena.

    • mn_test347

      ” If you’re really that terrified of running out of juice, buy a small
      propane powered generator and keep it in the back of the car.”

      It’s not that simple – it would have to meet the DOT regulations for transporting propane.

  • Cardiogram

    Half-price, smaller and mid-range? I hope it is far better than the Leaf. It would definitely not be any better than the GM-Volt as I would go with the GM-Volt for the same price. With smaller range, you are severely limited with range anxiety. With the Volt, it is a game of not making the genset turn on, and with this Tesla MidRange, it will be a risky game of being stranded somewhere at the edge of your range, risking with your life if you are stranded in the middle of the freeway.

    If Tesla would put in a cheap but efficient generator that can recharge the battery when it falls below some state of charge, I might consider the midrange Tesla.

    • Bob_Wallace

      If you get stranded in the middle of the freeway in the LEAF you’ve done something stupid.

      If you’re capable of doing something stupid in a LEAF you’re capable of doing something stupid in a Volt or a Buick Skylark.

      • Some Leaf owners actually died when they were stranded in the middle of the freeway because of the guessometer remaining mileage range. Tesla has the same guessometer.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Got a link for that?

          • jeffhre

            You go Bob, LOL!!! EV drivers unfortunately need to do quite a bit more planning than conventional ICE vehicles. Clearly that propensity for planning makes random horrible incidents (like running out of gas on a busy highway or explosions at gas stations from the transfer static from car interiors) much less likely. Gotta thank the trolling haters for bring up that difference 🙂

        • Bob_Wallace

          Still waiting for you to back up your claim about the highway deaths….

        • Bob_Wallace

          I spent quite a bit of time searching for something that supported your claim. I found nothing. I found no LEAF-connected deaths, I found no LEAF-dead battery crashes.

          You’ve had about 24 hour to back up your claim and you haven’t.

          I’m calling bullshit and taking down your post. The world doesn’t need any more crap being floated.

          If you come up with some proof for your claim I’ll put it back up.

          • hear! hear! if such a claim kept one person from switching to an EV, it’d be a real shame.

    • agelbert

      Unless the trip is much longer than a daily commute, range anxiety is not an issue. Also, in two years the network of charging stations (180 new ones each month at present) will add to convenience. Finally, expect charge times to keep going down AND a device to allow you to plug into ANY outlet, even if it isn’t a dedicated charger, in an emergency. The USA has electricity available anywhere there is a gas station (or a house!) right now just like air for tires. You don’t get “tire air pressure anxiety”, do you?

      • Does this mean that you will have to buy another car for the long distance trip? Reality check is that there is a limited installation of quick charging station. Yes, there is electricity everywhere, but how fast will a Tesla be recharged from the ubiquitous 110V outlet? At 15 Ampere max rating, the normal load is only 10 Amperes, so that gives you 5 mph.

        • dgaetano

          “Does this mean that you will have to buy another car for the long distance trip?”

          I don’t know, did you buy an extra truck for the time you had to haul something big?

          I just rent one or swap with a friend.

          (Well, if I had a Tesla instead of a Leaf swapping with a friend might not work, they wouldn’t want to give the car back)

        • addicted4444

          You are so right. All cars in America suck. I mean, my Ford Truck won’t even take me down the Chattahoochee river. In America there should be freedom to go anywhere and whenever, and I can’t even drive down a river?

          Next thing you will be telling me is that I can’t take my car into my office building’s elevator into my cubicle either.

          • lol.

            man, the problems people dream up when they’re opposed to change, eh?

          • agelbert

            Well said! :>)

      • ha, “tire air pressure anxiety” — i might write a full post on that phrase! 😀

        • agelbert

          Give em’ hell, Zach!

      • mn_test347

        Silly analogy – tires don’t leak every time you drive.

        • Bob_Wallace


          You must have not bought your tires at McTires R Us Mart.

  • Francaise echorye

    Tesla is a crime based company. It isn’t all the tech. problems that tesla is having as much as the fact that tesla exists because they used organized crime to fund themselves. DELOITTE, GOLDMAN, K&L GATES, KPCB, MUSK AND WESTLY paid bribes and took part of the free taxpayer money to put straight in their own pockets. They used crime to get to where they are, not innovation. McKinsey Consulting helped them, including Raj.

  • So if the 4th model production is more affordable, does it mean that today’s model is already afforable? One penny less than the current price is more affordable you know. So we need more info, like real numbers of price estimates, in comparison to statistical information about income demographics of the US population.

    • Ross

      Did you even read the article? It will be around half the price of the Model S.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Come on, how can one keep on being hypercritical if they have to adhere to the facts?

    • That’s not how the English language works, Rhod. Further, today’s S model is “affordable” because it’s in the luxury class and priced according to similar models from other companies. Not many people would buy an inferior product at that price tag just because it’s electric.

  • Wow, I truly wasted time and bandwidth on Tesla’s overhyped announcement. How can you say that it will be affordable without giving any estimate of the price? Because my brain abhors vacuum from what is supposed to be an informative announcement, I will fill this up by default:

    Tesla’s affordable Production Model would be priced at $70,000 in 2017. It is affordable by 2017, because the inflation rate would be 47% year over year for the next 4 years, putting its price in today’s dollar to about $15K, so truly afforable!

    • Tesla had a very logical game plan focused on jump starting essentially an entirely new industry without going bankrupt. To begin with, it built a very expensive car that could be used to help get the company noticed and rolling (the Roadster), then it stepped it down a bit and built a luxury car (Model S) that has won all kinds of awards, blown people away through its quality, proven the EV can be what many thought it could never be, and helped the company to grow and refine its process. Next, it’s aiming to build an SUV to keep that trend going, followed by a “mass market” EV (hinted at above, but still far away from having an specifics to share). Though, generally, as the article states, it will be “priced at around half of what the Model S is currently going for.” In ~3 to 4 years we can look back at this article and see how accurate it was.

      • jeffhre

        That’s all true Zach, and in the planning stages that was very important. But at this point you can toss all that out the window with a loud and surly, WHO CARES!!

        All I need to know now is that Tesla is an American car company that consistently puts out hardware that is to lust after. Put the posters on the wall and start tossing your pennies in a future car jar, it’s on an cracking man!!!

    • What was so difficult to read here? Zach breaks it down nicely, but if you want a very specific number, then the conservative estimate is about 40k base. If you have the good fortune of living in California and the rebates are still around by the time this new model is released, it’s 30k.

    • jstack6

      affordable yes / compare the average new car price is about $30K with the incentives the Tesla model 3 will be about $27K and not use gas or OIL. 80% less maintenance and have free Super Charging for life. (maybe a small extra cost) .
      So what is not affordable compared to other cars? Maybe you want to ride a bicycle, now that is real affordable and comes with free exercise.

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