For those of you who’ve followed me over the years here at CleanTechnica, you know I’m a bit of a snowbird — I head north from the balmy southern US up to New England for July and August to visit with family and longtime friends. While in the north country, I retrieve my 2013 Honda Civic Si from its storage barn and tour around in it for a couple of months. As the car ages, my knees rebel over shifting a 6-speed, and the guilt over driving an ICE vehicle rises, the idea of buying a new but relatively low-priced EV keeps popping in my head. Man, if a $25,000 Tesla Model C was available for purchase right now, I’d be placing my order. Definitely.
How about you? Would a Model C in your parking space make you happy? 🙂
During May at the 2023 Annual Shareholder Meeting, Musk teased a future Tesla model that would be compact and modestly priced. Musk described the future Tesla catalog as having “two new products that I think you will be very excited about.” Without adding details, he did say that the design and manufacturing techniques of those products are “head and shoulders above anything else in the industry.” The new affordable model, he said, could be part of more than five million units a year additionally that the company would manufacture.
Call it what you will — the Tesla Model C, or 2, or Q — but such an affordable Tesla EV would create a whole lot of enthusiasm and could very likely propel mass acceptance of all-electric personal transportation. As our own CleanTechnica chief editor Zachary Shahan put it, “Tesla has done one thing really well for more than a decade — brought the excitement.”
Backstories about the Tesla Model C
While it’s unlikely you’ll see this new car on the road before 2025, it’s fun to mull over and imagine. Perhaps the Model C will be known as a compact city electric. This new Tesla will probably only use one electric motor to keep its pricing competitive.
It would clearly be the most affordable Tesla — and easier on the wallet than most other new vehicles: Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director who analyzes the habits and transactions of car consumers, wondered recently to the Guardian, “Just talking with my team in the genesis of our research, I was like, ‘Can you even buy anything new for $20,000?’”
Overall, the segment of $20,000 or less vehicles has shrunk to 0.3% from 8% just 5 years ago. The $20,000 used vehicle is becoming harder for car shoppers to find, and the market of new vehicles priced under $30,000 has diminished to 17% from 44% over that same span. The popular Model 3 trim sells for $40,240. The Model Y is the next step up with the price tag of $47,490. The Tesla Model S starts at $88,490, while the cheapest Model X comes in at $98,490. According to the latest data from Edmunds, the average transaction price for a new vehicle was $47,713; that’s a third more than what Americans paid 5 years ago.
A Tesla Model C at $25,000 for basic trim would be much more economical than any other Tesla — and a whole lot of other cars in the US, too.
Is the production of a Model C viable? Due to innovative new manufacturing processes and electronic components, the Model C could be manufactured for nearly 50% less than the Model 3 and Model Y. The new platform design will focus on ease of building. According to a Tesla Engineering HQ video, teams of people and robots will work on fully assembling separate parts of the car and marrying them all together at the end in one go, meaning the whole car is only fully built once. Musk claims that this new process should yield a 30% improvement in time, space, and efficiency.